Brewery Vivant

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Brewery VivantBrewery Vivant

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

925 Cherry St SE
Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49506
United States

(616) 719-1604 | map

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Added by abaculy on 01-18-2011

View: Beers | Place Reviews | Events
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Reviews: 63 | Ratings: 224
Photo of Fluffheady
4.16/5  rDev -0.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.5

This is a really cool space. It’s an old chapel of some sort. The bar mirrors the arch of the altar. Somebody put a lot of money into it.

The beer is quite good. All Belgian style but with a little more exploration than, say, Ommegang.

The food is pretty good, but not quite what they talk it up to be. The duck confit nachos were yummy. We ordered sausage as well. It came on a bed of the most disgusting kraut I’ve had in a long time. Definitely was par cooked hours prior and dried to crap. Sausage was pretty dry too.

It’s worth a visit. The beer is too good not to.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.23/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 3.75

I had gone to Founders the last couple of years passing through Grand Rapids and decided for a change of pace. I pulled up across the street. The outside of the building had Brewery Vivant on it, and it also had the word chapel. I later found out that it was a former mortuary chapel. I walked into a church-like atmosphere. There were high vaulted ceilings. The tables were long with bench seating like a German beer hall. At the opposite side of the building was the bar. Above it was a stained glass window adding to the church vibe.

I sidled up to the bar. There were probably about 12-15 beers on tap. They were all in house selections. I ordered a sampler. Actually, I eventually had a 4-5 ounce sample of all the beers on tap. They are all Belgian styles ranging from good to very good in taste. Solitude is one of the year round beers. They had a couple barrel aged versions of it that were great.

While sitting at the bar I noticed a gentleman giving the bartender three beers. I could see that they had Three Floyd's caps. I heard him mention the aroma, so I asked if they were Zombie Dust since I had yet to see or try it. He affirmed that it was indeed Zombie Dust, then went to his car and brought one in for me along with a New Glarus Moon Man. I told him it was not necessary but was GREATLY appreciated. He told me to just pay it forward sometime.

Shortly, afterwards my friends showed up, and I moved to the beer hall style seating. I ordered the poutine which is a great comfort food. We decided to take the brewery tour since we were having a good time. We went to the production part of the building which was connected to the brewpub. The tour guide was a server at the pub. He knew very little about the brewing process. The $10 fee was for the four beers that we sampled. I was disappointed with this part of my visit.

I would absolutely go back again. The beer was great. The food was good, and the staff was friendly, courteous, and helpful. The tour was a waste of time and money. Go for the pub and skip the tour. I liked this place way better than Founders.

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4.09/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.75

Love going to this place, great patio and awesome food. A lil expensive but it worth it. Always one barrel aged beer on tap. Just wish these guys would start releasing more of their barrel aged stuff or sours in cans !!! Over all definitely worth a trip if your in Grand Rapids, especially when they have their Wood aged beer festival !!

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Photo of Mxsluis
3.9/5  rDev -6.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4.25 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

A LEED certified brewery in a former mortuary/funeral home. It definitely had the feel of a local bar with people meeting and greeting each like a neighborhood bar. The atmosphere was casual and I was impressed with the range of age groups. The menu was a little limited and a tad pricey for GR, but all in all a nice place.

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Photo of hotsudge
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Beautiful building redone in a gorgeous architectural way. The beers we had were decent to great. We loved the atmosphere and really enjoyed the cheese plates paired to the beer. The nuts with beer were also great.

We entered and were seated at one of the bench style seats along all the other patrons. Unfortunately that wasn't overly comfortable and the guests next to us (inches away) weren't too social so we jumped at the chance to move to the bar. At the bar we had a great time. Other patrons next to us at the bar were social and we had some good conversations about the beers - if this matters to you...

Overall a great visit. Unfortunately after spending $150 at the bar and another $100 in merchandise (beer and swag) to go, we asked if they could call us a taxi cab and were told flat out no. Not the best way to end an expensive visit. Luckily the restaurant next door had a fantastic valet who hooked us up with wheels back to the hotel.

The beers we took home have been wonderful and we have the growlers to take back and refill.

