Active Beers: 63
Beer Ratings: 2,186
Beer Avg: 3.76
Taps: 14 / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 91 | Reviews: 48 | Show All Ratings:
Reviews by Yetiman420:
3.85/5 rDev -10%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Stop #332 on my world brewery tour.
Full disclosure: If I ever take the leap to making a living off beer it would be to open a Belgian brewpub in an old church (if rehab was fiscally possible). Color me jealous.
Stopped in around 7:00 on a Tuesday in mid December.
Second brewery in a church. The other being Church Brewing in Pittsburgh which is much, much bigger. Vivant is cozy with a very nice bar coming out from the alter (not sure of the religious term for the very front of the church). Cozy booths line the side walls and large wood communal tables on the floor. It was previously a funeral home and I wonder how much time, money, and effort it took to make it this nice.
The friendly couple next to me at the bar said two more brewpubs are opening within walking distance. Lots of great beer choices in Grand Rapids.
I went with two Cambier flights where you get four four ounce pours for $10.
French Style Farmhouse
Oaked Belgian IPA
Red Hoppy Belgian
Belgian Oatmeal Stout
Raspberry Apple Cider (two ciders on guest tap)
I had a male and female (cute with junior dreads) bartender and service could have been friendlier. It's the only thing stopping them from getting an "A" rating. During downtime, they stood at the back of the bar and didn't socialize with the guests. Most questions to them got me a one word response and did even thank me as I signed the check.
To eat I had a wonderful cheese plate with Humbolt fog, point reyes blue, and Chimay. It was accompanied by thin bread and jellies and chutney. It was brought out by the kitchen person with a full description.
The beers were good but not great. The (hoppy) Belgian IPA was probably the best and that isn't even a traditional Belgian style. I like the fact that they had a historic Uytzet but I found it a bit clean and lacking in flavor. Oatmeal stout had the Belgain yeast taste but was way too thin for me for an oatmeal stout.
It's a much broader discussion but good beer in Belgium comes from (aged) bottles and not taps. An attempt to crank out Belgian beers in a quick time frame and serve them on draft creates a void in the soul of the beer. While Vivant has a great atmosphere and fine food, I feel the beer falls short with those well accustomed to Belgian beers. It's still good beer and I could be accused of being too critical. I'm just particular when it comes to Belgian beer.
Overall, it was an enjoyable visit and I would recommend it and will return for a complete dinner next time.
12-14-2011 13:28:56 | More by Yetiman420
More User Reviews:
4.36/5 rDev +1.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$$
The brewery is in East Town (well, now East Hills), a continually funky little area of GR that has always been fun, even 30 years after I was a kid and started going to art classes and the Bijou Theater and Yesterdog.
The tap room is in an old chapel, with high ceilings, and lots of tables and benches, and stained glass windows. The atmosphere is about as Belgian as you can get in the Midwest. The beers were great, and the food was awesome. I was in there right at opening time (3 pm), so it wasn't terribly busy, but within 30 minutes there were more than 40 people in the taproom eating and drinking. The service was ready for this rapid influx, and easily handled it; the service was fast and friendly. They were very knowledgable were genuinely excited about their brand- beer and food. One note, I live in the Washington, DC, area, and I gave this $$$ because it was pricey...even by my standards of an extremely pricey city. Well worth every penny, though.
03-25-2014 03:06:55 | More by Badger6
Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids, MI
95 out of 100 based on 91 ratings.