“I would rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.” – Tom Waits

image6Lets try this again.  I previously composed a beer review that would have had Kerouac, Whitman and Steinbeck searching for alternative career paths.  But alas, thanks to the wonderful world of technology (and yahoo) my opus was completely wiped out prior to posting.  Man, you should have read it.  It wasn’t your weekly drabble about color, head, off flavors, nose and mouthfeel.  This was an ode to the Belgian lords of the true art of brewing.  A manifesto about what it means to live, eat, breath and shit the poetry of the brewing process.   But you will never read it.  You shall never bask in it’s literary glory.  You may be saying “Why don’t you just rewrite it Rob?”  Gee, I don’t know.  Why didn’t the Egyptians just have a big rhinoplasty party with the Sphinx?  Why didn’t they just put a kickstand under the Leaning Tower Of Pisa?  Why didn’t they build Atlantis on stilts?  Why did they not just pour Lagunitas Sucks down the drain and start over?  Sometimes when shit goes wrong it is for the right reason.  I am not quite sure what that reason is, but I am a pint glass half full type of guy.  Hopefully what follows will suffice.
image-1I have not always liked Belgian beers.  In fact I loathed them.  Endlessly I listened to bearded beer brainiacs blab about the terrific banana, spice and clove characteristics of their favorite beers brewed by some bald guy in a brown robe.  What I tasted was rotten bananas and cloves that must have been picked from a fresh, steaming pile of belgian cow shit.  Never one to give up easily, I tried several styles from several brewers.  Trappists, blondes, saisons, Flemish, dubbel and strong ales from Ommegang, Duvel, Huyghe and Jolly Pumpkin all passed my lips with little more than a “ehh, it’s alright” (at best).
Then it happened.  A gentleman by the name of Jason Spaulding (formerly of New Holland) returned to Grand Rapids via Doemens Acadamy (yes it is really a beer school) to create a Belgian inspired beer cathedral that would be the first thing to entice me back to church in over a decade.  imageBrewery Vivant has been birthing some of the most experimentally delicious beers either side of the Grand since 2010.  Some of my personal favorites have been the multitude of barrel aged wonders.  Vivant’s take on beers aged both in whiskey and wine barrels have proven that the aging process does not have to trump the brewing process.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love a good, thick, heavily bourbon barrel aged, where did I leave my wife ale that pushes the ABV boundaries.  The marriage of liquor and beer is truly a work of art that any self respecting beer lover must learn to appreciate.  But Vivant takes this art form in a bit of a unique direction.  The aging process seems to accentuate the flavors of the beer and not define them. image5 One of these magical creations is Le Flaneur.  This bretta ale utilizes three different yeast strains during its aging process which takes over a year.  The result is a phenomenal ale with a great farmhouse funk flavor and a brilliant straw color that has me wishing this was a regular on tap at “The Cathedral”.  However, as of this post, there is limited supply at the brewery and sadly they have sold out of all cans.   For a more in depth review of this beer please: a) find out where yahoo hid my original post.  b) read some other douche bag’s half assed review about the beer’s bouquet and mouth feel (that term always sounds pornographic to me).  c) get your ass to church and kneel at the alter of Belgian brilliance.
Rob Meendering
Authors note: The above is strictly the opinion of the author’s and does not reflect the opinions of any Founder’s Racing team members other than myself.