Posts

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH – Back by popular demand, Brewery Vivant to release “Fat Paczki” on Tuesday February 13, 2018 to coincide with Paczki Day and Mardi Gras celebrations. The 8% ABV beer is simply a classic paczki ale— an amber ale brewed with 15lbs of dried prunes and powdered sugar. Prepare for ripened plum and raisin notes, while the confectioner’s sugar adds a sweet backend mouthfeel.

paczki day

This is the third year in a row the brewery has released the celebration beer. When Vivant first brewed Fat Paczki in 2015, it was just a novelty. Head brewer, Jacob Derylo admits it came about as a fun experiment. “We’re here in West Michigan,” He says, “Over half our brewing team has some Polish heritage. We were inspired by the culture and the ingredients locally available. Paczki are everywhere this time of year!” The annual release is now a fan favorite, both on draft and in 16oz pint cans only available at the Pub. The first 100 folks to order a pint at the Pub on February 13 will receive a fresh baked paczki donut from Pastry Chef, Katy Waltz. Doors open at 3pm.

paczki dayAlso on February 13, Brewery Vivant to release it’s highly acclaimed “Love Shadow”, the 12% ABV bourbon barrel aged Imperial stout— just in time for Valentine’s Day. The beer is available on draft and in 16oz pint cans while supplies last. As an additional treat, the brewers and kitchen staff teamed up to brew two exclusive variants of the stout. Pastry chef Katy Waltz made 5 pounds of beignets, the New Orleans French inspired donut and offered them up, along with real raspberry puree, to one of the bourbon barrels holding 53 gallons of Love Shadow. Then sous chef Vanessa Aguilar toasted baking sheets full of shredded coconut to mingle with another barrel of beer. The two versions, Raspberry Beignet Love Shadow and Toasted Coconut Love Shadow will be tapped at 3pm along with the original Love Shadow.

Love Shadow will see limited distribution throughout Michigan on draft and in pint cans in conjunction with the Pub release.

About Brewery Vivant
Brewery Vivant promotes living the good life by brewing farmhouse inspired beer, serving a from-scratch menu and building a sustainable community one beer at a time. The brewery employees around 65 employees and is located in the East Hills neighborhood of Grand Rapids, in a renovated funeral chapel built in the early 1900s. Husband and wife partners Jason and Kris Spaulding opened the doors for business in December of 2010. Vivant beers are distributed throughout Michigan and Massachusetts. They are the first commercial brewery in the nation to receive Silver LEED Certification from the USGBC. Additionally they are 100% renewably powered, a gold ­level Bicycle Friendly Business, and are a certified B Corporation. Beer the Change®!

 

brewery vivant

Plein de Vie, when literally translated, means “full of life.” There couldn’t be a more appropriate name to describe this new wood & wild fermentation series of beer from Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids.

MittenBrew had the opportunity to chat with Kate Avery, Abbess of Beer, Brian Kuszynski, Master of Wood, and Jason Spaulding, President and Co-Owner at Brewery Vivant, about this much anticipated series release.

brewery vivant

“We’ve always offered something a little different to the Grand Rapids drinking audience. It’s been a road of education and talking, about flavors and different styles of beer. With Plein de Vie, wood aging and intentionally souring of these beers, it all comes back to that education experience for the consumer,” Avery shares as she shows off the three initial brews in their bottle release.

Indeed, Brewery Vivant is known for doing things a little differently—offering Belgian and French style old-world libation, and allowing their Brewers the opportunity to experiment and create complex, nuanced one-offs that eventually sparked the annual Wood Aged Beer Fest. With a recent expansion, more time and dedicated space to the souring process, they are able to take it to the next level—bottling and offering these taproom favorites on a larger scale and to a wider audience.

If you are familiar with Brewery Vivant, you’ll know that bottling their beer is also something new to their repertoire, but with good reason.

“Cans aren’t meant for letting a beer develop in the package,” Spaulding notes, “These beers especially can be more lively, and bottles simply offer the ability to hold more pressure.”

These are meant to be enjoyed when you are ready to enjoy them. Big, full bodied, unfiltered beers retain their characteristics better in a bottle instead of thin aluminum. Practically speaking, introducing live beer on their main canning line is a no-no. You don’t want to risk introducing wild yeast strains which could affect the taste of their staples. Beyond that, bottling is another way to differentiate this unique series of beer from Vivant mainstays.

