Reintroducing Black Rye in 2015

We plan to reintroduce Black Rye, a dry-hopped dark ale brewed with copious amounts of rye malt, as a seasonal release in January 2015 with availability through March. Black Rye will be available throughout our distribution footprint both on draft and in 12 oz. bottles with a suggested retail price of $10.99 per 4-pack.

Founders Black Rye bottle shot

We brewed Black Rye for the first time in 2006—it was available for less than a year, but it developed a cult following. And we decided to reach into our recipe vault and bring it back for 2015.

“Because of how quickly the craft beer enthusiast community has grown, most people drinking craft beer and even Founders beer today have never tried Black Rye,” said Dave Engbers, co-founder and vice president of brand and education. “Officially, this beer is a re-introduction. But for most, it’s a new Founders beer.”

Black Rye is a perfectly balanced blend of German- and American-grown hops, premium 2-row barley and heavily kilned rye and wheat malts. It’s 7.5% ABV and measures at 78 IBUs. There’s no category that can contain it—it’s a true Founders original.

“Black Rye is one of those beers that we kept coming back to in our conversations about new releases,” said Jeremy Kosmicki, Founders’ brewmaster. “There are so many craft beers out there, but this one has its place because there’s nothing else quite like it.”

Black Rye will kick off our seasonal calendar in 2015, with availability from roughly January to March, dependent on distributor shipments. It will be released in our taproom on draft and in bottles as of January 2015. Our other seasonal releases in 2015 will be Rubaeus, from April to September, and Breakfast Stout, from October to December. Our full 2015 availability calendar will be announced later this year.

 

Thanks to Beer Enthusiasts, We’re Growing!

We announced today that we plan to expand our brewery production facility at our current site, 235 Grandville Ave SW. Pending approvals, we expect to break ground on this expansion in late October.

The expansion will take place in two phases: the first phase will involve the addition of approximately 37,000 square feet comprised of space for new production equipment, including a new 300 barrel (bbl) brew house and new fermentation tanks, as well as additional offices. The second phase will add approximately 20,000 square feet of space for more fermenting and packaging equipment.

Founders cellar from the catwalk

“The focus of this expansion is to increase the capacity of our production facility—to brew more beer right here in Grand Rapids, Michigan,” said Mike Stevens, our co-founder and CEO. “Because of increasing demand from the growing beer enthusiast community, we aren’t able to fill orders right now. We’re expanding because we’re committed to this city, this state and the craft beer community.”

After both phases of the expansion, the Founders production facility will have the footprint for 900,000 bbl of capacity, which will be achieved incrementally through the addition of more fermenters and updated packaging equipment. We expect to end 2014 having shipped 200,000 bbl of beer and to ship 300,000 bbl in 2015.

We also plan to add 72 jobs over three years, ranging from managerial to operations to sales positions, generated by this expansion.

 

Big Lushious Will Be Released for the Holidays

We plan to introduce Big Lushious, a chocolate raspberry stout, this December to mark the eleventh installment in our Backstage Series. Like all of our Backstage Series beers, Big Lushious will be sold in 750mL bottles, with a suggested retail price of $14.99 per bottle.

big_lushious_bottle_hi_rezBig Lushious is a deep, rich stout that’s packed with flavor: roasted malts, all-natural dark chocolate, a subtle suggestion of burnt coffee grounds and a kiss of tart raspberries. At 7.8% ABV, it’s big, sumptuous and extravagant, but also balanced.

“We thought Big Lushious would make a great release for the holidays,” said Co-Founder and Vice President of Brand & Education Dave Engbers. “It’s a luxurious beer for us. It’s meant for bringing to parties and is perfect for sharing with friends and family after a feast.”

Big Lushious will be released in limited quantities across our distribution footprint beginning on Monday, November 24 (note: updated from Monday, December 1, as previously announced), and will be available at our taproom that same week. This will be our last Backstage Series release in 2014—look for more in 2015.

 

Who’s on the Dissenter Label?

