Reason #4398 being a brewer is a sweet gig: hop testing. To ensure that we’re always using the highest quality ingredients in our recipes, we test different ingredients from time to time. Recently, a few of our brewers tested some potential new hops and we happened to have a camera on hand. Check it out:
We’re expanding our mug club and will be accepting new members beginning when our taproom doors open, at 11am, on Saturday, March 24.
Thanks to careful planning, ingenuity, and a little elbow grease, we were able to create more shelf space behind the bar in the taproom. More space = more mugs = more mug club members!
Here’s a few of the perks of being a Mug Club Member at Founders:
- You get your own personalized mug, etched with a name (or whatever text you choose) and mug number.
- The mug has a handle.
- You get to take the mug home at the end of the year.
- You get $1 off beers all the time, and $2 off on Wednesdays, Mug Club Day.
- You get $2 off growler fills.
- You get in at a discounted price to select Founders events (Founders Fest, Harvest Party, Black Party, etc).
- You get to be part of the coolest club in the world! (According to us. We’re biased. But this is our blog.)
Wanna be a member? Here’s what you do and how it works:
- On Saturday, March 24, at 11am, new memberships will officially go on sale.
- You must be 21 to purchase a Mug Club membership.
- You must be present (no phone or internet orders) and be in possession of a valid ID.
- Cost is $60.
- Memberships last for the duration of the calendar year. (It is solely a membership for the rest of 2012.)
- You cannot buy a membership as a gift.
- Your benefits begin as soon as the transaction is processed.
- Upon purchase, you will be issued a temporary mug ID card with your mug number on it. Your personalized mug will arrive shortly thereafter.
- Mugs are non-transferrable.
- You will have to opportunity to renew your membership in the fall for the 2013 Mug Club.
We wanted to reach back out to everyone about this past weekend’s KBS release event. We first want to thank those of you who took the time to give us valuable constructive criticism; we’ve spent the better part of the week sorting through each and every one of your emailed suggestions. The passion, both positive and negative, in your well-thought-out communications is a testament to how lucky we are to be in the beer community.
We are making a dramatic improvement on organization, efficiency, and communication plans for our future releases so that everyone involved can enjoy the true spirit of the experience. It would be misleading to say that everyone will get an allocation of KBS next year, but we can assure you that we are producing approximately three times the volume for the 2013 release. However, with the demand for this beer, reduced allocations will still be in place at next year’s event.
One overwhelming piece of advice that we received was to go to a pre-sale ticketed lottery system. We have a plan to implement such a system in a way that will benefit both event attendees and a charity that the brewery believes in. The entire day will be reworked to ensure that access to KBS, in bottles and on tap, will be clearly communicated, in order to better accommodate more beer enthusiasts. We’re excited to share these details when we announce our next release.
In looking back at last weekend, we find success in the lessons we’ve learned. We’re confident that our future release events will be a blast to those that come out to visit the brewery. Our ultimate goal is to make some of the country’s best beers, and much of the fun lies in sharing it with the extended Founders Family, which is made up of beer enthusiasts like you.
Thanks for all of your support; we are humbled and grateful for all of the advice received over the past week.
Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers
Founders Brewing Co.
Early this morning we made the decision, right or wrong, to limit the purchase of Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) bottles to 1/2 case per person rather than the full case that we have done in the past and that we had communicated to our consumers.
First of all, we want to thank everyone for their support, their loyalty, and their appreciation for good craft beer–if nobody cared about KBS, we wouldn’t be sending out this communication because there would be no issue. The turnout for our release today was a testament to the dedication of the beer enthusiasts and to how far our industry has come over the years.
When we saw how many people had come from across the country to buy KBS, we were taken by surprise. We knew we couldn’t make everyone happy: with over 1000 people in line and only 315 cases to go around, the decision was made to try to get KBS to as many dedicated beer enthusiasts as possible so that the majority of those in line didn’t leave empty handed (though some still did). We cut our individual allocation in half; 634 people bought KBS and we ran out before the last 362 people got to the front of the line.
There is no way for us to predict what the response will be to releases like this. Last year, we were able to take care of the majority of those that waited in line, and we increased the number of cases for the release this year as much as we could. Unfortunately, because this beer is aged for about a year in bourbon barrels in the caves beneath Grand Rapids, we brewed it about a year ago–when we were still limited to the production capacity of a 30 bbl brewhouse. Next year’s release will be about three times the size, because we were able to brew it on our new 85 bbl brewhouse just recently. We understand that this will still, most likely, not get supply up enough to match demand for this product, but we see it as an improvement.