Unique also is the packaging. Highly detailed, crisp clean lines with variants in color that reflect the beer each vessel holds. Each label also explains just how each beer was aged and soured. Tap handles in the pub for this series are old barrel staves, wood burned with Vivant’s iconic rooster. Just another way to distinguish Plein de Vie, no matter how you are drinking it.

On Sunday, June 5 at Noon, you will be able to try these three initial offerings:

Angelina – The mother of all Vivant’s sours, if you will, is finally offered in bottles—much to the delight of long time Brewery Vivant fans. The very first sour beer made at the pub, a barrel named Angelina produced something tasty, magical, and sparked the direction of Vivant’s future sour offerings. Inoculating other barrels from this mother to keep the culture going, this pleasant, wood-barrel aged sour retains its majesty for (hopefully) years to come.

Harvest Breed – A brand new brew, this stainless steel brettanomyces wild sour ale offers a big sour punch on the noise, with the bretta coming through as the beer warms to room temperature. Almost citrusy, this sour offers a bergamot, earl gray tea flavor with a hint of lemon pith or orange rind.

Habanango – Many of you may remember this from a previous Wood Aged Beer Fest, but don’t expect the exact same brew. Feeder fermented and barrel-aged, this sour is blended with habanero peppers and mango to give a little heat with the sweet. Strongly mango on the nose, the peppery sweet heat of the habanero creeps up on you, making you want to take that next sip.

With safety and containment always a top priority, we end our tour, complete with booties on our feet, in what’s known as “the Funk Room,” where all the wood aging and wild fermented magic happens. Brian Kuszynski meets us there to share the story of how Plein de Vie came to be.

Carving out this separate space allows the Brewers to finally produce these sours and wild ales without risk of cross contamination, and at a volume that allows for bottling. Thank goodness.

Brian takes us around the crowded Funk Room, lovingly tweaking small things here and there, continuing to work while talking with us as we bask in the woody glory of all things wild.

brewery vivant

A comment remembered from a gentlemen at a previous Wood Aged Beer Fest, asking where he could find this in his home state, put the bug in Brian’s mind to produce these sours at a larger scale.

“Obviously we are passionate about beer, and we’ve always loved wild and sour ales. We’ve had opportunities to make them and packaged them here and there, but always on a really small scale. This gives us the ability to make a larger quantity, get it out there and let the public try it, age it, cellar it. They can share it with their friends, introduce them to something new. Here and out-of-of state, even. We hope to be able to produce beers in this brand at the rate of 2-4 a year. But, of course,the beer tells us when it’s ready.”

 

Photography: Steph Harding

Brewery_VivantBrewery Vivant, known for its unique Belgian­-American styles of beers, welcomes another GR Beer Week and hoards of craft beer fans to Beer City USA with it’s annual Brewer’s Big Breakfast. The Pub opens its doors early once a year ­­the Saturday of Winter Beer Fest­­ for breakfast. February 27, from 8am to 2pm, the highly anticipated breakfast menu will showcase a breakfast poutine, vegetarian eggs Benedict, house­made crullers and of course, the beer­mosa (Farm Hand spiked with OJ).

The breakfast originally started as a way to fuel the brewers before stepping out into the frigid Michigan temperatures to pour beer at Michigan Brewers Guild’s Winter Beer Fest at 5/3 Ball Park in Comstock Park. The idea caught traction with Executive Chef Christopher Weimer. “I’ve always liked cooking breakfast, and appreciated this style of cuisine. I don’t know that I’d want to subscribe to the lifestyle, or if I could, but once a year it’s fun for us to stretch our chops and step outside our traditional dinner routine.”

The day is fast paced in the kitchen, but guests revel in the unusual circumstance they’re able to find themselves in: enjoying kegs and eggs in the Brewery Vivant chapel. “The atmosphere is jovial and there is a palpable excitement running through guests and our staff as well,” Says Kate Avery, Director of Sales & Marketing, “It’s Winter Beer Fest after all. Even if you don’t have tickets, you still are able to be a part of this thing we call Beer City, USA.”

