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Monday, December 30, 2013

Founder’s Brewing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan

After enjoying Founder’s Brewing Company’s beer for more than a decade, I finally got the chance to visit their taproom.  The brewery facility was quite impressive.  The taproom was the biggest I had ever been in (well, it’s actually several rooms) and the place was packed with patrons.  There were hundreds of people enjoying the excellent craft beers that are made here. 

They do sell food, but I never got a chance to look at a menu, as our party has stand for a short while and then got a table where we could see into the brewing kettles and other equipment. There was a short wait to get beer at the bar, so we did that and brought them back to our table. The beer listing was mostly the standard Founder’s beers that one can find in stores, but they also had Infiltrator, Sweet Repute, Backwoods Bastard, and Frangelic Mountain Brown.  All were interesting craft beers.

In addition to the indoor tap room, there was an impressive overflow crowd out on the front patio, where people could stay warm by hanging out by the numerous heaters and fire pits.  It was only about 20 deg outside, but it was quite pleasant hanging around an open fire drinking an Infiltrator to keep warm.  The outside area was packed as you can see. 

Folks from Grand Rapids sure like their craft beer! 


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Brewery Vivant, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Ever since I tried Brewery Vivant’s Zaison, I have been hooked on this brewery’s selection of beers.  They are all interesting and tasty.  I finally had the opportunity to visit the brewery in Grand Rapids, Michigan with some friends. 

 The brewery is located in a former church and the wood-beam rafters and strained-glass windows still grace the dining area.  As the start of a day visiting breweries in this wonderful city of beers, we arrived at 5-minutes before it opened and joined the queue of believers to enter the chapel.  After some mix-up with seating, we finally were led to a table in the middle of the dining area.  The waiter was attentive and knowledgeable.  We ordered samplers of all their beers and the duck nachos. 

I have to say that the beer was excellent, as expected, but the duck nachos were outstanding.  I love to be surprised at a brewpub—usually the surprise comes from the beer.  We decided to have an early dinner and everyone loved what they ordered.  The food was gourmet all around and we’re now trying to get the recipe for the duck nachos.

The beer, of course, is what drew us to Brewery Vivant and it was all excellent.  Given my preference for high-gravity beer, I ordered the heavy ones that included a peppercorn rye and barrel aged Contemplation.  Those were my personal favorites for the day, but all of the beers were pleasing.  Alas, I did not choose to get a pint of anything as it was the start of a long day and I still needed to drive us to the hotel.

This is a brewery that any craft beer lover should visit.  And get the duck nachos, you will not regret it.