Brewery Vivant

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

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Reviews: 64 | Ratings: 230
Photo of craft_shannie
2.9/5  rDev -31%
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 -30.7%
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 jp32
3.01/5  rDev -28.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 2.75 | food: 1

Ultra-cool idea, vibe, space. Quality of beer is nice, not elite, but they make decent craft beers, many seem very true to their styles.

The service was average. Its hard to rate a place on this when you only get the service of one employee. Their beer selection was good. Their food selection was not. The only thing worse than the food menu/selection was the food itself. Over-priced liver pate on a cracker.

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Photo of docoman
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.25 | selection: 3.5

Didn't have any food here but stopped for some beers during recent trip to GR area. Layout confusing and hard to get to the bar area to order beers, but place was packed and seemed to have good atmosphere. I really enjoyed was the Wizards Burial Ground which was excellent.

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Photo of browna71
3.53/5  rDev -16%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I was very excited to try this place out; heard great things and just thought it was a cool idea for a new brewpub.

A- Wow, this is one of the few places I've been to that actually blew me away- set up in a old church with stained wooden beams through the vaulted ceiling, the bar was set up within the altar (which had very nice wooden tap handles). Lighting was reasonably dimmed, perfect for the atmosphere. Wooden tables set up as booths where the pews were, flanking two long, large wooden tables that run through the middle of the place. Set an excellent 'old european church' feel to it, very in tune with what they were trying to accomplish.

Q- Beer was pretty good too- the Kludde was the highlight for me, the Abbey and Bruin were decent brews as well. The farmhouse missed the mark in a big way, the wit was decent, but not what you would exactly expect for the style. Overall, happy with the beers.

S- people were friendly, took a little while to get served, but in their defense it was a busy friday night. Pretty average, no big gripes here.

S- For just starting out, they had a reasonable selection of beers- when I was there, they had 6 beers on tap, along with two different ciders. i would expect this to only get better as they get settled in a start cranking out new brews.

F- cant really comment much on this, didnt have any myself, but the friends I were with seemed happy with what they got

$- beer was 4-5$ for a tulip/becher, depending on what you ordered- very reasonable for what you got.

Overall, I really enjoyed this place. I will definitely be back, if only for the wonderful atmosphere. The beer was pretty good, but if I'm strictly in the mood for running through beers, I'd still probably head to Founders or Hopcat. Very fun place though, another great beer option for the GR area.

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Photo of theecaleb
3.59/5  rDev -14.5%
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 Chris912
3.61/5  rDev -14%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3

A nice little old monastery (?). Parked the bikes outside and went on in. The place isnt overly large. I dont think they had serve food there, and their tap list isnt the biggest either. We still enjoyed it. Took the tour.

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Photo of TheGingerbreadMan
3.63/5  rDev -13.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3 | food: 4.5

It's in a retired church. How can you beat that for coolness? And the community tables definitely add to the vibe. The food is excellent and they make a concerted effort to match it with the beer. Vivant has a heavy Belgium focus, so if you like Belgian, it's for you. The atmosphere and experience doesn't get much better.

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Photo of hmbrewer336
3.65/5  rDev -13.1%
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 yankeej13
3.84/5  rDev -8.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

This was another stop on my Microbrewery tour and when we pulled up in front of this place, I thought I was at a church which so happens that it used to be a church...go figure!

When we walked in we were greeted and asked if we were staying for lunch or a drink and if they could help us with anything. Once we sat down at the bar and looked around it was so old school looking. Not sure exactly how old the church was before they turned it into a brewery but they had all the old pillars across the ceiling and stained glass windows. It was the nicest interior for a brewery without actually looking like a brewery if that makes any sense.

The service was great, the women behind the bar talked to us about the history of the brewery and when it used to be a church and learned alot of history as well as beer facts!

My dad and I both got the samplers of beer which was extremely good. For a newer brewery they def knew what they were doing. Wish that we would have gone there when they were giving the tours but overall it was a great experience and I recommend that you check this place out if your in the area!

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Photo of sullenbee
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

I was pretty hyped when I learned that a brand new brewery was opening up in my neighborhood. I'm lucky enough to have Founders Brewing Company within biking distance, and now twice as lucky to have an establishment I can walk to! That said, as a new "Monk" member (their version of a mug club), I shall be spending many nights enjoying what will surely be an ongoing slew of tasty brews.

