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.
Cheers to enjoying the joys of summer year-round!
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:
Here’s a recap of last year’s Fest:
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.”
See other Founders Presents videos here:
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 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 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!
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,
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:
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!
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.
You thought having Rubaeus available year-round was good? How about having it available year-round and in a 9-pack can package? We’re here to tell you that dreams really can come true.
Beginning in April 2016, the affectionately named “Ruby Cube” will be available across our distribution footprint, with taproom availability beginning on March 18. Each “Ruby Cube” will contain 9-12oz cans of Rubaeus and will have a suggested retail price of $17.99.
You’ve been showing Rubaeus so much love on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram that it was a no-brainer to make it part of our year-round lineup. We anticipate the momentum will only continue to build as Rubaeus will be more widely available now that it is included in our year-round lineup as a bottled and canned offering. Just think of all the wonderful places you can bring these cans! The beach! A picnic! The top of a mountain! The bottom of a mountain! Your bed! The list goes on and on. Be sure to show us where you take those beautiful cans.
Optimizing the flavor of fresh raspberries, Rubaeus is Founders’ way of celebrating the joys of summer year-round. This stunning berry-red masterpiece is the perfect blend of sweet, tart and refreshing. No question about it, this beer is 100% Founders.
The “Ruby Cube” is our fourth can package to hit shelves, preceded by All Day IPA, Centennial IPA and Dirty Bastard (“The Dirty Dozen”).
For us Michiganders, February and its freezing temps call for the warmth of some of our favorite rich and comforting dishes – and the best beer to wash those down with? None other than our Dirty Bastard Scotch ale.
Our Education Team‘s finest, Mike Willcox, shares his go-to Dirty Bastard comfort food pairings:
My love affair with Dirty Bastard started when my wife (a Certified Cicerone herself) convinced me to order it next to a pork belly dish at one of our favorite restaurants. The pairing kicked my ass (in the best way possible) and made me fall beard over butt for Dirty Bastard. The Scotch ale’s robust malts swim in your nose, skip over your palate and bathe you in notes of caramelized sugars, banana, toffee, and sweet grains.
I love pairing a Dirty Bastard with a rich dish and watch it sing like a fat lady trying to get something over with. This beer loves to mix it up with fat and salt and has the body to cleanse your palate between bites of richer foods. Set a glass of this bastard next to dishes with pork belly or bacon – maybe some corned beef – anything with some fat to it. Stews with heavy stock and a lot of root vegetables would be gorgeous, but definitely stay away from thinner soups. Dirty Bastard would take a thin broth soup and tromp it all to hell. In fact, screw soup and stew, throw this naughty boy next to some chili. Better yet, consider using it as a base to make your own chili and then drink it next to said chili like we do in our taproom/deli! The possibilities are staggering!
Aged gouda cheese would pair beautifully with Dirty Bastard. Look for gouda so old it’s crystalizing and starting to bite back a little or a young gouda that still has some creaminess and wants to borrow three dollars for some baseball cards. Those are still a thing right? Also you know what else is awesome with gouda? Chili.
Damn it, now I just want chili.
Our upcoming beer dinner, March 3 at 6:30pm seeks to explore the many variations in flavor and character that fall under the heading of “dark” beers.
Armed with his trusty smoker and his team of misfits, our head chef, Justin Golinski, will be preparing a five-course menu designed to showcase these beers, which include Project PAM, Porter, Imperial Stout and Backwoods Bastard.
Porter paired with smoked oysters? Ok! A loaded smoked potato next to our Workingman’s Rye Stout? Sounds ruggedly delicious. Panzanella and Project PAM? Perfection! Fish and Chips with Imperial Stout? Sure thing! Bananas foster and Backwoods Bastard? B-B-Beautiful!
Each of our dinners has been a unique take on the beer dinner paradigm and this one looks to be extra special. Make sure to reserve your seat at the table here.
Our Education Department often hosts traditional beer pairing dinners where we explore how certain flavors enhance and interact with our line-up of beers. These are a great introduction to the world of beer pairing, but we recently challenged ourselves to come up with a more advanced way of encouraging beer lovers to expand their palate.
At the end of the day, every palate is different and acknowledging that opens up a whole new world of pairing possibilities. Discussing this raised the question: why can’t a pairing session be all about exploring your own unique palate? Instead of just encouraging people to eat and drink what we think is delicious, why don’t we push people to tell US what is delicious? Through this line of thinking we designed the Founders Palate Exploration Series.
The idea is fairly simple: each session is conducted with a partner and focuses on a specific food “genre.” We’ve hosted past events with our friends at The Cheese Lady (cheese for days) as well as Robinette’s Apple Haus (think donuts, fudge, candied apples and cookies).
Up next? A cured meats event, hosted in partnership with Apertivo on February 25 at 6pm. Join us by purchasing tickets here.
This right here is the recipe for one of the most delicious things we’ve ever put into our mouths. Seriously. This recipe, designed by culinary genius Justin G., is a funky twist on the classic beer-batter fish and chips. What do we mean by funky? Well, did you ever think you’d see salmon and the bold Imperial Stout appearing harmoniously in the same recipe? Neither did we, but we’ve since seen the light.
Alright, you Untappd checker-inners, we’ve got a new badge for you to unlock!
Between February 15 and March 15, earn your Feel The Taste badge whenever you check-in one of our three draft-only nitro beers, including Nitro Rubaeus, Nitro Pale Ale and Nitro Oatmeal Stout. These nitrogen-infused beers are a creamier spin on the classics – just like a soft belly rub for your tastebuds. Find them in your area using the beer locator on our mobile app or website.
Let us know how our nitros beers tango with your tonsils by tagging your Twitter and Instagram posts with #FeeltheTaste. We’ll be rewarding our favorites!
Over the years we’ve made a name for ourselves by brewing some of the most complex, high-gravity, dark beers available. Every spring, we celebrate these beers at our famous Black Party, where we share some of the dark beers we’ve been experimenting with all year. Black Party is where some of our most sought-after beers – including Project PAM – first made their debut.
This year, we’re giving ten winners the opportunity to win a trip to Black Party! The weekend adventure includes a private tasting (straight from the barrel), meet-and-greet with our co-founders and brewing team, brewery tour, exclusive gear and, of course, the opportunity to try all the beers that will be on tap at the party. Winners will also receive up to $500 reimbursement of any travel expenses plus two nights lodging in downtown Grand Rapids.
Sound like a good time to you? To enter, head to foundersbrewing.com/blackparty and submit your favorite Founders memory or experience. Full details, along with rules and regulations, are also listed on the Black Party site.
In honor of our velvety nitro beers, we’ve compiled a Spotify playlist of the smooth and creamy jamz that will help make your Valentine’s weekend one to remember. Turn it on – then get turned on.
From Barry White to Keith Sweat, may we present your ultimate Valentine’s Day playlist:
For a direct link to this playlist, click here. To follow Founders on Spotify, click here.