Imperial Stout Pairing Ideas

Smooth like silk but complex and rich in body, our Imperial Stout is a powerhouse on its own – but, served with the right foods, it’s undeniable. From a rare porterhouse steak to stinky cheese, Mike from our education team has a few pairing ideas for you to try.

Mike’s thoughts on the perfect foods to pair with Imperial Stout:

Imperial Stout is one of those beers that makes me glad to be alive. It’s unapologetically in-your-face and it has a robustness that is undeniably Founders. It’s beautiful by itself in a snifter, perhaps enjoyed by the fire with a loved one – but served alongside the right dish…ooh wee! It’s an experience.

Imperial Stout is a study in balancing a variety of complex malts. The malt bill brings many flavors, each skipping lazily over your palate. It’s hard to know where to begin. I pick up everything from warm grain to stone fruit, chocolate, leather and even tobacco.


These bold flavors can impose some limitations on the food you can pair this beer with – but, don’t fret, the pairings I’ve chosen are going to be downright sexy.

Case in point… Upon my first sip I’m immediately envisioning sitting in a rough-hewn smoky room. On the table in front of me, a massive rare porterhouse steak, a marble ashtray with a cigar and a snifter of Imperial Stout. I can’t think of a better pairing, period. Like I said, sexy.

Almost any beef dish would pair nicely but a juicy steak is my top choice. An appropriately seasoned pork chop or leg of lamb would also be phenomenal.

Let’s talk cheese. I’ll come right out and say it: look for the stinky cheeses! If has a bit of a smell to it, or oozes – it’s perfect to pair with Imperial Stout. Camembert, brie and anything that says “triple cream” are my picks. Avoid anything sharp, as it will wrestle aggressively with the beer (and will surely lose).

As for desserts, the dark malts to hold up nicely next to anything rich and chocolate. I don’t mean cake type rich – I mean flowerless cake type rich, tort type rich, truffle type rich. Usually-eaten-with-a-gallon-of-milk type rich. If you want to step away from chocolate, try it with a cobbler hot out of the oven drenched with French vanilla ice cream.

Here in our taproom, I often pair the deli’s decadent Cheesy Does It sandwich with Imperial Stout. I choose to use creamy provologne and smoked gouda as they are a great compliment to a stout. My favorite, though? The Hot Italian Beef. It’s simple, hearty and delicious. Sometimes you find a pairing that allows both the dish and the beer to share the spotlight and this is definitely one of those pairings. You really can’t go wrong.

There’s always something comforting about drinking a gorgeous beer while gazing on the tanks that once housed it. It’s nice to tip a cheers through the window to the brewers who put their heart and soul into producing that pint of wonder, so I encourage you to visit our taproom at least once.

At the end of the day, we each have a unique palate. There is nothing I like more than learning about a new pairing idea I hadn’t thought of. Let us know when you taste something that knocks your socks off! Share your pairings with us on Twitter or Instagram by tagging #brewedforus.

Much love.


Vote for Us for Best Brewpub/Beer Label/Beer Scene in the U.S.!

USA Today is looking to name the Best Brewpub in the U.S. and, darnit, we’d like to be on the receiving end of that award! The award will go to the best establishment that brews their own beers and serves them alongside a stellar menu.

If you’ve ever looked around our taproom while enjoying a beer, deli sandwich or live show and thought to yourself “This place is magical!” then we’re hoping you’ll cast your vote here.

Planning a trip to the brewery? Check out our deli menu, current draft list, upcoming live shows and tour/class schedule.





Our Breakfast Stout label is also in the running for Best Beer Label! You can vote here.


And, if that wasn’t enough, Grand Rapids is in the running for Best Beer Scene! We are sittin’ pretty at #1 but we need you all to keep us there!


You can vote every day until February, 29!


Backstage Series Release: Mango Magnifico is Coming Back!

We are happy to introduce our first Backstage Series beer of 2016: Mango Magnifico con Calor! The release of Mango Magnifico will mark the 15th installment in our popular Backstage Series and it will be the second time Mango Magnifico has graced the stage, the first time being in 2013.


Mango Magnifico is a high-gravity fruit beer brewed with mango and a touch of habaneros to add just the right amount of heat. The delicate flavors imparted by the sweet richness of the mango are punctuated perfectly by the subtle heat of the habaneros, proving that fruit beers do not have to be one-note. Each 750mL bottle of this 10% ABV ale is both sophisticated and refreshing, making it the perfect beer to share… or to keep all to yourself. Mango Magnifico will have a suggested retail price of $10.99 and will be available across our distribution footprint beginning March 1, 2016.