True to the Vivant spirit, the breakfast is open to all and no reservations are required. The community tables fill up with hungry beer lovers and foodies alike. People coming together over good beer and good food? That’s living the ​bon vivant​.

At 2pm breakfast will conclude, the pub will operate with a limited food menu while the kitchen resets for a 3pm return to regular, full dinner menu service. We’ll be eating and drinking well into the night. The Pub closes at midnight on Saturday.

GRAND RAPIDS – The 5th Annual Wood Aged Beer Fest (WABF) at Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids has come and gone. Friends, if you weren’t able to attend one of the two sessions on Saturday September 19th, I’m really, very sorry.

The ease and astute organizational flow of this beer festival have only improved since the first barrel-aged brew was poured.

“Having done this for five years, every year has been different,” said Brewery Vivant Owner Jason Spaulding. “We try to learn as we go, and focus in on a few things. We were in the street last year, and it seemed more of a street party atmosphere. We’re back in the parking lot [this year], and it’s more intimate. People have more time to enjoy the event and enjoy the beer. We tried to make sure it’s about the beer.”

Which, it is, of course. Previous WABFs have spawned larger production of favorites, such as the Wizard Burial Ground, a bourbon barrel-aged Quad. It was so loved by attendees, Brewery Vivant decided to scale up production and release it on a wider scale. Like Spaulding said, WABF is a big experiment—an opportunity for Vivant to test brews and have fun and for the public to help shape the future flavor profile of beers to come.

Twenty six beers were available during each of the two sessions held this year—another new component to the festival. An afternoon session and evening session, with an hour in between for cleanup and last call, seemed to go smoothly and everyone was able to taste to their hearts’ content without massive lines and crowded seating.

John Ward , Vivant’s Experience Warden, dressed appropriately in monk garb, said that “more than anything, we wanted to make it more accessible, not have 1200 people at a time, 1800 people at a time. Your lines are more cluttered, there are more things that can go wrong. This makes it easier on us, better for them, and a better overall experience.”

It was definitely a good experience. So many notable and fun beers available in one place, it’s hard to pick standouts, but I’ll try.

Angelina is the girl with lots of fests under her belt. Vivant’s first barrel ever, she’s been around for as long as the brewery has. A 6.7% ABV oak-aged house Sour, this beer is a good representation of what Vivant is.

Paris is another girl we’ve seen before. The nature of barrel aging makes things a little different each go around, and it’s usually a wonderful surprise. A wild red wine barrel-aged Saison, the mild funk works well with the notes the red wine imparts.

A few firkins were available. The unique properties of cask conditioning beer and serving it at a warmer temperature make for some very tasty, more traditional, and often surprising results, like the Tree Bucket Double IPA aged on brandy-soaked cherrywood.

Dead Wizard in the Basement, Wizard Burial Ground oak barrel aged with brettanomyces yeast came in at 11% ABV, making for a heady beer. Guardian of the Universe, a traditional, northern France biere de garde—Vivant’s Verdun—aged in a white wine barrel, had just enough tartness and twist but still kept true to its roots in a delicious way.

Head brewer Jacob Derylo, of course, loved everything, but he did share that Coming Up Peaches, a bourbon barrel-aged Tripel with fresh-from-the-farmers market peaches, might be his favorite this year.

“We’re having fun, making cool beer, and meeting cool people,” said Derylo. “I wake up every morning and want to go to work. I love my job. I make people happy. Not everyone can say that.”

Brewery Vivant has been a mainstay of the burgeoning East Hills area in Grand Rapids. They have witnessed new stores, restaurants, and community members become part of their circle. They give back to the community, in more ways than just providing beer. The WABF is a gathering place—an opportunity to talk to your neighbors and talk to those folks you haven’t seen in a few months, all over an expertly crafted glass of barrel-aged goodness.

“Why is it so popular? Because it’s cool. And it tastes delicious. It’s that simple,” said Derylo.

 

GRAND RAPIDS — When a brewery owner and his brewmaster are on the same page, magical things happen. Just ask Jacob Derylo, brewmaster at Brewery Vivant.

Saturday, the brewpub hosted its first-ever Wood-Aged Beer Celebration. Drawing in an estimated 500 beer drinkers, more than 2,250 six-ounce cups of wood-aged and sour beers were served during the 8-hour outdoors event.