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Photo of HarmonMW
4.81/5  rDev +14.8%
vibe: 4.75 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 4.75

Atmosphere: The brewpub is an old funeral home chapel which gives it a very unique ambiance. Inside, tables line the walls and then the center area is filled with the long "German-style" benches where you're sitting right next to other patrons.

Quality: I was blown away with the offerings in the brewpub. Extremely good, unique beers. The flights are any 6 beers, mini-snifter servings. They always have a wood-aged beer on draft. The wood-aged ancho rauchbier was fantastic and got even better as it warmed. I have not had a beer that I didn't care for in 3 totally different flights.

Service: Always stellar. I have never had any complaint about the service we have received and all the servers are very knowledgeable about the available beers. Couldn't ask for anything more.

Selection: Both times we have visited there have been very diverse offerings. Lots of brewpub only, or limited release, beers with the standards always being available too.

Food: Awesome. I get the burger with the carmelized onions which is great. I forget what my fiancee tends to get, but it's delicious. Some of the best food of any brewery we have visited.

Overall: A little pricier than the average GR brewpub, but if you haven't been, you HAVE to make the time to stop by. You will not be disappointed.

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Photo of craft_shannie
2.9/5  rDev -30.8%
vibe: 2 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3

Pretentious w. a capital P. Visited late on a Friday night. Passed on ordering food as the menu was just as pompous & ostentatious as our neighbors on the chair rail. The space is interesting: stained glass, definitely a "church" feel even if it was a funeral home; but given the crowd, it was very tight & uncomfortable. Sampled solitude, ménage a trois, tart side of the moon, and nitro stout. Interesting & solid beers - with the exception of nitro stout which may be one of the worst i've ever had. Definitely worth picking up - at a store.

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Photo of centurian62
2.91/5  rDev -30.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 2.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 2.5

I went on a "brew tour" with a few friends and we had marked Vivant as a must visit. Unfortunately, after arriving we were all very dissapointed. We found the brewery to be a bit pretentious and really over-crowded. Being a stout and porter fan, I was very disappointed by the selection but I fully understand that they have carved out their niche and it doesn't include anything on the darker side. It's still a bit disappointing that they wouldn't have at least one to appease everyone, but I digress. The staff was very friendly and the atmosphere was decent. A brewery based in an old church is always going to be a bit ironic and fun, but ultimately this brewery is not for me.

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Photo of meanmutt
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4

My wife and I were in Grand Rapids on a beer-centric road trip, and Brewery Vivant was quick stop on our way out of town.

The brewpub is pretty unique for sure since it's built inside an old chapel... I think it's a cool vibe.

We got there at about 1pm on a Saturday. There was a decent crowd, we grabbed a few of the last empty seats at the bar. The bartender was quick to greet us and take our order. Since we didn't have a lot of time to stay, my wife and I opted to split a flight of beers. Went with Arctic Sunrise, Menage A Trois, Tart Side of The Moon, and Hubris. I really loved the Tart Side of The Moon, while my wife was a huge fan of the Arctic Sunrise.

We didn't order any food, but I saw a few other people eating and the food looked great.

Overall, I'd recommend stopping by to check out Brewery Vivant. On my next trip to Grand Rapids I'm definitely gonna stop in again and spend more time there so I can try more of their well as the food.

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Photo of MichiganHammer
4.83/5  rDev +15.3%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.75 | service: 5 | selection: 5

Although its not my favorite style of beer, Brewery Vivant are artist when it comes to Belgian Beers and they are changing my thoughts on Belgians. The brewery is located in a very small community outside of the city of Grand Rapids in a former church; It was great being served at the alter of craft beer. The staff there were very welcoming and I would highly suggest visiting this brewery.

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Photo of SquareGrouper
4.71/5  rDev +12.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.75 | food: 5

This is a pretty neat place. A LEED certified brewery and pub from an early 1900s building that was previously a funeral home. The pub is actually in the old funeral chapel, and is surprisingly not creepy. The place has an old world feel, a boisterous main room and good selection of excellent (but pricey) food and a wide selection of tasty brews. Might be my new favorite spot in town.

