Sunday, August 17, 2014

Grand Rapids: the Green Well & Brewery Vivant

After spending most of the day at the Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park a few weeks ago, Greg and I headed over to Brewery Vivant. A coworker had highly recommended it to me before we took off on our West Michigan adventure, and Greg thought he had heard of it before, as well. Unfortunately, they do not open until 3pm, another hour away, and we were hungry.

So we headed across the street to the Green Well Gastro Pub for lunch. Since the weather was nice, we ate outside on the patio. We started with the Breads and Spreads, "an array of spreads that rotate daily served with toasted breads from Field & Fire Bakery & Green Well flatbreads." At least we tried to. Our wait forgot about our appetizer order, and we didn't get it until the end of the meal. Not a bad dessert, I guess. The four spreads were interesting, and I like the idea that it changes. It adds re-play value, though I don't now when I will ever be in that neighborhood, or any part of Grand Rapids, again.

For lunch, I ordered the Kind Wet Burrito, a pretty involved burrito with all kinds of tasty things in it! I assume it's "kind" because it is normally vegetarian. I added chicken for $4, making it a less kind burrito? Whatever, it was delicious! It would have been just as tasty without the chicken, but I needed the added protein. To drink, I tried the Michigan Strawberry tea on ice. I don't think it tasted much like strawberries, but the flavor was pleasant. 

Greg ordered some kind of funky spritzer that he liked more than I did and Otto's Family Farm Chicken & Waffles. (He pretty much orders chicken and waffles whenever it is available on a menu.) He was disappointed with this his smaller portion size, while I was nearly overwhelmed with the size of mine. We paid roughly the same for both dishes.

When lunch was over, Brewery Vivant was open, so we went back across the street for liquid dessert. I am not a big fan of beer, and though there was at least one hard cider offering, I opted for the house-brewed root beer instead. It always pleases me when breweries offer their own root beer. I think Brewery Vivant's sticky brew shot up to my favorite micro-brewed root beer. (Olde Peninsula of Kalamazoo will probably forever hold the number one spot. The former #2, current #3 place is held by Joe's Friendly Tavern located in the village of Empire, MI up north.) Greg ordered a flight so as to sample a few of the brewery's signature brews, and he enjoyed every one.


What makes Brewery Vivant unique isn't just the beer. It's located in an old church, and the main seating area was once the chapel. It's only a little bit eerie. The shape of the bar mirrors the shape of the stained glass window behind it. The bathrooms were also fun, or the sink was anyway. There are no basins, only the counter, tilted imperceptibly until the water is turned on and all runs to the back. I was intrigued and a little puzzled, so I can only imagine how a drunk person would feel when confronted with this. (Bravo, Vivant.)


Brewery Vivant also strives to be a sustainable company with a small carbon footprint, and "[i]n 2012, [was] awarded the first ever LEED certification (LEED Silver) for a brewery in the United States." Cool beans!

While we were at the Green Well, we learned a lot of people did as we had, taking lunch at the Green Well before heading over to Brewery Vivant for drinks. You don't have to as Vivant has a full menu, including snacks for kids, but it isn't a bad deal if you arrive too early. That wet burrito was pretty amazing. If you like beer and are in Grand Rapids, definitely check out Brewery Vivant. It can't believe it would disappoint.

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