Two months ago, we launched a first-of-its-kind contest asking you, our beloved fans, to submit your favorite Founders Brewing Co. memory for the chance to win a trip to the Black Party, the annual celebration of our darkest beers. After meticulously sifting through nearly 2,000 entries, we somehow managed to name ten winners. Not an easy task considering the incredibly moving depictions of how our beer/taproom/employees have been a part of our supporter’s memorable moments throughout the years. Alas, we could only name ten winners and ten winners it was.
From a woman’s love letter to her partner describing their love as a “well-balanced stout,” to an inventor who celebrated the first successful run of his product (a 3-D whiteboard) with a celebratory stop in the taproom, to a 91-year-old father securing his son two bottles of KBS on release day, the winner’s stories ran the gamut of emotions. And the tears they brought to our eyes were proof of that.
This past Friday, all ten winners (and their guests) arrived in town for what would be a weekend of tours, meeting much of our team (including our Co-Founders Mike and Dave), drinking beer, eating awesome food, drinking beer, enjoying our 15th Annual Black Party, drinking some bourbon (shhh!) and finally, drinking even more beer.
It’s been a big year for our raspberry ale, Rubaeus! First, we added it to our year-round lineup and then we introduced the “Ruby Cube,” a 9-pack of cans ready to hit the beach, trail or backyard. To celebrate this berry-red masterpiece, we’ve partnered with Untappd to offer a new badge to anyone who checks-in Rubaeus between April 14 and May 14, 2016. Check out the beer finder online or in our mobile app to find it near you.
Two of our favorite things in the whole world, beer and music, are coming together for the event of the summer. Without further ado, we are happy to announce the lineup for Founders Fest 2016, a Celebration of Beer and Music:
Hi there! Dave Engbers here to share some exciting news with my fellow Michiganders: I’m very happy to introduce Palm Reader, a pale ale made with Michigan-grown hops. Proceeds from the sale of this beer are going to support Grand Rapids Whitewater, a organization focused on restoring and putting the rapids back in the Grand River. It’s a cause that I’ve been passionate about for years and I’m glad we can support it doing what we do best: brewing kickass beer. You’ll find the beer on Michigan shelves beginning in early May.
We talk a lot about legacy here and Mike and I have become progressively more focused on supporting things that we really care about; things that we believe will make our community a better place years from now. We’ve been supporters of Grand Rapids Whitewater and their vision of restoring the natural beauty and recreational opportunities to the Grand River since 2010. It started with a conversation over beer, as most things do around here, and as the Grand Rapids Whitewater team shared their vision, we became fully invested in their cause. Having the opportunity to take that partnership to another level with the Palm Reader release is something we are proud of considering how important this cause is to both of us and to the continued legacy of the company we built.
So, a bit about that beer… a tribute to our beautiful state, Palm Reader is made with Michigan-grown
A self-professed “funkateer,” Serita Crowley of Grand Rapids’ Serita’s Black Rose, brings a raucous mix of neo-soul, funk, 70s-rock, country and R&B to our taproom stage. In this third installment of the Founders Presents series, check out Serita’s killer performance in the taproom and find out more about what she means when she says, “I pick my music like I pick my food.”
Remember that TBA on the specialty lineup of our 2016 availability calendar!? Well, the time has come to announce what will be filling its place: Sumatra Mountain Brown! Considering how much we love putting coffee in beer, we are pretty pumped about this one. Please join us in welcoming this imperial brown ale to the family:
Sumatra Mountain Brown gets its body from a team of malts, including Caramel malt for sweetness, flaked barley for dense foam, a bit of Chocolate malt for its deep color and Aromatic and Munich malts to add even more depth. German and Perle hops bring balance to the malty sweetness by introducing a touch of bitterness. The addition of rich Sumatra coffee takes this perfectly balanced brown ale to a decadent level. Sumatra Mountain Brown comes in at a hefty 9% ABV.
Fresh off his Imperial Stout Fish & Chips fame, our head chef, Mr. Justin Golinski, is back at it and ready to share another culinary delight. This time, we’re going full-blown Midwestern on you with All Day IPA Cheese Soup.
A quick word from Justin:
“Few things scream “The Midwest” more than a bowl of super cheesy cheese soup. My take on the classic involves an entire can of All Day IPA, which adds a slight bitterness and tang to the otherwise one-dimensional richness. Finish it off with some crumbled potato chips and you have just out-Midwested this Midwest staple.”