Our vision for our release parties has been to get the core beer enthusiasts to our brewery for a fun time, to foster new friendships and new stories to tell. We’ve always wanted it to be more about the experience than the beer that folks leave with, and we’re sorry if that experience today was tarnished for anyone because of the decision that we made early this morning.
We ask any of you that want to express your feelings about how our KBS bottle release was run to email us. The only way for a growing company like us to learn from events like this is for us to hear directly from the people that attended. We appreciate any constructive criticism that you’re able to send our way. Please send your email to info [at] foundersbrewing [dot] com with ATTN: KBS RELEASE PARTY in the subject line. We will collect these emails and will use them to re-evaluate the process through which we distribute KBS in the future.
Thanks again for all of your support and understanding.
–Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers, co-founders
As you may have heard if you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, our beer will be released in Iowa beginning on Monday, March 19. We’re excited about entering the Hawkeye State! We have a network of nine distributors that we’ll be using to cover the entire state, from Des Moines to Sioux City to Decorah to Keokuk.
Also, we’ve received many questions so far about KBS from Iowans: KBS will not be available in Iowa this year, because we had already shipped all of the KBS that had been packaged before we began shipments to Iowa. The one exception to this is the release party that we are having at Reds Alehouse in North Liberty on March 20, beginning at 4pm, where a 1/6 bbl (a small keg, also known as a torpedo keg or a log) of KBS will be tapped.
Thanks to Lauren Janicki for sharing this story and recipe (and these photos) with us!
These started as a Guinness Chocolate Cupcake recipe my friend passed along. It was a great idea but the cake itself still needed something.
I tossed around the idea of trying it with better beer, and the recipe got shelved until the urge to bake hit—at the same time as the desire to avoid going out in the Michigan winter for ingredients. While searching the pantry, the coveted last bottle of Founders Porter appeared before my eyes, and inspiration hit. The complex, chocolatey flavor of the Porter was exactly what the cake wanted.
Reviewed by my father as “the best chocolate cake in the world” (he may be biased), it was demolished in no time. [see photos below, from before it was demolished]
It recently appeared again in cupcake form for more great reviews at Valentine’s Day parties:
Here’s the recipe, slightly adapted from the original:
1 (12-ounce) bottle Founders Porter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey’s)
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter 24 muffin tins.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the Porter, milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the sour cream.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, and baking soda. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet Porter mixture.
Divide the batter among the muffin tins (I got about 30 out of one recipe).
Bake 20-25 minutes, until risen, and set in the middle (check with a toothpick, it should come out dry) but still soft and tender. Cool before removing from the tins.
**This also works as a 9″ layer cake. Just bake it a bit longer and use the toothpick test to gauge baking time.
The original recipe includes an espresso frosting which is perhaps a bit on the sugary side for the rich, slightly less sweet cupcakes. I highly recommend pairing them with your favorite semi-sweet chocolate frosting or ganache for the best dark, rich, sexy beer cupcake.
Check out this quick video with some behind-the-scenes peeks at our production facility, beautiful shots of beer being poured in our taproom, and a bit of brewery history from our co-founders. Our beer is what it is because of the people that work here: hear it straight from their lips.
Founders Brewing: The Story from Founders Brewing Co. on Vimeo.
We are honored and humbled to have been ranked the second best brewery in the world, two years in a row, and to have our KBS rated the fourth best beer in the world, both by RateBeer.com.
Thanks to all of you for supporting us in doing what we love every day and for allowing us to share it with you.
We had an extra-large crew lending a helping hand on the bottling line today because we were running something special: 750mL bottles of Curmudgeon’s Better Half, the next beer in our Backstage Series, to be released on Monday, February 13! (See this blog post from last month for more information.)
Here are some pictures of the newest addition to our Backstage lineup (and the happy Founders Family working hard)!
Thanks to the folks at Pure Michigan for featuring us in their first “Why Michigan?” video of their series! Check out the interview they did with co-founder Dave Engbers:
Check out the first addition to our lineup in six years:
Grand Rapids, Michigan, January 6, 2012—Founders Brewing Co.’s Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing, Dave Engbers, announced today that All Day IPA would be the next addition to the brewery’s year-round lineup, with availability limited to Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, and the greater Chicago area beginning on February 6, 2012.
All Day IPA is a session ale that has the traditional qualities of an India Pale Ale with significantly lower alcohol. At 4.7% ABV, the beer is highly drinkable, but maintains the intense tropical aromatics and complex flavors consistent with Founders’ portfolio.
