The Other Grand Rapids Brewery

Everyone knows that one of the best breweries in the Midwest (and all of the US) that can be found in Grand Rapids, MI is Founders.  They make some wonderful beers, have a huge taproom (with just as big of an outdoor biergarten, with space heaters for the Spring/Fall) with an endless sandwich chalkboard menu and produce one of my all-time favorite brews (which possesses one of the coolest labels, ever) “Backwoods Bastard” (Scotch ale aged in bourbon barrels).  Sure, “KBS” (“Kentucky Breakfast Stout) is great (check with my National Beer Day post) but I think “Backwoods Bastard” has greater nuances.  But that is not what we’re here to discuss today…

Backwoods Bastard

Brewery Vivant is another big player in Northwest Michigan.  They distribute in 16oz cans and focus mostly on adjusting various styles but always hitting home with Belgian yeasts.  You may have read in a previous article that I stray away from cross-bred styles but these guys manage to figure it out in an artful way.  “Root Stock Rye Pale Ale’s” aroma and initial to medium flavors are on par with an American APA but a resounding rye, spicy character lingers on the finish, in a good way.  I will say though, it is the first beer I’ve tried from them, where I did not detect any Belgian yeast character.  Maybe they fermented this one cooler than normal?  Either way, it was quite interesting and would pair perfectly with a campfire on a cool summer evening.