Top 25 New Places to Stay, Eat and Play: 2012
Grand Rapids, Michigan: Brewery Vivant
The mix seems a little bizarre: an American craft brewer specializing in Belgian beers operating in the chapel of a former funeral home that has become a certified-green dining room. But it all works, and the pub's exposed ceiling timbers, stained-glass windows and Gothic-style arches enhance the Belgian feel.
As for the brews, Farm Hand is a rustic, unfiltered beer, while Vivant Brune has chocolate touches. Vivant Tripel is classically Belgian: golden and sweet, with a creamy head. Can't decide? Try an $8 flight, along with a charcuterie board of bread and sausage, Yesterday's Soup (soup is always best the next day), white-bean cassoulet or steak frites from the evolving menu (616/719-1604; breweryvivant.com).