This beer was in development for nearly three years before the brewery perfected it. Then, the All Day IPA recipe won the silver medal at the 2010 Great American Beer Festival. Due to capacity constraints and multiple expansions, Founders Brewing Company now feels they are prepared to launch their first year-round product since 2006. Limited distribution is due to the soft hop harvest. “We will never compromise a recipe in order to increase sales,” explains Engbers.
“It’s the beer that almost wasn’t,” says Co-Founder, President & CEO Mike Stevens. “It’s tough to brew and gave us more than one problem throughout its development. But then we realized that this is the beer we’d all been waiting for.”
Engbers adds, “We pride ourselves on only putting beers in bottles that we would pick out on the shelves ourselves—and we’re picky beer drinkers…it would be just wrong not to be bottle All Day IPA.”
The last beer that Founders added to its year-round six-pack and draft lineup was Red’s Rye PA in 2006.
Founders Brewing Company opened their doors in 1997 with the vision of creating some of the most unique craft beer in the world. Today, Founders has a loyal following, with several beers lauded nationally and internationally as award winners in their respective categories. They are currently rated the second highest brewery in the world by ratebeer.com.
Founders Brewing Company, 235 Grandville Avenue SW in downtown Grand Rapids, is a proud member of the Michigan Brewers Guild and the Brewers Association.
Thanks to Jason (Twitter handle = @headyhopzhead) and his wife for submitting this recipe for mocha coffee cake that, as Elysia said, “was sinfully delicious…Fabulous cake that pairs well with some of my husband’s favorite beers!”
1 package (18-1/4 ounces) chocolate cake mix
1-3/4 cups sour cream
1/2 cup coffee beer [1/2 cup = 4 fl. oz, so 1/3 of a bottle of Breakfast Stout or KBS…you’ll want to measure the CBS out as it will be hard to estimate with a 750mL bottle] OR coffee liquor
1/4 cup canola oil
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 package (10 to 12 ounces) white baking chips
1/3 cup butter, cubed
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1 teaspoon rum extract
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, sour cream, eggs, coffee beer (or liquor), and oil; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips. Transfer to three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans.
Bake at 350° for 24-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
In a microwave, melt the white baking chips, butter and remaining chocolate chips; stir until smooth. Stir in coffee granules and extract. Cool to room temperature.
In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup cream; let stand for 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir into chocolate mixture. In a large bowl, beat the remaining 1-1/4 cups cream until soft peaks form. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture; beat until stiff peaks form.
For whipped cream, in a small bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until stiff peaks form.
Place bottom cake layer on a serving plate; top with half of the chocolate mixture.
Repeat layers. Top with the remaining cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake with whipped cream. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
Yield = 16 servings
We’re just loving getting recipes in from those of you that have been submitting! Please feel free to email me any recipes of dishes that you made using our beer, and it just may appear on our blog (attaching pictures will help your cause): sarah [at] foundersbrewing [dot] com. Cheers!
If you’re planning on visiting us over the holidays, to fill up a growler, grab a pint with friends, or otherwise, please be sure to note our holiday hours:
Christmas Eve Day
Noon to 5pm
Deli: Window Service Only
New Year’s Day
3pm to 12am
**Regular hours on all other days.
And we’ll be having a special New Year’s Eve show with the Crane Wives and special guest Paper Thick Walls.
Thanks to phil dokas for uploading this photo to our Flickr pool!
Grand Rapids, Michigan, December 14, 2011 — Founders Brewing Co.’s Co-Founder and Vice President of Marketing, Dave Engbers, announced today that Curmudgeon’s Better Half would be the next release in the brewery’s 750mL Backstage Series, with availability beginning on February 13, 2012, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
There has been a great deal of anticipation and speculation on the upcoming Backstage release because of the success of the first two large bottle format releases: Blushing Monk and Canadian Breakfast Stout earlier in 2011. The purpose of the series is to bring some of Founders’ most sought after beers, which had previously been available primarily at the brewery taproom or at a few select events, to a much larger audience.
“It’s been a lot of fun to watch the beer enthusiasts speculate,” explains Founders’ President, Mike Stevens. “We really try to keep people guessing, but at the end of the day our focus has always been on making beers that over-deliver.”
Curmudgeon’s Better Half is a re-branding of the beer formerly known as Kaiser’s Curmudgeon, which has only been served at Founders’ taproom and in extremely limited draft distribution. Curmudgeon is an old ale brewed with molasses and aged on oak; it becomes Better Half after aging—for 254 days—in bourbon barrels that have more recently been aging Michigan maple syrup. As a result, Curmudgeon’s Better Half is a bit sweeter than her miserly counterpart. Appropriately, the beer label depicts her holding a pitcher of syrup for the Curmudgeon’s breakfast, and is released at the perfect time of year for you to buy one for the Better Half in your life.