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Photo of TheBeerDad
4.85/5  rDev +15.8%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

The atmosphere of the brewpub is amazing, Gothic and very pleasing to the eye.

Something that I particularly enjoyed was how kid friendly they were. Not only did they have a kids menu and crayons, but the kids menu wasn't just reprocessed chicken and fries. Juice, fresh fruit or house brewed root beer were options. Even to add to the kid friendly atmosphere the hosts were playing with the brewmasters daughter, who couldn't have been more than two.

The beverage selection was very accommodating as well. If you find yourself not being able to go to breweries with a significant other because they don't drink beer then this menu will solve it. They had 2 types of cider, wine and fresh root beer as options for the non-beer drinker.

I personally had there rotating wood aged selection and at the time it was Belgium dark strong ale aged 4 months in cognac barrels.

The food was chef created and delicious. I had the duck nachos and they were amazing!!!

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Photo of Jamesthebrit
4.35/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Atmosphere is great! Long wooden tables in the middle, some nice artwork. Still has a churchy vibe (I hear it's a converted mortuary)

Quality of the beer was alright. The food was pretty good. Lots of seasonal selections and unique Belgian dishes.

Service was great. Our waiter was very knowledgeable about the different foods on the menu as well as the beers. We ordered a cheese sampler and he also informed us about each of the options there.

Selection was perfect. The menu was diverse but not overwhelming. They had seasonal Belgian dishes as well as some pub favorites.

Food was great. I got the wild game stew. It was super flavorful without being salty. My parents grabbed a hamburger which was cooked perfectly and had all kinds of fresh fixin's (which is totally a word). My bro got a salad which looked super fresh but otherwise was definitely for the health conscious.

Value was solid with beers running about 5 bones and dishes from 10-20.

I liked Brewery Vivant more for the food than for the beer. It was great to go to a restaurant that had character rather than some cookie cutter bullshit that you see all over these days. The atmosphere was great and the food was great. Beer was average.... But definitely check this place out if you're in the GR area.

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Photo of theecaleb
3.59/5  rDev -14.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5

A: Different. Some say its an old church. I asked the staff and they said it was never a church but actually a Catholic funeral home. Strangely, I was hoping it was a church. That being said, it was pretty cool. Feels like your drinking beer in a church. Open seating, decent sized bar, stained glass windows and alter still included.

Q: I have had their beer in cans before and I'll be honest, they didn't really stand out. They tasted a little bit better at the facility. Their beer is good but not Belgian good.

S: Service was average, he was nice and friendly. I just don't think he really understood the beer, for example, if you asked him about a certain beer he could ramble off the description from the menu but that was about it.

Selection was pretty good. Several on tap plus one aged in an oak barrel.

Overall it is a cool place to visit and definitely worth stopping by if your in GR. The food was a bit pricey but it looked and sounded delicious (I did not eat).

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Photo of avalonct
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

This is my favorite place in town. I'm a bit biased as this is where most of my friends go when we want to grab a drink, but read my review for what it's worth. Without question, order the burger (infused with bacon) and enjoy. Make sure you order it medium well if you usually order it medium as they tend to under cook their burgers (on purpose). It is one of the juiciest burgers you will ever have....delicious!

More importantly the beer menu is always changing with their seasonals and they do a great job of explaining the brewing process of each beer so you can make a wise decision. My personal favorite is the big red coq, but a close 2nd is the Escoffier.


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Photo of MindYourHead
4.45/5  rDev +6.2%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

I'm from Cleveland, a beer drinkers paradise, so I know of which I speak, and this place delivers on all fronts. The setting is wonderful: old church sanctuary with exposed wood rafters, semicircular bar in front of what used to be the alter, massive unfinished oak tables for larger groups reminiscent of a German beer garden. Good beer is always enhanced by good food and the food is of high quality and well prepared and plated. My wife and I enjoyed a cheese plate appetizer with very nice local cheeses, beer chutney and crusty French bread. We also shared a Mittwurst entree with red cabbage and excellent potato pancakes. Service was friendly, attentive and knowledgable.