When we first released Mango Magnifico back in 2013, it proved to be somewhat of an enigma to our fans. A high-gravity mango beer brewed with habaneros? What the heck? It took some time to catch fire (pun intended), but once it did, the beer enthusiast community was very vocal about it returning. So, we listened and are so thrilled to bring it back!

Mango Magnifico is part of a long lineage of Founders’ fruit beers, including Rubaeus, Cerise, Blushing Monk and Big Lushious.

Our Backstage Series is made up of boundary-pushing, experimental beers. We affectionately call it “the brewers’ playground,” where intent is to take the diehard Founders fan experience to a wider audience—though all of the beers are released in limited batches. Since its introduction in the summer of 2011, our Backstage Series beers have quickly become some of the most sought-after releases in the industry.

Founders Presents: Wake the Sun

Wake the Sun crafted their sound not for the masses or to fit into any genre or category, but for themselves. In the second installment of our Founders Presents series, catch some of their live performance in the Founders Taproom and find out more about their musical influences. To watch previous videos and to stay up-to-date with our taproom music video series, visit the playlist here: Founders Presents

We’re Expanding!

We’re excited to announce that we’re expanding…again! We’ve been expanding our current 235 Grandville location for years, but we’ve grown to fill a full city block and have no more space to grow into. This time, we’re adding an additional building, located just a mile south of our current taproom and brewing facility.

So, what’s happening at this new facility? Well, a little bit of everything. The building, located at 900 Hynes St. SW near downtown Grand Rapids, is intended to fulfill our growing warehousing and distribution needs. It will also be home to our second brewery, which will focus exclusively on the barrel-aged, experimental, high-gravity, and specialty beers that we’ve become known for. This means many of the limited, speciality, and Backstage Series beers will be brewed and packaged in this facility. We’re beyond excited to have additional space to design and brew the beers that are the foundation of who we are.

As our Co-Founder, Mike Stevens, puts it:
“This is the foundation of our company and what we are known for. It represents the very essence of Founders and it feels great to know that the very roots of our success will always have a primary focus.”

The new facility will be production-only and will not have a taproom. We’ll begin operations at the new facility on January 29, 2016 and anticipate to start production this summer.



Of course, with the addition of this new brewery comes the opportunity to bring new employees into the Founders Family. You can find more information on job openings here.

Cheers to continuing to grow our operation within the beautiful city we love so much!



Azacca IPA Food Pairings

Named for the Haitian god of agriculture, our Azacca IPA boasts intense, tropical fruit aroma and a flavor profile that includes citrus, mango and orchard fruits. This beer was designed to give the unique and experimental Azacca hop the opportunity to shine – and in turn, it can do the same to foods it is paired with.

Mike from our education team has put together a few ideas for foods that would make a perfect partner to our latest seasonal, Azacca IPA.


Here’s Mike’s take on things:

IPAs are fun to pair with because they present a bit of a challenge. They rarely work in perfect harmony with anything. Sometimes they serve a supporting role, working to amplify flavors in bold foods. Other times they are undeniably the star of the show as they have the power to overshadow simple dishes.

Our latest seasonal beer, Azacca IPA, is a little different, though. This is a super fun beer to pair with. Azacca IPA features a pleasing aroma of mango, citrus, and even some orchard fruit. At Founders, its our style to make sure that the malt bill is as much a part of the experience as the hops – even in super hop-forward beers like Azacca IPA. The unique malt bill is designed specifically to allow single-hope beers like this one to shine. Because of this emphasis on malt, our IPAs can tend to play outside of typical IPA pairing suggestions.

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Brewed for Film: A Film Series – Spring 2016

We are happy to announce the spring run of Brewed for Film: A Film Series.


The series will now be showing at:

This ten-week series, for those ages 21 and older, is on Wednesdays at 8pm and tickets are just $2 per movie. Multiple Founders beers will be on tap at the in-theatre cash bar. Each film will have an official beer pairing for connoisseurs seeking the full experience.

Dirty Bastard Sauerkraut Recipe

Our brewery and taproom is nestled in an area of downtown Grand Rapids just a few steps from a large Polish neighborhood where the kielbasa is magical and sauerkraut is king. In a nod to our hometown, our head chef, Justin, has prepared a kielbasa and Dirty Bastard sauerkraut recipe for you guys to try out at home.

