Beer City USA: World-Class Craft Beer and Hot Smoked Bison Ribs

The grand finale of our Destination Michigan Series! In this episode, Chef David W Olson of Live Fire Republic returns to his hometown, “Beer City U.S.A.,” for the ultimate Grand Rapids-inspired culinary journey, from brewery to backyard. Chef will take you behind the scenes, exploring the intersection of world-class craft beer and art of preparing the most mouthwatering live fire fare!

In this episode, Chef David will introduce you to his very good friend, legendary founder and brew master of Brewery Vivant, Jason Spaulding. Brewery Vivant, the world’s first LEED-Certified production brewery, resides in a meticulously refurbished historic building in the East Hills neighborhood. Here, the spirit of the “bon vivant” lifestyle thrives, uniting neighbors, brewers, and even monks in their appreciation of European-inspired beers.

Beyond brewing culturally-rich beer, the establishment offers an artisanal from-scratch menu and fosters a sustainable community, which has earned Brewery Vivant a nomination for the best craft brewery in the State of Michigan by USA Today.

Three core passions define Brewery Vivant: a profound love for European beer styles, a commitment to sourcing local ingredients while upholding sustainability, and a belief in pairing beer and food harmoniously. Inspired by Belgian and French traditions, Brewery Vivant has crafted an exceptional range of beers. “Vivant,” meaning “lively,” perfectly encapsulates the brewery’s essence, while “bon vivant,” signifying “the good life,” reflects their devotion to savoring exceptional food and drink.

Operating as a full manufacturing production brewery, Brewery Vivant combines a 20-barrel brewhouse with a state-of-the-art GEA centrifuge to maintain precision in brewing. Since their inception in 2010, their dedication to producing high-quality European-style beers remains steadfast, making Brewery Vivant a hub for beer enthusiasts seeking the good life through communal enjoyment.

Join Chef David and Jason as they take you behind the scenes, offering an exclusive tour, right where the beer is made. Together they’ll taste several of Brewery Vivant’s finest brews, each one a work of art in its own right. But, the goal here is selecting the beer that will be used in Chef’s cook during the second half of the episode. And the chosen beer? None other than Brewery Vivant’s Cherry Saison – a delightful, fruity brew that’s about to become the star of the show!

Chef David and crew cheerfully depart en route to the country roads that lead his backyard in West Michigan. And, the menu today is absolutely gigantic, locally-harvested, smoked bison ribs prepared on the Primo Ceramic Grill, all over live fire. Picture this: hot smoked bison ribs with no deflector plate between the charcoal and grill grates, infusing them with that irresistible smoky flavor! But, the pièce de résistance is the caramelized Cherry Saison Beer glaze, simmering away in a cast iron dish directly atop the grill, then basted in layer, upon sweet and tangy layer across the smoky, tender bison ribs.

The fruit of this labor and highlight of the episode comes when after a long day and well-invested effort, the ribs are carved, revealing the juiciest ribs hots smoked ribs ever on YouTube!

To us, this episode encapsulates the essence of the Beer City experience: the way unforgettable craft beer, outdoor cooking, delectable smoky dishes, and a warm, welcoming fire bring together people from all walks of life and difference around a communal table.

Be sure to tune in and drop us a line in the comments, and subscribe – we’d love to know about your favorite brewery, and your beer of choice for your backyard barbecues and outdoor cooks. Cheers and long live the adventure! –Live Fire Republic

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