“The goal of the Backstage Series is to allow those beer enthusiasts who don’t have the ability to make it to our taproom an opportunity to experience some of the beers that, historically, have been limited to our taproom and a handful of high exposure events,” Engbers said. “Although these beers are not brewed in large volume, it is our intention to distribute them to all of our markets.”
The company is not revealing any additional releases in the series, but Engbers said it would consist of many of the “popular one-offs and possible big experiments” that have been offered in the taproom over the years and have become favorites among patrons and brewery staff.
The company expects to release two additional products in the Backstage Series later in 2012.
Our Twitter friend, Kevin of @kzoobrew, passed along this recipe for pumpkin cheesecake brownies that he made with our Breakfast Stout, and we simply had to share. Pictures to come!
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup Founders Breakfast Stout
5 oz Bittersweet Chocolate (60% cacao preferred)
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder (Dutch Chocolate preferred)
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Pumpkin Cheesecake topping:
8 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup pumpkin
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp cinnamon (roasted cinnamon if possible)
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp clove
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.
Add cream cheese and sugar to mixing bowl, and beat with hand mixer until creamy. Add pumpkin, egg yolk and spice to cream cheese mixture, and blend until thoroughly incorporated. Adjust spice flavor to taste. Refrigerate mixture until brownie batter is complete.
Add 1/2 of butter and 1/2 cup of Founders Breakfast Stout to sauce pan. Heat over medium flame until mixture starts to bubble. Once mixture starts to bubble, remove from heat and stir in 5oz of chocolate.
Add 2 egg, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup dark brown sugar to mixing bowl. Beat in mixture for 2-3 minutes or until mixture is evenly incorporate and creamy.
Sift in 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup cocoa and 1/4 tsp salt. Add 1 tsp of vanilla and blend until evenly incorporated. Stir in chocolate and beer mixture, blend until evenly incorporated.
Pour mixture into an 8×8 greased pan. Carefully top brownie batter with the pumpkin cheesecake mixture. Brownie batter and cheesecake mixtures can be swirled using a knife.
Bake for 40-50 minutes at 350 degrees or until tooth pick can be inserted and comes out clean. The pumpkin adds a considerable amount of moisture to the cheesecake topping; be careful not to over cook the brownies. Moist cheesecake topping will set with refrigeration.
We are always accepting recipe suggestions, especially if they come with pictures! Feel free to send any recipe that you’ve made using our beer (or that pairs perfectly with one of our beers) to sarah [at] foundersbrewing [dot] com.
Our new kegging line began operating on Monday, November 21, just in time for us to give thanks for it on Thanksgiving!
Here are a few pictures of the new line in action:
Check out this press release sent last week by the Brewers Association; a victory for homebrewers!
Dear AHA, Brewers Association and Support Your Local Brewery Members,
Thanks to all of the calls and emails from supporters, House Bill 4061 has been passed by both the Michigan House (103 yeas, 4 nays) and Senate (38 yeas, 0 nays) and was signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder on November 10. The bill was supported by Michigan homebrewers and the AHA, and it allows homebrewers to serve homebrew at meetings and events held at Michigan breweries, bars and restaurants.
Until now, whenever a Michigan homebrew club met at a licensed establishment (microbrewery, brewpub or other establishment with a license to sell alcoholic beverages) for a club meeting, a homebrewing demonstration or a competition, they put their host’s license at risk.
With the passage of HB 4061 these same hosts can now legally invite homebrew clubs and their members to participate in these activities. To ensure it is legal, a club needs written permission from the licensed establishment for their meeting or event.
Currently no “approved form” exists (guidance has been requested). For now, a letter that follows the intent of the bill must include:
- The date and time of the event
- The participating club
- The location of the event
- That the host acknowledges that it is not in control of unregulated beverages at its establishment (i.e. the club, not the host business, will be serving the homebrew), and agrees to assume liability under section 801(3) for the event.
Many thanks go to bill sponsor Representative Doug Geiss, who is also a homebrewer, and leading bill champion, AHA Governing Committee Chair Chris P. Frey of Saline, Mich.
Thanks for your support of Michigan homebrewers!
The release was signed by Charlie Papazian, President of the Brewers Association, and Gary Glass, Director of the American Homebrewers Association.
Calling all current Mug Club Members and all those interested in becoming a Mug Club Member:
We are in the “current member renewal” phase, now through the end of November. If you are a current member, you can guarantee your place in next year’s club & renew for $50 each (note: we will add $5 to your fee if you request a mug image in place of mug name for your customized mug etching), as long as you do so prior to December 1, 2011.