All Day IPA Cheese Soup:
5 tablespoons butter
2 medium sized carrots, finely chopped
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
A few years after our Co-Founders, Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers, left their steady jobs to pursue their dream of opening a brewery, they found themselves facing bankruptcy. They had written business plans, taken out giant loans and worked hard to create the kind of beers they thought people wanted. The problem: those beers were good, but they were unremarkable.
With the threat of a failure looming, they risked it all on brewing a beer with big attitude, bigger flavor and a name that lived up to both: Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale.
As Mike often says, there’s something indefinable about our culture here at Founders and it’s all rooted in the story of Dirty Bastard. It’s when we stopped listening to our investors or our self-doubt. It’s when we stopped brewing what we thought people wanted and started brewing the kind of beers that inspired us to get into brewing in the first place. It’s when we decided to live life with no regrets.
When we say “Brewed For Us,” this is what we’re talking about.
Here to tell us about his latest adventures in the beer and food pairing world, our Education Team’s finest, Mike Willcox:
Our latest Backstage Series beer, Mango Magnifico, is a unique palate extravaganza all by itself. It enters with a smooth, mellow mango sweetness that caresses your mouth into relaxed submission and finishes with a habanero warmth that is more of a sizzle than a burn. Brews this complex can be the most fun to pair with food.
We are so proud to partner with the Barry-Roubaix Killer Gravel Road Race, the largest gravel road race in the world, held right around the corner from the brewery in scenic Barry County, Michigan. The race offers three different length marked courses (22-mile, 36-mile, 62-mile) to accommodate every level of cyclist and awards over $32,000 in cash and prizes to the top finishers. Interested in registering? Go here.
We had 6 free entries to the Barry-Roubaix to give away and, to make it interesting, we asked you all to share a story about the best bicycling ride you’ve ever been on in order to enter to win. The heartfelt, funny and moving stories (and photos) came flooding in and we found ourselves trying not to cry yet again (after the Bring Me to Black Party Contest entries, we thought we’d got it all out but apparently not). Six entries rose to the surface and we think you are going to love them as much as we did. Thanks to all who shared their stories with us and congratulations to the winners!
Joshua Duggan Grand Rapids, MI
There have been so many great rides, but the one most fresh in my head was last July. I had flown to San Francisco for work, but I had Saturday and Sunday for a biking adventure. I rented a touring bike at a tiny shop along a wharf. The day before I had headed north across the Golden Gate Bridge and camped out in a hammock at a state park. I ended up riding on Bolinas Ridge Road, which was less of a road and more of a rock field up and down never ending rolling hills through temperate rainforest drenched by fog and riddled with mud puddles.
As if the natural beauty of their county wasn’t enough to celebrate, Santa Clarans have yet another perk: we are pleased to announce that we have partnered with DBI Beverage San Jose to bring our beer to Santa Clara County, California! Beer will start hitting shelves the week of March 28. Our April releases, KBS and Mosaic Promise, will also be heading that way!
To locate our beer once it hits your market, use our incredibly helpful beer finder. Download our mobile app for even greater accessibility!
For information on launch parties, upcoming events and other sweet news, stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Since launching our Bring Me to Black Party contest, we received over 2,000 love stories, tales of friendship and adventure, thrilling recounts of beer-seeking expeditions and more than a few tearjerkers. Half of our story is how we design and brew the beers you love to drink and this contest gave us the chance to hear the other half: how our beer has become a part of some of your most beloved memories.
Throughout the week, we’ll be sharing stories from the ten winners that will be joining us at Black Party (April 15-17). They will also enjoy private tastings, tours and the opportunity to meet our team. It’s going to be one hell of a weekend!
We’ll be announcing the winning stories throughout this week – keep an eye on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to see the rest of them:
Courtlan Gordon Kalamazoo, MI
My dad, being a huge fan of Founders, took my roommate and I to Grand Rapids to experience his favorite place. He has made us forever fans of Founders. Our video will explain our trip. I would love to win this trip for him!
Reid Moss Berlin, MI
For years, my daughters have known I am fond of great beers. Time and again they have had to listen to me rant about how fortunate we are to live in Michigan, which I consider is undeniably one of the greatest beer states in this nation.