The only distraction in an otherwise fantastic experience was the temperature of the beer - ice cold! With all the other attention to detail this place displayed, from the beer to the food to the service and ambiance, it was a shock that they missed so badly on this detail. Turn up the thermostat 15 degrees and let the quality of your beers come through! This complaint should not be enough to deter anyone from going here as it is really one of my all time best beer drinking experiences.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.28/5  rDev +2.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Visited for dinner and some beers on a recent trip to Grand Rapids.

This is a truly unique place inside and old church. Really cool atmosphere overall.

Service with both friendly and informative and the owner even stopped by to chat with us when he heard he had some visitors from Toronto.

The beer was definitely above average overall with a good variety of styles to choose from.

The food was the real hit here. The only bad part is that we didn't have any room for the desserts that also looked amazing. Best value for a meal that I have ever had at a beer bar or brewery. Top notch gourmet food for reasonable prices. Definitely a differentiator for Vivant.

Got some beer to go as well.

Great place and a must visit if in Grand Rapids.

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Photo of 4thoseabout2bock
4.75/5  rDev +13.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Innovative belgian-american brews including the usual IPAs, Abbeys and Saisons running the gamut to a poblano sour!

A bit outside downtown, in an old funeral chapel. Work the trek.

Nice staff. Happy to give tastes. Also a couple sampler platters to choose from. Love that the samples are served in snifters so that you get the full nose.

Excellent if pricey food, including a rich duck rillets nachos in brie cream sauce with cracklings. This brewery is one to watch.

Along with Logan's Alley, one of the top two destinations in GR.

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Photo of jmdrpi
4.26/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Very cool atmosphere - the brewery is in an old chapel, so sitting at the bar you are surrounded by stone pillars, wood beams, stained glass windows, etc. Fits the style of beer too - heavy on Belgian and French beer styles.

Beer was very good - but you had better like funky Belgian yeast flavors - as the selection are Abbey style ales, Farmhouse, Saison, Sours, etc. They have hard cider and wine for the non-beer drinkers.

Bartender was very nice - and after we had our drinks gave us a free sample of their sour ale thats aged with peppers. We didn't have any food - but if we hadn't already just eaten we would have tried their aged cheeses.

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Photo of hmbrewer336
3.65/5  rDev -12.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 2

Nice place with an overpriced menu. The food is delicious, but supper fancy. Caviar with beer? The fries were like six busks for a small serving.

The beer is fair in price though, and they had 6 to 10 to choose from. Was there on a firkin Friday. That was fun but I did not care for that beer.

Love the old church thing and the common seating area. People in West Michigan are friendly and easy to talk to. The culture of Grand Rapids accentuates the atmosphere.

Staff was friendly and quick to serve. They were also knowledgable about there products.

All in all it is a nice place and I would return; however I would either eat before I went, or have a few then head to one of East Grand Rapids other restaurants for dinner. Way overpriced food.

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Photo of Yetiman420
3.85/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

Flight one
French Style Farmhouse
Belgian Uytzet
Belgian Amber
Oaked Belgian IPA

Flight two
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.

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Photo of cratez
4.2/5  rDev +0.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Came here on a Saturday afternoon with nicktbm and our significant others in October 2011. The sign outside invited us to "warm up with beer," so we took them up on the offer.

Inside sports a beautiful and spacious church-like interior with stained glass windows, high ceilings, communal tables, and about 10 seats at the bar. Crowd is locals who mind their own business. Our server was relaxed and welcoming - he helped us along with beer recos and suggested some dishes to pair with our drinks.

We ordered two flights of the Triomphe Belgian IPA, Farm Hand Ale, Big Red Coq, and Heavy Handed Double Chocolate Stout. The IPA and Red Ale were my favourites, and my oenophile girlfriend really liked the Farm Hand. Compared to other brewpubs, the beer selection is limited, since they do not carry any guest taps, bottles, or cellared offerings. But their house beers are bold, tasty, and unconventional, so they get high marks from me.