Beginning December 1, sign-ups will be open to all, until capacity is reached. Enrollment during this time period is $60 each (again, add $5 for mug image in place of mug name), regardless if you are a current or a new member.
Founders Brewing Co. and Epic Planks Announce Collaborative Ski and Snowboard Line
Grand Rapids, Michigan, November 2, 2011—Founders Brewing Co. and Epic Planks announced the release of their collaborative skis and snowboards today.
“Founders and Epic Planks have so much in common,” says James Barber, one of the owners of Epic Planks. “We’re both about enjoying life and being more than just a couch decoration.”
“We really respect what these guys are doing,” adds Founders Brewing Co. President and CEO, Mike Stevens. “We only use the best ingredients in our brewery, because we know that’s what’s going to make the best beer, and Epic Planks has the same philosophy with the materials they use to make their boards and skis. A quality product takes priority over profitability and efficiency for both of our businesses.”
Founders has been committed to supporting innovative and unique active lifestyle initiatives for years. They have sponsored a local bike team for years; donated $20,000 in 2010 to jump start the efforts of Grand Rapids Whitewater, a local nonprofit looking to restore the Grand River to its natural state; and helped kicked off the inaugural Grand Rapids Urban Adventure Races held earlier this year. They saw this as an opportunity to support winter sports nationwide.
“The partnership just made sense,” says Founders Vice President of Marketing and co-founder, Dave Engbers.
The snowboard in the new Founders line comes in the Stash Park and Stash AMP models and incorporates artwork from Founders’ winter seasonal Imperial IPA, Double Trouble ($425 retail for both boards, including tax). The skis come in either Epic Planks’ first model and flagship, the Crop Duster, or the Vaporizer, and are designed based on Founders’ newest year-round beer, All Day IPA, which will be released in February 2012 ($745 retail for Crop Duster, $690 retail for Vaporizer; both include tax).
The first round of pre-orders must be turned in by November 15 for delivery in January 2012. Orders will be accepted at the Founders company store and their online gear site. Other stores may carry the skis in the future—so be on the lookout for further announcements. Those who are in the greater Grand Rapids area are invited to the taproom on Tuesday, January 3, 2012, at 6pm, to pick up their skis and/or boards, snag some giveaways, and enjoy a one-of-a-kind, yet-to-be-announced, winter-sports-themed Founders beer on tap for a limited time only.
Founders Brewing Company opened their doors in 1997 with the vision of creating some of the most unique craft beer in the world. Today, Founders has a loyal following with several beers lauded as winners of national and international awards in their respective categories. In 2009, they were ranked the second fastest growing brewery in the United States, and RateBeer.com rated them 2011’s second best brewery in the world.
Founded in 2009, Epic Planks focuses on innovation, feedback, and progress in order to craft premium handmade skis and snowboards. Guides at a number of Cat Skiing and Heli Skiing operations test their products on a regular basis because Epic maintains that the perfect product development platform is to put their skis and snowboards through the paces on the biggest mountains, every day of the season, by very good riders. They put out products designed for durability, performance, visual appeal, and affordability.
Much love to our friends at Epic Planks for helping make this happen!
After an intense interviewing process, Grand Rapids Whitewater has chosen an engineering firm to come up with plans for returning the Grand River back to its natural state: River Restoration. The firm began surveying the Grand River last week, according to this article by Howard Meyerson in the Grand Rapids Press.
Here’s an excerpt:
GRWW wants to restore about a mile of river from the low-head dams downtown upstream to the head of the historical rapids coursed through the downtown area.
River Restoration was contracted to start the surveying process. The company eventually will develop a concept. If the concept gains community approval, then engineering, construction and additional fund-raising would follow.
Carey said community support is crucial on projects of this sort. He saw some important things during his stay in Grand Rapids.
“Thursday was a great steelhead day,” said Carey at a gathering of supporters held at Founders Brewing Co. “We saw that steelheaders were not just taking fish off the dam and that they had insight about where the fish were and when we mapped the bottom, we found they were hanging out on nice gravel beds. That’s important to know because the river is so straight and uniform.”
Read the full article for more information about River Restoration’s next steps and our involvement with GRWW.
If you visit our taproom, you can support GRWW’s efforts by adding $1 to your tab (as a straight donation), donating $1 when you refill a growler, or when you buy our custom GRWW growlers ($1 of your purchase goes directly to GRWW). Ask your server or bartender about it next time you grab a pint!
Here are some photos of the folks from River Restoration surveying the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids.