From David- Founder of Sommbeer:
I love my daughters. They just aren’t’ too crazy about brew pubs. When we announced we were going to Brewery Vivant after we saw the Museum in Grand Rapids, Emm’s response was “you’re going to drink beer while we eat warmed up frozen food”. I bristled at her harsh response but knew it could be true. Good breweries do not always measure up when it comes to food.
We walked into Vivant just a few minutes after they opened up for the day (no I wasn’t banging on the door). We were immediately greeted by a hostess and seated in a booth. I was already impressed as the interior was a beautifully renovated church. She handed us all menu’s and I immediately panicked. Nothing looked familiar. It was all “high end” French food, for the most part. We coaxed Emm into trying some new stuff and then waited.
Food: The waiter was super friendly and talked to my family as I researched the beer menu. Along the conversation, he suggested to Emm, that when she grows up and goes to college she should always remember to go back and visit her parents (Dude! I thought to myself, you just earned yourself a nice tip). We ordered our food, beers and pops.
The appetizer showed up – Duck Confit Nachos (a mountain of chips smothered in sauce and duck meat). We couldn’t be happier.
My wife and youngest ordered a hamburger and grilled cheese, both outstanding.
Emm ordered a bowl of wild mushroom soup. Something she never had, trust me. She loved it.
I ordered deer sausage. Fantastic earthy flavor, I even ate my brussel sprouts. All the food is super high quality and unique. In fact it was unique to the point that they took more than a few culinary risks – and succeeded. Only issue was the cost $$$. Our bill for two adults and two kids hit around $100. That said, it was a great meal and we will be going back.
Beer: Our hostess explained later that Vivant is all about the Belgian wild yeast style of beer.
Update 2017: My taste has evolved since I first wrote this article. Belgian style beers have become one of my favorite styles of beer. It’s not uncommon on many a beer night for my belgians to even edge out my previous favorites – stouts and scottish ales!
I ordered a glass of their Egoiste and followed it with one last glass of Dubelicious – I loved them both. Here’s what I learned about this style of beer, to enjoy it to it’s fullest I have to prepare myself for it. Belgian wild yeast style is kinda tangy like sour dough bread. Doesn’t matter the variety they make it still has that tangy flavor. If beer is like music (a post on this later) then this tanginess is a high pitched trumpet. My wife ordered their Fat Paczk beer that arrived in a tulip glass. That beer was out of this world good! It’s been a week since our visit and she still talks about that one beer.
When we walked out, our hostess greeted us again (the service here is unreal). My family took this opportunity to start shopping at the gift shop. I grabbed a souvenir glass and the hostess recommended I purchase some Vivant beer (Acidulated Trip) to pair with my glass! What an up-sell.
Brewery Vivant surprised me. I have been in search of a brewery that has both great beer and food. What I found was great food, beer and service. My daughters are the toughest critics believe me and they were happy. We will be going back.
Check out this review of a beer from Brewery Vivant –> Solitude