One thing that I'm particularly fond of is the setup of communal tables. With every sitting, I'm forced to interact with those I probably never would have. It is pretty fun, and a welcome change from the normal bar scene. It isn't often that you find guys who own tons of real estate in Grand Rapids buying entire rounds for Eastown misfits and other beer folk. (At a table at least 4 picnic table lengths long.) It happened, and I'm sure there will be many other odd (but nonetheless special) interactions to come.

I can only imagine things getting better as they swing along, and get more styles on tap. These first few weeks have been pretty limited, but damn tasty. (My fave so far being Triomphe, the Belgian IPA. The Abbey Ale is a close second.) Not every beer has been completely on par with Belgian styles, but the influence is there.

Service is hit or miss at this point, but I understand the staff is still learning. Food is a tad on the pricey side for a girl on a budget like me, but not completely unreasonable. Once I'm not in the poor house, I'll venture beyond fries into the food realm.

For a former funeral home, the atmosphere is light and fun, though I continue to find my inner goth wishing they would dim the lights a bit or add some color. Decoration is minimal. It would be great to see some art go up on the walls.

In all, a welcome addition to the West Michigan beer scene. Looking forward to watching them emerge in the community, as they really seem to really care about their neighborhood and creating a sustainable business.

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Photo of Yetiman420
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
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 Mxsluis
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
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 ahq514
3.93/5  rDev -6.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Visited here on a Friday afternoon for lunch. Such a different sort of atmosphere for a brewery. Located inside of an old church, the chapel has converted to the brewpub area. Has sort of an old church feel with the stained glass and wood furniture. The altar area has been replaced by the circular bar. Pretty small, I could see this place fill up fast at night time.

There wasn't many other people there so service was pretty good. Waitress was prompt and accurate.

They had maybe 8 to 10 of their beers on tap. Belgian style beers with an american twist. Wished I could have tried more.

Food was pretty good, but pretty expensive, especially for lunch. Cheapest option was around 11 bucks. Beer on the otherhand was reasonable. 4 or 5 bucks for every beer.

Would go back here mostly to try the rest of their lineup. Interesting concept, also love the sinks in the bathrooms.

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Photo of Brophmonster
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
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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Photo of SupaCelt
4/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4

The ambiance and aesthetics of Brewery Vivant may quite possibly converge to compose the most unique commercial setting in which you will ever quaff a quality brew in West Michigan. This former funeral chapel is quite alive and quite well in these present times. Double doors lead to a vestibule containg Brewery Vivant logo goods and a few more steps lead to the seating area. A balcony showcasing a perfectly relevant stained glass window overlooks the mingling room from the entry side of the complex. Rustic furniture built from salvaged barn wood, including bench seating along picnic style tables that will inevitably lead to natural socialization among patrons, four place tables, and booths of walnut for more intimate gatherings comprise the seating area that besets a very lovely bar with tap handles that pour forth the delicious offerings of Brewery Vivant. A very appealing landscape indeed. Outdoor seating is a future luxury that will add to the already engaging character of this brewery.

The quality is good of course. It can only be expected. The brewery is owned and operated by industry professionals who have significant history in the craft brew realm as well as formal training within the particular brewing domain that this brewery will become famous for.

At the time of this review, which is based upon an experience on a Wednesday in the afternoon, the service was very prompt from attentive servers.

The selection at the time of this review was solid although more selections, by rule, would be more than welcome. A million taps would never be enough taps for the beer enthusiast. The brews on line during this encounter were well crafted and include an IPA named Triomphe, a rye ale named Sgt. Peppercorn, the perceived flagship farmhouse ale known as Farm Hand, and a quite satisfying brown or Brune ale. Very nice selections all, and quite approachable by both nuanced palates and those without experience in consuming beers of exceptional quality.

The food was not sampled at the time of this entry. Future updates may ensue.

The prices are on par with the prices of the other purveyors of fine drink within the Grand Rapids area.

It would appear that Brewery Vivant is off and running. It will be exciting to watch the progression as this enterprise takes its place within the craft brew industry and secures its nitch within the juggernaut that is the West Michigan beer scene. Cheers to Brewery Vivant, and well wishes on your journey...

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Photo of stouts4me
4/5  rDev -4.8%

Parking was a little rough, and they were jammed, but that is my fault for visiting on a weekend. Just stopped to try the beer, like the converted church building, and not really a Belgium beer , saison fan, but this was a nice stop. Picked up one of their sweet snifters on the way out at the gift shop.