For food I had a delicious Oxtail Hash with sunny side eggs and English muffin toast. The lady enjoyed her Pork Belly BLT, even though she couldn’t finish the massive portion. Prices are reasonable as most pints are $4-5 and lunch entrees are in the $12-14 range. After our meal we popped into the retail store, where my friend bought a few cans of beer and a brewery t-shirt. The cashier was happy to chat with us while we looked around.

Overall, we were quite satisfied with our experience here and it made for a nice afternoon stop. Vivant is an impressive, quality brewpub with friendly staff, interesting beers, and an attractive, unique atmosphere. I highly recommend this place if you happen to be in Grand Rapids.

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Photo of GRPunk
4/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

While I've been to this brewery many times and will continue to visit, this is such a difficult place to review. Like their beer, I find there are wild swings in the quality of their pub. While there are things they do extremely well, there's always something that just isn't up to snuff that offsets it.

Atmosphere is a perfect example of the swinging pendulum. As many have remarked, the structure itself is amazing. It's really cool how they've taken a building that's gone through many transformations to create the feel of a centuries old French/Belgian brewery. I'm even cool with the communal seating. That said, it is one of the loudest bars I've been to that isn't booming club mixes. The concrete/stone architecture and high ceilings mean conversational levels just bounce all over the place. Some friends said they are surveying whether they should bring in live acts. I don't see how that can go well. Coolness of the building does get a slight edge here.

Quality of the beer is a lot like the atmosphere. I've had some amazing brews that I wouldn't hesitate to drink again. Then, I've had some real "misses."

Service has always been quite good. There are always a ton of servers that tend to check up just enough that you aren't ever empty. Most have been pretty well versed in the taplist and profiles of what they are serving any given night.

Selection is quite good. Always have a nice combination of "regular" brews and a couple "one off" beers. Sometimes availability doesn't match the menu. Since it's marketed as a Belgian style brewery, you can't be disappointed that all of their beers have some sort of Belgian quality.

Haven't had the food, but it does look spectacular. I'm willing to re-review if I ever eat here.

This place is pricey. I can understand the premium pricing on some of their beers and you can get some deals with their "Monk Club." But, it's generally difficult to have a couple and make it out with a lighter wallet.

In the end, the things they do so well overcome most of the shortcomings. It's a good place to have a beer.

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Photo of DJSpidey
4.5/5  rDev +7.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

My biggest complaint is the lack of vegetarian food options here; that said, carnivores will love the Duck Confit Nachos and such, and many will love their beers, served in an old church with local artworks on the walls. Growlers were competitively priced, and they refilled growlers from other brewers (for those of us who already own plenty of decent growlers and do not need yet another one to use for transporting great beers). Our server was attentive and knowledgeable on the beers, but less-so on the food (in his defense, they had just switched menus from summer to fall). There is a private parking lot for their customers to use, and they sell their canned beer here, too. We missed the brewery tour by an hour, but still enjoyed the beer-hall internal decor (with long tables in the middle). I will be back here for the beer most of all.

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Photo of Brophmonster
3.98/5  rDev -5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3 | food: 5

Visited 10/1/11 with 3 others after the CBS release.

Atmosphere is very cool. Brewpub in an old church. Local art on the walls, large wooden tables and benches. Very well lit. A really nice place to sit down and have a beer. Varied crowd, saw lots of families, and lots of others who came straight from the CBS release.

Quality of the beer was very good. I tried the saison, Belgian IPA, Belgian amber, and the brune. All were very well done, I personally thought the amber was the best.

Service was friendly and prompt. Our server was well versed in the beer and food. Can't ask for much more.

Selection was the only thing lacking. I think there were maybe 6 to 8 house beers, and maybe 2 guest drafts. They're a small brewery, and the quality did make up for the quantity.

Food was outstanding. We were there for lunch, so the menu was slightly smaller than the dinner menu, but great selection. I had the fried alligator tail po boy, which was very well done with tender meat and a great garlic aioli. I also tried some of the lobster roll and pork belly BLT. All were fantastic.

Very friendly prices, especially considering the quality of the food. Beers were average price, but were quite tasty.

Overall I think this is a must stop when in Grand Rapids.

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Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids, MI
3.86 out of 5 based on 4,034 ratings.
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