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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®!

 

The League of American Bicyclists recognized Brewery Vivant with a Gold Bicycle Friendly Business (BFBSM) award, joining more than 1,300 visionary businesses from across the country.

With the announcement of 34 new and renewing BFBs today, Brewery Vivant joins a cutting-edge group of 1,343 local businesses, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies in every state in the US and Washington, D.C., that are transforming the American workplace.

brewery vivant

“As we celebrate National Bike Month and Bike to Work Week, the League of American Bicyclists is excited to recognize a new class of businesses that are making their communities safer, happier, healthier, and more sustainable through bicycling,” said Amelia Neptune, Director of the Bicycle Friendly America program. “We applaud this new round of Bicycle Friendly Businesses, including Brewery Vivant, for leading the charge in creating a more bicycle-friendly America for everyone.”

Brewery Vivant has been recognized on a national level for its sustainability efforts, including bicycle friendly practices by both industry trade groups and popular cultural magazines. Being a bicycle friendly business has helped to elevate its reputation. Brewery Vivant encourages bicycling as an easy option for transportation and provides amenities such as bicycle racks, employee shower & changing facilities, and maintenance supplies, and incentives such as subsidized off-site gym membership, helmet reimbursement, and active-pursuit related subsidies.

brewery vivant

“We know that our employees, guests, and community value bicycles as alternative transportation as well as recreation.” Says Kris Spaulding, owner & director of sustainability, “The BFB process is a great way to see where we are doing well and where there is opportunity for improvement. This certification also highlights our commitment to bicycles and alternative transportation in a public way.”

Moving forward, Brewery Vivant will have access to a variety of tools and technical assistance from the League to become even more bicycle-friendly. When our employees bike, great things happen: decreased carbon footprints, increased endorphins, and healthy, fun work culture.

To apply or learn more about the BFB program, visit the League online.

About the Bicycle Friendly America Program

To learn more about building a Bicycle Friendly America, including the Bicycle Friendly CommunitySM, Bicycle Friendly StateSM, Bicycle Friendly BusinessSM and Bicycle Friendly UniversitySM programs.visit www.bikeleague.org/BFA.

The League of American Bicyclists is leading the movement to create a Bicycle Friendly America for everyone. As leaders, our commitment is to listen and learn, define standards and share best practices to engage diverse communities and build a powerful, unified voice for change.

About Brewery Vivant

The brewery is located in the East Hills neighborhood of Grand Rapids, in a renovated funeral chapel built in the early 1900’s. Their staff of around 60 employees specialize in Belgian/French inspired beers and fare in a completely unique setting. Husband and wife partners Jason and Kris Spaulding opened the doors for business in December of 2010. Vivant beers are distributed throughout Michigan and the greater Chicago area. They are the first commercial brewery in the nation to receive Silver LEED Certification from the USGBC. Additionally they are 100% renewable powered, a silver-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 Vivant will launch three varieties of wood and wild-fermented beers to kick off their Plein de Vie (“full of life”) series on June 5 at the Brewery. The series includes wood barrel aged beers, wooden foeder (“food-er”) aged beers, and stainless wild fermented beers. Plein de Vie will be available on draft and in 500ml glass bottles, and will be distributed throughout the brewery’s footprint of Michigan and Chicagoland.

brewery vivant

Plein de Vie – Belgian Tradition & BV Tradition

Wood aging beers has long been a traditional brewing technique in Belgium. Belgian brewers are known for embracing not only local ingredients but also the local micro-flora when brewing. Brewery Vivant is rooted in this Belgian tradition. The Grand Rapids brewery has been known for its small batch wood-aging program since its founding in 2010. The first sour beer to come alive at the Pub was from a barrel named Angelina. It paved the way for more and deeper experimentation culminating in the brewery’s first-ever Wood-Aged Beer Festival, which took place on its small patio and touted eight different wood-aged beers. This year’s WABF (Sept 17, 2016) will boast some 20 varieties.

Keep it Separated

Housed in a former funeral chapel dating back to the 1900s Brewery Vivant’s vaulted wooden barrel ceiling has always given the brewing team cause for concern as wild yeast lives all around us and wooden beams are difficult to deep clean. “We carved out a portion of our brewery, a physically separated space, to devote to wild yeast strains and souring bugs.” Says Brian Kuszynski, the brewer that heads up the affectionately termed ‘Funk Room’. “We’re pumped to finally be able to produce these types of beers at a volume that we can share them with people outside our walls.” Kuszynski says the June 5 launch will consist of three brands with the intent to distribute 2-4 per year as the beer “tells us when it’s ready.”

Why Glass Bottles?

Known for its 16-ounce pint cans, Brewery Vivant will package Plein de Vie beers in a 500ml glass bottle. Bottles were chosen because of the wild yeast strains and potential for flavors to develop. While the beer is released ready to drink immediately, the glass is rated to hold the beer for extended periods of time. “Aluminum cans are really meant as a delivery vessel, not a storing vessel.” Says owner & president Jason Spaulding. “Plein de Vie literally translates to ‘full of life’ and a glass bottle should hold the integrity of the beer’s life. These beers can be cellared and will continue to develop and change over time.”

Be abrewery vivant Part of the Start

To launch the series, three beers will be released from the pub and then into distribution on draft and in bottles. Pub opens at Noon on Sunday June 5.

  • Habanango: a foeder fermented and barrel-aged blended sour ale with habanero peppers & mango

  • Harvest Breed: a stainless brettanomyces wild sour ale

  • Angelina: a wood barrel-aged sour

“When we first started, we named our barrels in the hurricane naming convention: Angelina, Bertha, Constance, etc.” Says Spaulding. “Angelina was our first barrel. It produced a distinct and pleasant sour character that we’ve since inoculated into other wooden barrels. That first batch developed a cult-like following and so far, the barrel keeps producing. It’s become our ‘house sour’.”

 

 

Brewery Vivant will launch three varieties of wood and wild-fermented beers to kick off their Plein de Vie (“full of life”) series on June 5 at the Brewery. The series includes wood barrel aged beers, wooden foeder (“food-er”) aged beers, and stainless wild fermented beers. Plein de Vie will be available on draft and in 500ml glass bottles, and will be distributed throughout the brewery’s footprint of Michigan and Chicagoland.

brewery vivant

Plein de Vie – Belgian Tradition & BV Tradition

Wood aging beers has long been a traditional brewing technique in Belgium. Belgian brewers are known for embracing not only local ingredients but also the local micro-flora when brewing. Brewery Vivant is rooted in this Belgian tradition. The Grand Rapids brewery has been known for its small batch wood-aging program since its founding in 2010. The first sour beer to come alive at the Pub was from a barrel named Angelina. It paved the way for more and deeper experimentation culminating in the brewery’s first-ever Wood-Aged Beer Festival, which took place on its small patio and touted eight different wood-aged beers. This year’s WABF (Sept 17, 2016) will boast some 20 varieties.

Keep it Separated

Housed in a former funeral chapel dating back to the 1900s Brewery Vivant’s vaulted wooden barrel ceiling has always given the brewing team cause for concern as wild yeast lives all around us and wooden beams are difficult to deep clean. “We carved out a portion of our brewery, a physically separated space, to devote to wild yeast strains and souring bugs.” Says Brian Kuszynski, the brewer that heads up the affectionately termed ‘Funk Room’. “We’re pumped to finally be able to produce these types of beers at a volume that we can share them with people outside our walls.” Kuszynski says the June 5 launch will consist of three brands with the intent to distribute 2-4 per year as the beer “tells us when it’s ready.”

Why Glass Bottles?

Known for its 16-ounce pint cans, Brewery Vivant will package Plein de Vie beers in a 500ml glass bottle. Bottles were chosen because of the wild yeast strains and potential for flavors to develop. While the beer is released ready to drink immediately, the glass is rated to hold the beer for extended periods of time. “Aluminum cans are really meant as a delivery vessel, not a storing vessel.” Says owner & president Jason Spaulding. “Plein de Vie literally translates to ‘full of life’ and a glass bottle should hold the integrity of the beer’s life. These beers can be cellared and will continue to develop and change over time.”

Be abrewery vivant Part of the Start

To launch the series, three beers will be released from the pub and then into distribution on draft and in bottles. Pub opens at Noon on Sunday June 5.

  • Habanango: a foeder fermented and barrel-aged blended sour ale with habanero peppers & mango

  • Harvest Breed: a stainless brettanomyces wild sour ale

  • Angelina: a wood barrel-aged sour

“When we first started, we named our barrels in the hurricane naming convention: Angelina, Bertha, Constance, etc.” Says Spaulding. “Angelina was our first barrel. It produced a distinct and pleasant sour character that we’ve since inoculated into other wooden barrels. That first batch developed a cult-like following and so far, the barrel keeps producing. It’s become our ‘house sour’.”
 
 

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.


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