Some of you have asked us the story behind the Dissenter label, and it’s a pretty cool one, so we figured we ought to share it with you all. Here’s the story, as told by our graphic designer, Brett Haberkorn:

The man on the label is my father-in-law, who was the drummer for a band called “Joey Greco and the In Crowd” in the early ’60s in New York City. Coming back from a gig one night, they were in a car accident, and my father-in-law was ejected from the car and broke his leg. The band found a drummer to fill in until his leg healed. At the same time, an upstart band was looking for a drummer and wanted to check out Joey Greco and the in Crowd for a potential drummer to recruit. Instead of seeing my father in-law, they saw the fill-in drummer, whose name was Peter Criscuola, or “Peter Criss”. The upstart band picked up Peter and eventually formed the band KISS. So, if my father-in-law didn’t break his leg, he could have been the drummer for KISS (we like to think). On top of all that, he also fits the Dissenter definition in character and in his stance. His back is turned to you in a defiant gesture, and he doesn’t care what you think. My father-in-law has gone against the norm his whole life and seems to fit the Dissenter character.

joeygrecoandtheincrowd

Founders Dissenter Imperial IPL Label

dissenter_bottle_web

 

Fall Releases

NewFallBeers2014

Fall is around the corner, and it’s a good time for beer. We’ll be releasing the following four beers over the next couple of months, so be on the lookout.

  • Mosaic Promise is our single malt, single hop beer brewed in honor of ArtPrize. It will be released starting on September 13 in Michigan, Wisconsin, greater New York City and greater Chicago. Read more.
  • Breakfast Stout‘s release harks the beginning of Stout Season. An oatmeal stout brewed with coffee and chocolates, it will be released in late September or early October, depending on distributor shipments in your area. Read more.
  • Dark Penance is an Imperial Black IPA and is the newest addition to our portfolio of world-class IPAs. It’s the first beer to be added to our lineup since All Day IPA in spring 2012. It will be available across our footprint starting on October 1. Read more.
  • Harvest Ale is a limited release wet-hopped ale that celebrates the hop harvest. Its release is dependent on when we get our delivery of whole-cone hops into the brewery–it will likely be available sometime in October. Read more.
 

Hop 2 It Untappd Badge

We’re teaming up with Untappd to offer the Hop 2 It badge for the month of August!

Badge Description

Interpretations of IPAs range far and wide—and we’ve interpreted the style in many ways. Our IPAs vary in taste, strength and color, from the crimson of Red’s Rye IPA (draft only right now) to the golden straw of Double Trouble. Try a couple and see which interpretation suits you best.

Founders Hop 2 It Untappd badge

To unlock this badge, check-in to at least two (2) different IPAs from Founders, listed below, during the month of August.

Also, don’t forget that IPA Day is on August 7 this year–it would be a good day to unlock your Hop 2 It badge!

 

Taproom Happenings: Ales for ALS and Grandwich 2014

We’ve brewed a new taproom one-off, the Ales for ALS IPA, which is now on tap. Founders is one of nearly seventy participating breweries, who are all brewing their own unique beer for this campaign. A proprietary hop blend (featuring Citra, Mosaic & some experimental hops) was provided to each participating brewery to use in their creation. Proceeds from sales of these beer go to benefit ALS Research. You’ll find it to be a smooth, golden, easy-drinking IPA. Stop in and try it soon because we didn’t brew all that much and it will only last for a limited time.

Ales for ALS is a national campaign to raise funds and awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a fatal neurodegenerative disorder. Participating brewers brew special beers with a proprietary hop blend, and donate a portion of the sales to the ALS Therapy Development Institute, the world’s leader in ALS research. Built by and for patients living with the disease today, the Cambridge, MA-based drug discovery biotech has one mission: to end ALS.

For more info on ALS, the Ales for ALS campaign, and to get involved, check out alesforals.com.