“It’s kind of fun to get back to the small-time, artisanal brewing,” Derylo said. “I credit (owner) Jason (Spaulding) for that. I appreciate his trust in me.”

Altogether 11 brews — each fitting Vivant’s Belgian/French-influenced flavor profile — were tapped during the event, including:

  • Farm Gris
  • Angelilah
  • Barrel Aged Triomphe
  • Barrel Aged Sgt. Peppercorn
  • Barrel Aged Solitude
  • Barrel Aged Brune
  • Barrel Aged Rye Porter
  • Barrel Aged Raz-Rye Porter
  • Barrel Aged Sour Zaison
  • Cassandra Rose
  • Barrel Aged Brune Firkin

The sours, a much-anticipated favorite, are purposely spiked with healthy bacteria to give the brew a slightly tart flavor. Some of the beers had been aging for just a few weeks, while others spent two or three months maturing.

“We’re just trying to get some wood-aged beer out there,” Derylo said. “To focus just on wood-aged and sour-aged beer is pretty time consuming.”

Because Vivant limits itself as a 5,000-barrel brewery, Derylo said he has the ability to concentrate on aged and sour beers, which is “where (his) heart is.”

“Fortunately enough, I have an owner who lets me do this stuff,” he said. “We’re going to have our mainstays, but I want to focus on sour beers. We do those well.”

For Vivant, Saturday was just one event surrounding the wood-aged and sour theme — something the brewery aims to be known for, according to Derylo.

“We’re at the right time in the beer culture where we can educate,” he said. “Wood-aged beer is a cool thing right now. I’m having a great time.”

“We want to be known as the wood-aged, sour beer brewery in Grand Rapids. The fact that all these people are here just for wood-aged beer is very encouraging.”

MittenBrew sampled eight of Saturday’s brews, a review of six of those brews is available here. Manager Rick Muschiana said a few barrels are leftover from Saturday, which Vivant will be tapping throughout the course of the next few weeks. Currently, Farm Gris — a drier version of its Farm Hand mixed with six percent Pinot Gris — is available at the brewpub, which is located on Grand Rapids’ Southeast Side at 925 Cherry Street SE.

 

 

 

GRAND RAPIDS — When a brewery owner and his brewmaster are on the same page, magical things happen. Just ask Jacob Derylo, brewmaster at Brewery Vivant.
Saturday, the brewpub hosted its first-ever Wood-Aged Beer Celebration. Drawing in an estimated 500 beer drinkers, more than 2,250 six-ounce cups of wood-aged and sour beers were served during the 8-hour outdoors event.
“It’s kind of fun to get back to the small-time, artisanal brewing,” Derylo said. “I credit (owner) Jason (Spaulding) for that. I appreciate his trust in me.”
Altogether 11 brews — each fitting Vivant’s Belgian/French-influenced flavor profile — were tapped during the event, including:

  • Farm Gris
  • Angelilah
  • Barrel Aged Triomphe
  • Barrel Aged Sgt. Peppercorn
  • Barrel Aged Solitude
  • Barrel Aged Brune
  • Barrel Aged Rye Porter
  • Barrel Aged Raz-Rye Porter
  • Barrel Aged Sour Zaison
  • Cassandra Rose
  • Barrel Aged Brune Firkin

The sours, a much-anticipated favorite, are purposely spiked with healthy bacteria to give the brew a slightly tart flavor. Some of the beers had been aging for just a few weeks, while others spent two or three months maturing.
“We’re just trying to get some wood-aged beer out there,” Derylo said. “To focus just on wood-aged and sour-aged beer is pretty time consuming.”
Because Vivant limits itself as a 5,000-barrel brewery, Derylo said he has the ability to concentrate on aged and sour beers, which is “where (his) heart is.”
“Fortunately enough, I have an owner who lets me do this stuff,” he said. “We’re going to have our mainstays, but I want to focus on sour beers. We do those well.”
For Vivant, Saturday was just one event surrounding the wood-aged and sour theme — something the brewery aims to be known for, according to Derylo.
“We’re at the right time in the beer culture where we can educate,” he said. “Wood-aged beer is a cool thing right now. I’m having a great time.”
“We want to be known as the wood-aged, sour beer brewery in Grand Rapids. The fact that all these people are here just for wood-aged beer is very encouraging.”
MittenBrew sampled eight of Saturday’s brews, a review of six of those brews is available here. Manager Rick Muschiana said a few barrels are leftover from Saturday, which Vivant will be tapping throughout the course of the next few weeks. Currently, Farm Gris — a drier version of its Farm Hand mixed with six percent Pinot Gris — is available at the brewpub, which is located on Grand Rapids’ Southeast Side at 925 Cherry Street SE.
 
 
 

I imagine — based on his story — Jason Spaulding as the character Ray Stantz from Ghostbusters.

In one of the film’s early scenes, the three ghost-hunting entrepreneurs purchase a former firehouse for their headquarters. Two of them play it coy, but not Stantz.

Admittedly, Spaulding was smitten when he first walked through a rundown funeral chapel on the Southeast Side of Grand Rapids that would become the future home of his brewpub, Brewery Vivant. And certainly from my visit, I can see why Spaulding chose the location for his brewery, which opened in December 2010.

I had a sense of awe walking into this European-feeling brewpub, as likely many of its patrons do. With original chapel lighting and stained glass windows, stepping inside Vivant is a lot like visiting a Belgian monastery (except for the monks). Wooden beams meet in a triangular formation near the ceiling with the bar nestled in front of a large archway.

Even though it is no longer a sacred space, it is still communal. The U-shaped bar lends itself to conversation with fellow patrons, and long tables create an atmosphere of sharing, not separation. There is a TV, but even that is not run by normal electricity — a bike nearby powers the screen (peddle away).

Certainly, it is peaceful for a pub and the ambiance complements the beer style – Belgian- and French-influenced concoctions. As Spaulding said, Vivant is one of the only breweries that specializes in Belgian beers with “local ingredients dominated by yeast strains” and a “controlled, wild character.”

The brews are inspired from small farmhouse breweries along the countryside of Southern Belgium and Northern France, Spaulding explained. Certainly it is apparent in the ten brews on tap.

To make it all come to life, brewmaster Jacob Derylo takes special care to ensure each brew is crafted to perfection.

“He’s a perfect brewer for us,” Spaulding said. “There’s no one I’d rather have in there than Jacob.”

A 10-year brewer for New Holland Brewing Company in Holland, Derylo confers with chef Drew Turnipseed to pair entrees perfectly with each beer. If not for the food or beer, Brewery Vivant is worth the visit just by virtue of its tastefully renovated, 80-something-year-old pub. It brings a sense of awe that makes you want to say cheers to its architectural beauty.

Even so, if you can’t make the trip, the brewery recently launched packaged products — in cans — for distribution state-wide and to the greater Chicago area. If you do make it, here’s my take on the tapped brews:

Farm Hand (5.5-percent ABV) — Partly cloudy, it’s lighter in overall flavor and certain to please even the most-apprehensive craft beer skeptics with simple smell and taste.

French Fusion (5.5-percent ABV) — A very drinkable, crisp beer with a soft maltiness that really does some magic.

Zaison (8.5-percent ABV) — Likely my favorite, its high alcohol content that maintains plenty of flavor is sneaky. Orange hints that are not overpowering with a light mouthfeel and body, the tail-end taste of peppercorn is the perfect complement to the citrus.

Vivant Tripel (9.25-percent ABV) — I’d call this the most traditional Belgian-brew with its sweet banana and bubblegum smell and taste complemented by the creamy mouthfeel.

Triomphe Belgian IPA (6.5-percent ABV) — Sweeter and smoother than I expected, which helps cover up the amount of hops I find overwhelming in many IPAs.

Big Red Coq (6.25-percent ABV) — So many hops, it feels more IPA than Triomphe (I thought I was confusing the two at first). For me, the hops were so overpowering I could barely smell the flavors and certainly could not taste them — caramel, mango, pineapple and citrus. Not my kind of brew, it is a popular seller.

Solitude Belgian Amber Ale (6.5-percent ABV) — Puts the “brew” back into brewing beer with its coffee-like undertones and brownish hue — malty with hints of caramel and sweetness. Unique.

Belgian Black Ale (5.5-percent ABV) — Surprisingly both creamy mouthfeel and light-body, it’s basically a black IPA.