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Photo of kbutler1
4/5  rDev -4.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Been here a couple times now. Really beautiful place as you walk through the front doors into an old funeral church. Long tables go from the entry way all the way to the bar which are then surrounded by booths. Everytime I am here this place seems to be packed. The bar staff was friendly and we grabbed a couple of beers. The ambiance is nice and energetic. Service as I said was good. The selection was better this go arond as they now have about 10 beers on tap. We did end up ordering some frites that were basically just really good french fries. Overall, a cool place that I would go to again only after having my fill of Founder's and Hop Cat.

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Photo of GRPunk
4/5  rDev -4.8%
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 98green
4.01/5  rDev -4.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.5

Did the brewery tour for $10. Knowledgable tour leader, small group on the 4th of July. The 20 barrel facility isn't very big, so it was mostly talking in one place. I was impressed how small a canning line is compared to a normal bottling line. Vivant is owned by one of the founders of New Holland, so not surprising to see the place is laid out well and full of new equipment. Got 3 5 oz pours on the tour (and the glass) and a 4th of your choice after the tour

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Photo of abaculy
4.03/5  rDev -4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 3

I went to Brewery Vivant on the Monday they opened. What a cool place! Rather small compared to other West Michigan places, there was still a fair amount of seating(which means you the place can get pretty crowded). The interior and exterior are both done up to resemble French/Belgian monastery a.k.a. abbey. I selected 4.0 for selection, but wish I could omit this category. I was told they would have 14 taps, and also have cider and wine. They plan to make their own wine in the future, and currently have Vander Mill's cider on tap(Not sure if they have their own taps or not). The first night, they had a Belgian IPA, an amber(I think an abbey), and one other. When I went back with my parents during the first week of 2011, they had 4 beers on tap (brown, amber, farmhouse, and one other). I would be more comfortable rating their selection when they've everything going at full force, but I do have confidence they will have a good selection relative to their theme. It was pretty crowded and the place will surely benefit from having their outdoor patio open, as many of the tables are like long picnic tables (although there are booths and many other smaller tables, plus bar seats). The mug club mugs are AWESOME! They are like a chalice or big goblet. I rate the foot as 3.0 because it was good, but the amount of fries you get doesn't seem like $5 worth. The beers were good, but not my style. I like a lot of Belgian beers, but the sour aftertaste sometimes gets me. The IPA had this and it just wasn't for me. I believe this may have been an abundance of lactic acid in the beer, but I would need it in front of me again to say for sure.

Overall, I recommend trying this place, as I can only see it getting better!

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Photo of Jackofallbrews
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Vivant is a newer brewery that focuses on Belgian styles of varying types. The brewery is in an old funeral parlor and the bar is actually located in the old chapel, having a cool backdrop of stained glass behind it!

I really enjoyed the beers here, though some were better than others. The Solitude was a very dry and pleasant Abbey style beer and I ended up buying a few cans to bring home. Their flagship beer is the Big Red Coq--a hoppy Belgian ale. Always fun to say the name of this beer! We snacked on duck confit nachos as we worked through our samplers, reveling in the tastes and the surroundings.

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4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
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 DoubleSimcoe
4.11/5  rDev -2.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

The wife and I visited Vivant on a Friday night after stopping at HopCat and Founders. We had a family-reunion dinner at Vivant, with eight or nine relatives. It took a while to get a table but when we did, we had a great time.

The place is beautifully decorated, small and a little loud. I like the communal tables- all of us sat at one large table and had great service. The food is damn good! Duck nachos are wow, and so is the pissaladiere (Provencal pizza). Charcuterie ain't bad but I've had better. Lots of quality stuff, and a great pair for the Belgian-style brews.

We all sampled a couple of different brews, including the Tripel, Solitude and Big Red Cocq and I enjoyed them. Sure, they weren't, like, the best or most mind-blowing Belgian-style beers I've ever had, but they are nice. Looking at the BA listings later on, though, I wish they had some of those barrel-aged brews, sours and imperial stouts...

I will definitely revisit next time I'm in Grand Rapids. This is a fun, different place.

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Photo of hotsudge
4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
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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Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids, MI
3.83 out of 5 based on 4,238 ratings.
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