We’re also participating in GR’s annual community-building sandwich competition, The Grandwich! Here’s the how the Grandwich camp describes the competition (put on by the Neighborhood Business Alliance & Downtown GR):

Grandwich is a fun competition between unique restaurants, delis, cafes, bakeries, etc. located Downtown and in the neighborhood business districts. The goal is to create a sandwich that wins exclusive rights to be called the OFFICIAL 2014 sandwich of Grand Rapids – or – “Grandwich.” As the competition enters its fourth year, we’re planning the highest stakes yet. We will provide the winner with free marketing to proclaim the victory.

 For the competition, businesses dream up a sandwich and submit what they feel is an award-winning entry. The competition will last four weeks and will conclude with a final event at Rosa Parks Circle where we will announce a People’s Choice award along with 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place winners determined by a panel of judges.

 Judging will take place via the following parameters: use of local ingredients, uniqueness, taste & appearance.

*In previous years, we’ve submitted regular deli menu items like the Devil Dancer & the Louis A. Cornelius. This year, we decided to make something special just for the competition. Here’s what we’ve submitted to the Grandwich Competition:

  • a Porchetta (pork-etta) Sandwich (Porchetta is a pork roast w/2 kinds of pork rolled together)
  • we’ll be using pork belly stuffed with bratwurst meat
  • this’ll go on a fresh Sesame Seed Hamburger Bun
  • with Red Cabbage Kapusta (kapusta is essentially polish kraut, slightly thicker and usually with meat bits)
  • Summit Hop-pickled Arugula
  • and a Sweet Tomato Marmalade
  • “It captures almost all flavors in the spectrum.” – Deli Manager Justin Golinski
  • the buns will be made fresh daily by Nantucket Bakery
  • the bratwurst will be made locally by Frank’s Market
  • all other items will be hand-crafted by the wizards in our delicatessen

We’ll be running this Grandwich entry as our July Deli Special (from 7/8-7/31). (The Grandwich competition runs 7/8-7/28)

*It will be available in our deli while supplies last, for $10.25.

For all the info, simply visit: http://downtowngr.org/grandwich/home

FoundersGrandwich

And, as always, we have some great live music lined up for you, so be sure to check out who’s playing! (Our live music schedule has also been added to our mobile app if you’d like to keep up with us that way.)

 

 

Dark Penance Imperial Black IPA Is Our Newest Specialty Release

We announced today that we’ll be releasing Dark Penance, an Imperial Black IPA, as a specialty release this October 2014 with availability through the end of the year. It’s replacing the TBA in our availability calendar that many of you noticed when we published it late in 2013. Dark Penance will be available throughout our distribution footprint both on draft and in 12 oz. bottles with a suggested retail price of $11.99 per 4-pack.

Founders Brewing Co. Dark Penance Imperial Black IPA

Dark Penance is the newest addition to our lineup of world class IPAs, which includes Centennial IPA, Red’s Rye IPA, Double Trouble, Devil Dancer and All Day IPA, a session IPA.

“We don’t just add beers to our lineup to have something new on the shelves,” said Dave Engbers, co-founder and vice president of brand and education at Founders Brewing Co. “Our Backstage Series is for experimentation and keeping things fresh, and we still only put those out a few times a year. Dark Penance, on the other hand, went through many recipe iterations before we were willing to put it up there with the other beers that we release again and again, year after year.”

The recipe for Dark Penance took about a year to develop, time that was mostly spent perfecting the beer’s balance and hop profile. It’s the first new beer to be added to our lineup since All Day IPA, which was released in spring 2012 following three years of development.

Dark Penance starts with a heavy malt foundation of Crystal malt for sweetness and just enough Midnight Wheat to push the color to black. The bitterness is huge (100 IBUs huge), but balanced by malt sweetness and alcohol burn. The hop flavors and aromas range from citrus to floral to pine—most everything that hops can be—thanks to a delicious blend of hand-selected Chinook and Centennial hops. The Imperial Black IPA is 8.9% ABV.

