Beverages and Retail

Grand Rapids brewery going back to basics

February 20, 2020
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Grand Lager
Grand Lager logo. Courtesy Brewery Vivant

A brewery located in the Uptown district is keeping it simple with a new offering.

Brewery Vivant is introducing a beer into its year-round line up that may surprise fans of the European-inspired brewery. Grand Lager, touted as “Beer that is Beer,” was released at Vivant and its Kentwood cousin location Broad Leaf Local Beer on Feb. 20. The beer will be available on draft and in 16-ounce cans with a special label featuring the Calder Plaza logo.

Grand Lager also will be featured at the Michigan Brewer’s Guild Winter Beer Festival over the weekend before being available statewide as a draft-only product beginning in March.

“While we love making the Belgian-style beers we have been known for, sometimes we just need a regular kind of beer,” head brewer Jacob Derylo said. “Our industry has reached a point where putting Lucky Charms in your beer no longer seems strange, so we thought we would go back to simple quality and see how that does.”

Brewery Vivant co-owner Jason Spaulding said craft beer has made gains over the years but still accounts for only 12% of overall beer sales in Michigan. Most beer consumed in the state still comes from foreign-owned breweries like Belgium-based InBev that owns Budweiser and South Africa-based SABMiller that owns the Miller, Coors and Molson brands.

“Grand Lager is a beer we hope the people of West Michigan will embrace and be willing to trade up to. Lager is a familiar style for people, but we make ours with all-grain malts and no cheap adjuncts like corn or rice like the big guys do,” Spaulding said.

This does not mean Brewery Vivant and Broad Leaf are giving up on being weird. According to the brewery’s 2020 release calendar, the “Unapologetic Fruit” line of beer is scheduled to have four releases this year.

“What we set out to do is make the best fruit beer you have ever had,” Brewery Vivant Distribution Director Ryan Reichle said. “These four releases include fruit combinations that people in the Midwest are familiar with in pies and jams. Turns out that they are great beer combinations, too.”

Brewery Vivant Jam Jar made its debut first and contains blueberry, blackberry, raspberry and plum. Strawberry Rhubarb will be released in April, Stone Fruit Cherry will be released in August, and fans will get to enjoy Cranapple-Blueberry by October.

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