From Justin:
“So, this one requires a little bit of legwork. The first step is finding a reputable source for kielbasa. Here in Grand Rapids, we have many authentic meat counters to choose from; my personal favorite is Frank’s. Fritz runs the place and he’s a real sweetheart. If you aren’t local, head to your nearest trusty butcher or at least splurge on something decent at your grocery store. This recipe is a real banger – enjoy!”


Kielbasa with Dirty Bastard Sauerkraut 

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1lb smoked kielbasa-1 pound (sliced to bite-size)

  • 2lbs rinsed sauerkraut

  • 1 large julienned sweet yellow onion

  • 1 stick of butter

  • 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

  • 1 Dirty Bastard-12 oz. bottle (find it locally using our beer finder tool)

  • Fresh ground black pepper (to taste)

Cooking Instructions:

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Chocolate Porter Tart Recipe

Just in time for the holidays, our head chef, Justin, is sharing one of his favorite dessert recipes, a velvety chocolate tart cooked with our Porter. Like the beer, it’s dark, rich and sexy – and the perfect addition to your holiday table.

From Justin:
“I know this time of year can be stressful.  And for some, the kitchen can be the most intimidating room of the house.  Let’s change all that.  This recipe is super easy, and forgiving (we’re talking chocolate here, people).  Take your time, reacquaint yourself with your kitchen, chill out and have a beer.  You deserve to be happy!”


Chocolate Founders Porter Tart

Ingredients you’ll need:

For the crust:

  • 1 cup crushed graham crackers
  • 1 tbls brown sugar
  • 4 tbls melted butter

For the filling:

  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup Founders Porter
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

For the Porter whipped cream:

 Cooking instructions:

Read More

Michiganders: Our Baby Came Home

Apparently, he needed a few months to “figure out some stuff” and “find out who he really is.” Either way, we’re just happy our boy is home and back where he belongs: on the Breakfast Stout label.

While he was away, he left a note inviting those who missed him to call and let him know just how much they were pining for him. 1,800+ voicemails later (some touching, some a little odd), he’s feelin’ the love and happy to be back on the iconic label. Listen to a few of the messages that were left for him:

Spot the baby on shelves here in Michigan? Share a photo with us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Thanks to our friends at the MLCC for helping us bring the lil’ guy home!

2016 Availability Calendar!

Please join us in welcoming our 2016 availability calendar to the world:


There are some exciting changes introduced in this one, such as:

  • Rubaeus is now a year-round offering!
  • Azacca IPA has taken the place of Black Rye as our first seasonal offering of 2016.
  • Mosaic Promise also joins our seasonal line-up.
  • reDANKulous will be available in 4-packs from July-August as it is now part of the specialty series!
  • Breakfast Stout has transitioned from a seasonal offering to a specialty. Congratulations, Breakfast Stout!
  • We now offer three year-round offerings in our nitro draft series: Nitro Pale Ale, Nitro Rubaeus and Nitro Oatmeal Stout.
  • Along with our 750mL Backstage releases, we will have a new seasonal and a new specialty to announce. Stay tuned!

Now go forth and plan the rest of your year!



Announcing Southern California Distribution!

We are thrilled to announce that with the help of Reyes Beverage Group and Pacific Beverage Company, we will be distributing in Southern California as of January 1, thereby securing our presence in the entire state! Southern Californians can expect to find Founders year-round and seasonal beers in bottles, cans (as applicable) and kegs in retailers throughout the area, with select limited release beers also available after the launch.


“Southern California is home to some phenomenal brewers who have cultivated one of the most passionate beer enthusiast regions in the United States,” said Co-Founder and President Mike Stevens.  “We’re confident that the Reyes Beverage Group and Pacific Beverage Group will be a strong and dedicated partner for the Founders brand and we’re excited to introduce our entire portfolio of products to a new audience.”

The following distributors will represent Founders in their respective markets:

  • Harbor Distributing: East LA and Orange counties
  • Crest Beverage: San Diego county
  • Gate City Beverage Distributors: San Bernardino and Riverside counties
  • Unique Craft Solutions: West LA and downtown LA
  • Allied Beverages-Sylmar: LA
  • Pacific Beverage Company: Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo

Stay tuned to Founders website and Twitter handle @foundersbrewing for launch event information. Fans in California can visit for information on launch events and more.

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