From the passionate beer connoisseur to the occasional glass of beer drinker, chances are they’ve all made their way through Brewery Vivant’s doors at some point. The historic funeral home chapel turned microbrewery is well known for its farmhouse style ales and European-inspired eats.
So when Vivant started to get more experimental with its beer offerings, going beyond farmhouse, that’s when the brewery began thinking about expanding its family. Revue sat down with Broad Leaf Local Beer’s taproom manager, Jared Rader, and experience warden, Jonathan Ward, to talk a little more about Brewery Vivant’s weird cousin moving to the Kentwood area.
“Kentwood already has a very vibrant craft beer scene, it just doesn’t have its own craft brewery,” Rader said. “This is going to offer a community meeting place that Kentwood really doesn’t have as far as the craft beer world goes right now.”
Broad Leaf plans on being more relaxed than Vivant, drawing inspiration from the big, open tap rooms that are found out west and down south. There won’t be a wait at the door for a table — you’ll be able to casually drop in for a beer and a quick bite.
“There’s a certain experience that you get and people really enjoy at Vivant, and there will be a certain experience that people get and really enjoy here,” Ward said.
Broad Leaf also will be more experimental with its brews, straying from the farmhouse style of Vivant.
“The biggest and easiest distinction is actual process,” Ward said. “There will be some differences there, mainly driven by the types of yeast strains that we’re using, the types of ingredients we’re using and the fact that over here, there will be more hop presence just because that’s not something that you inherently see in farmhouse ales.”
Lovingly nicknamed Vivant’s “weird” cousin, Broad Leaf will be a brewery that allows for creativity, exploration, new worlds and adventure — in beer.
“What we’re interested in doing here is not only experimenting and exploring with process and flavor, but doing it with a little bit of direction,” Ward said. “We want to be creative but in a way that makes sense. We don’t want to just doodle; we want to make a masterpiece.”
The first masterpiece to be released under the Broad Leaf Local Beer banner was De-Extinction in April. The beer is a triple dry-hopped red ale brewed to spotlight bright and clean tropical flavors and lush crystal malts. If you haven’t tried it already, get on it. De-Extinction is the perfect introduction to Broad Leaf’s more artistic and experimental focus.
“The first one we put in cans, we wanted it to be a representative of the difference between Vivant and Broad Leaf and this is a very different thing,” Ward said. “This does not have the personality of a Vivant beer.”
The food is going a different direction as well. Broad Leaf offers a menu that’s more like street food, the kind of menu where you can balance a drink in one hand and a delicious bite in the other.
“Our kitchen is going to be based off a street food type of atmosphere,” Rader said. “We’ll have fresh offerings that we’ll be preparing each day while still representing the same values that we do at Vivant with sourcing our products locally and getting multiple deliveries a week.”
There is a distinction between Vivant and Broad Leaf, but it’s also clear where they overlap. Although Vivant has expanded, the two locations will still hold the same values of sustainability, quality and community.
“Everything about this place at its roots is going to be exactly what we feel strongly about at Vivant,” said Ward. “This feeling that we hope to engender of community, inclusion, diversity and kindness.”
When it opens this May, Broad Leaf is eager to welcome the community with open arms and some weird, top-notch beer. Cheers!
Broad Leaf Local Beer
2885 Lake Eastbrook Blvd., Kentwood