Kludde Strong Ale (9.5-percent ABV) — This brew speaks volumes and earns its right to be called a “strong ale”— prevalent plum, fig, anise and raisin smells/flavors, but a chocolate hint that saves it from being too bitter.

 

I imagine — based on his story — Jason Spaulding as the character Ray Stantz from Ghostbusters.
In one of the film’s early scenes, the three ghost-hunting entrepreneurs purchase a former firehouse for their headquarters. Two of them play it coy, but not Stantz.
Admittedly, Spaulding was smitten when he first walked through a rundown funeral chapel on the Southeast Side of Grand Rapids that would become the future home of his brewpub, Brewery Vivant. And certainly from my visit, I can see why Spaulding chose the location for his brewery, which opened in December 2010.
I had a sense of awe walking into this European-feeling brewpub, as likely many of its patrons do. With original chapel lighting and stained glass windows, stepping inside Vivant is a lot like visiting a Belgian monastery (except for the monks). Wooden beams meet in a triangular formation near the ceiling with the bar nestled in front of a large archway.
Even though it is no longer a sacred space, it is still communal. The U-shaped bar lends itself to conversation with fellow patrons, and long tables create an atmosphere of sharing, not separation. There is a TV, but even that is not run by normal electricity — a bike nearby powers the screen (peddle away).
Certainly, it is peaceful for a pub and the ambiance complements the beer style – Belgian- and French-influenced concoctions. As Spaulding said, Vivant is one of the only breweries that specializes in Belgian beers with “local ingredients dominated by yeast strains” and a “controlled, wild character.”
The brews are inspired from small farmhouse breweries along the countryside of Southern Belgium and Northern France, Spaulding explained. Certainly it is apparent in the ten brews on tap.
To make it all come to life, brewmaster Jacob Derylo takes special care to ensure each brew is crafted to perfection.
“He’s a perfect brewer for us,” Spaulding said. “There’s no one I’d rather have in there than Jacob.”
A 10-year brewer for New Holland Brewing Company in Holland, Derylo confers with chef Drew Turnipseed to pair entrees perfectly with each beer. If not for the food or beer, Brewery Vivant is worth the visit just by virtue of its tastefully renovated, 80-something-year-old pub. It brings a sense of awe that makes you want to say cheers to its architectural beauty.
Even so, if you can’t make the trip, the brewery recently launched packaged products — in cans — for distribution state-wide and to the greater Chicago area. If you do make it, here’s my take on the tapped brews:
Farm Hand (5.5-percent ABV) — Partly cloudy, it’s lighter in overall flavor and certain to please even the most-apprehensive craft beer skeptics with simple smell and taste.
French Fusion (5.5-percent ABV) — A very drinkable, crisp beer with a soft maltiness that really does some magic.
Zaison (8.5-percent ABV) — Likely my favorite, its high alcohol content that maintains plenty of flavor is sneaky. Orange hints that are not overpowering with a light mouthfeel and body, the tail-end taste of peppercorn is the perfect complement to the citrus.
Vivant Tripel (9.25-percent ABV) — I’d call this the most traditional Belgian-brew with its sweet banana and bubblegum smell and taste complemented by the creamy mouthfeel.
Triomphe Belgian IPA (6.5-percent ABV) — Sweeter and smoother than I expected, which helps cover up the amount of hops I find overwhelming in many IPAs.
Big Red Coq (6.25-percent ABV) — So many hops, it feels more IPA than Triomphe (I thought I was confusing the two at first). For me, the hops were so overpowering I could barely smell the flavors and certainly could not taste them — caramel, mango, pineapple and citrus. Not my kind of brew, it is a popular seller.
Solitude Belgian Amber Ale (6.5-percent ABV) — Puts the “brew” back into brewing beer with its coffee-like undertones and brownish hue — malty with hints of caramel and sweetness. Unique.
Belgian Black Ale (5.5-percent ABV) — Surprisingly both creamy mouthfeel and light-body, it’s basically a black IPA.
Kludde Strong Ale (9.5-percent ABV) — This brew speaks volumes and earns its right to be called a “strong ale”— prevalent plum, fig, anise and raisin smells/flavors, but a chocolate hint that saves it from being too bitter.
 


Home     About     News     Services     Contact Us



Sign Up To Get The Latest Brews