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/// BEER BREWERY SPOTLIGHT:


chapel. Before even opening its heavy wooden door to the public on Dec. 20, Brewery Vivant had sold more than 100 “Monk Club” memberships. “People joined our mug club be-


Brewery Vivant I


T’S ONLY FITTING THAT WORSHIPERS at the alter of ale would have blind faith in microbrews produced inside an old funeral home


fore even tasting our beer,” said Jason Spaulding, who co-owns the brewery with wife, Kris. The brewery has nearly reached its


500-member Monk Club capacity in just three months, and is evolving quickly. This might have something to do with the fact that Spaulding has done this before, as co-founder of New Holland Brewing Company. What sets Brewery Vivant apart is the fact that all its beers


are produced in a Belgian style. “We focus on exploring that style of beer because it’s what


we’re most passionate about,” Spaulding said. With 10 beers on tap, the Vivant family includes mainstays


Triomphe IPA, Farm Hand farmhouse ale and Solitute abbey ale, which will be the first to be offered in cans when the brewery starts distributing in April. “It’s mostly due to sustainability and the environmental


benefits,” Spaulding says of the beer’s aluminum vessels. “Also, the flavor of the beer is better protected because no light can shine through.” Spaulding thinks the cans will be a hit in West Michigan,


especially with boaters and golfers who don’t want to take glass bottles on the water or the course.


“We’re trying to overcome the mindset that good beer


doesn’t come in cans,” he said. The brewery itself is very “Belgianesque,” with a high,


wood-beamed ceiling, stained glass windows and long, com- munity tables. The beer garden, which will open as soon as weather permits, runs the length of the building and has windows that provide a glimpse into the brewing room. Though a few patrons initially seemed uneasy about drink-


ing in a former funeral home, Spaulding says most have had fun with it. “Our servers have been spreading rumors that the tables


are made from coffins.” To decide for yourself if its truth or a just rumor, visit


Brewery Vivant at 925 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids; (616) 719-1604; breweryvivant.com. n


by Kelly Quintanilla | kelly@revuewm.com


BEVERAGE OF THE MONTH: Vander Mill’s Hard Apple Cider


Hard Apple Cider is the cider mill and winery’s flagship alcoholic beverage. Others include Apple Blueberry Cider, Cherry Hard Cider and Michigan Wit, a Belgian-style cider. With blend of Michigan Jonathan, Golden


T


Delicious, Gala and McIntosh apples, the hard apple cider is never pasteurized or filtered. “We use 100 percent of the juice, so we’re reli-


ant on what Mother Nature gives us,” says Paul Vander Heide, co-founder of Vander Mill. “We try to use same blend to maintain consistency, but it’s possible that you could notice differences from batch to batch.” The seven percent


VANDER


MILL’S HARD APPLE CIDER 7% ABV


$10.95/bottle, $3.50/pint


ABV beverage was first brewed in 2008, and is available year-round in 750 ML bottles and by the pint at Vander Mill’s Cleveland Street location. The pale yellow beverage is surprisingly mild – not


tart, sugary or overly carbonated like many com- mercially produced hard ciders. “More craft beer drinkers are trying our hard


cider, because it’s not terribly sweet and has a higher alcohol content,” Vander Heide says of the semi-sweet cider. Hopheads who are still skeptical about swilling


a cider can try floating Guinness to make a Black Apple, or adding Harp or a favorite craft lager to make a Snakebite. n


BEER NEWS


The Schmohz Achilles 5k Run will be held Saturday, April 16 at the brewery. As one of the only races where participants are encouraged to hydrate with beer, the run usually sells out in advance, so visit schmohz.com/race to pre-register.


Also on April 16 is Founders’ 10th Annual Black Party. The celebra- tion of dark beers includes a long list of the brewery’s favorite stouts and porters, with music provided by Oracle and Four Finger Five. Cover is $8 and includes a commemorative glass filled with beer.


Siciliano’s Market is in the final stages of an expansion to increase the size of the specialty market by about 30 percent. The extra space


will allow the Grand Rapids store to de-clutter while offering more home brewing ingredients and equipment.


Yet another source for home brewers, O’Connor’s Home Brew Supply, opened in March at 613 Lyon St. NE in Grand Rapids. Owned by husband and wife duo Ben and Allison O’Connor, the shop offers equipment for novice and experienced home brewers.


The annual Short’s to Short’s Paddle will take place Friday, April 29. Kayakers and canoeists paddle through all or part of the 27 miles of rivers and lakes connecting the Bellaire pub to the Elk Rapids production facility. Plan a weekend trip so you don’t miss the brewery’s seventh anniversary party the following day.


22 | REVUEWM.COM | APRIL 2011


HOUGH NOT TECHNICALLY MICROBREWS, Vander Mill’s line of hard ciders can hold their own with other local libations. Produced in Spring Lake,


SCHEDULE | DINING | SIGHTS | SOUNDS SCENE


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