“Black IPAs are becoming more common, but Imperial Black IPAs aren’t, and imperializing things is what we do,” said Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki. “Plus, we thought this beer would fit in well with our specialty lineup alongside Imperial Stout, Curmudgeon Old Ale and Double Trouble.” Dark Penance will be available as the follow up to Double Trouble in our specialty calendar, from roughly October to December, dependent on distributor shipments. It will be released in our taproom on draft and in bottles as of October 2014.

 

Mosaic Promise Brewed to Benefit ArtPrize

We’re excited to announce that we’re going to release Mosaic Promise, an ale brewed with a single malt and a single hop, this September. Proceeds from the sale of this new ale will benefit ArtPrize, the world’s largest art competition that takes place annually in Grand Rapids, Mich. Mosaic Promise will be sold in Michigan, Wisconsin, greater New York City and greater Chicago both on draft and in 12 oz. bottles with a suggested retail price of $9.99 per 6-pack.

Mosaic_Promise

In April 2013 we inked a deal with ArtPrize that made us the official brewery of the competition for the next five years. The premier leadership sponsorship deal included offering our beer at all official ArtPrize events, signage, promotion, merchandise, specialized glassware and other items. It also included permission for us to use the ArtPrize identity marks (logo and graphics) on any co-packaged items, including beer. We plan to release a new beer for each year of our five-year partnership with ArtPrize under the name “Artist Series”. This is year two. Last year’s release was Inspired Artist Black IPA.

“Making a unique beer in honor of ArtPrize has become a fun challenge for our brewers,” said Dave Engbers, our co-founder and vice president of brand and education. “This year’s release just fell into place. Ninkasi—a stained glass ArtPrize submission that showed in our taproom last year—became a permanent part of our taproom when we purchased it last year. We knew right away that it would make a perfect label for Mosaic Promise, a beautifully simple beer that we had been experimenting with for some time.”

Mosaic Promise showcases a single malt—Golden Promise—and a single hop—Mosaic. The traditional barley’s depth of flavor and the versatility of the hops’ bittering, flavor and aroma characteristics are the strong pillars that comprise the structure of this clean, rich, golden beer. We can brew complex beers with the best of them, but we recognize that there’s also beauty in simplicity. The beer clocks in at 5.5% ABV and 50 IBUs.

Proceeds from the sale of Mosaic Promise will support the future programming of the ArtPrize organization. ArtPrize is an international art competition, open to any artist and decided by public vote. Its mission is to promote critical dialogue and collaboration through new, creative ideas among a large and diverse population of people. As an innovator in redefining what beer can be, we believe that experimentation is central to the human experience—whether one experiments with grains and hops or colored glass and light—and that sharing one’s creation with the public is a brave act worth celebrating.

“Founders is an iconic brand producing a sublime range of exquisite beers in our own Grand Rapids,” said Christian Gaines, executive director of ArtPrize. “We’re honored and elated to count Founders as the ArtPrize Official Brewery and to include Mosaic Promise as the latest special release beer—one that’s emblematic of our strong partnership and shared commitment to art, artists and community.”

More than 400,000 people are expected to attend ArtPrize 2014.

We also partnered with ArtPrize to launch ArtPrize on Tap, the newest ArtClub membership perk. From the patios of the Centennial Room, our private second-floor entertainment space, ArtPrize on Tap offers ArtClub members the opportunity to connect year-round and stay on the ArtPrize insider track, while enjoying Founders food and beer. We will premiere Mosaic Promise at the August installment of ArtPrize on Tap. Held on the third Wednesday of every month, ArtPrize on Tap is free for ArtClub members, and friends of ArtPrize and Founders can join for $10. To learn more, go to artprize.org/artclub.

Mosaic Promise will be available for a limited time starting on Sunday, September 14, across our Michigan, Wisconsin, metro NYC and Chicagoland distribution footprint. It will be released in our taproom on draft and in bottles starting on Tuesday, September 16. There will be an event in our taproom featuring the artists and introducing the beer from 4:30-6:30pm that day. One-of-a-kind Mosaic Promise posters will be given away, while supplies last. Mosaic Promise will also be featured at official ArtPrize events.

This year marks the sixth edition of ArtPrize, which will take place Sept. 24–Oct. 12, 2014. Our taproom will be a venue for the sixth year running.

Artist Description

Grand Rapids artists Matt and Elizabeth Kolenda, Adrianne Hollemans and Maria Orr make up Kolenda Art Glass. They submitted the stained glass piece “Ninkasi” as an ArtPrize 2013 entry that showed in the Founders taproom. Ninkasi is the ancient Sumerian goddess of beer, and Kolenda depicted her with traditional mouth-blown antique glass that was both painted and stained in vibrant colors. In their artists’ statement, they said, “Just as new, creative brewers everywhere are challenging the age-old custom of brewing beer, ‘Ninkasi’ puts an exciting spin on the common perception of what stained glass form is and was ‘supposed’ to be.”

The Founders Family fell in love with Ninkasi and purchased the piece. She’s now a permanent installation in our taproom.

 

Founders at the American Homebrewers Association Conference

The Brewers Association has chosen our hometown of Grand Rapids as the location for the 36th Annual National Homebrewers Conference, taking place June 12-14, 2014. Slots are still available if you’re interested in attending!

mashing_michigan_web

 

The conference includes the following:

 

Furthermore, every conference attendee will receive one bottle of a custom Founders beer brewed by our brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki and brewer Laura Houser in collaboration with local homebrewing legend Jeff Carlson. Oak-Aged Rye IPA is brewed with Munich and Crystal malts and a huge percentage of rye malt. It’s bittered and flavored with German Magnum and Perle hops, heavily finished and dry-hopped with Cascade hops hand selected from the Yakima Valley. This 7.2% ABV ale is aged for multiple weeks on American white oak and carries 55 IBUs. Bottles of this beer will only be available to conference attendees. It will not be available anywhere else.

2014_AHA_bottle

Here are a couple of photos of Jeremy, Laura and Jeff brewing this beer on our classic brewhouse:

AHACollabPhotoBlock

We’re also doing a few events in our Centennial Room and beer garden in the days leading up to the conference. Be sure to check out all of the events and sign up for them as many are ticketed and have limited seating!

Still not sure what to expect at the conference? Have a look at last year’s photos, the first-time attendee guide and this video overview of all the beery goodness Grand Rapids has to offer.

Register for the conference here.

 

Dissenter Imperial IPL Is Our Summer Backstage Series Release

dissenter_bottle_webWe plan to introduce Dissenter, an Imperial India Pale Lager (IPL) brewed with a wide variety of tropical, citrus-forward hops, this August to mark the tenth installment in our Backstage Series. Like all of our Backstage Series beers, Dissenter will be sold in 750mL bottles, with a suggested retail price of $11.99 per bottle.

Dissenter is the first lager we’ve brewed since Noble Lager, a beer that hasn’t been in our production cycle for twelve years. Dissenter is our argument in favor of the potential for complex lagers, clocking in at 8.7% ABV and 70 IBUs.

This beer is a departure from our other releases for a couple of reasons: All of the beers in our standard lineup are ales, which are fermented at warm temperatures, whereas lagers are fermented cold. Plus, Dissenter uses a different kind of yeast from other Founders beers. Test batches of the Imperial IPL were brewed using our pilot system and have been on tap in our taproom off and on throughout the past few months. The longer brewing process used for lagers gives this beer an exceptionally clean finish, allowing the clear beauty of the hops to shine.

“With Dissenter, we’re releasing yet another Backstage Series beer that doesn’t fit within standard beer style guidelines,” said Co-Founder and Vice President of Brand & Education Dave Engbers. “And that’s the point. It’s a celebration of the creativity of our brewing team, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with the growing circle of beer enthusiasts.

Dissenter will be released in limited quantities across our distribution footprint beginning on Friday, August 1, and will be available at our taproom that same week. Look for one more Backstage Series releases from us in 2014.

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