A big thank you to everyone who came out to to Founders Fest 2012 on Saturday, June 23! We think the party was a great success, and those of us in the Founders Family enjoyed sharing it with all of you.
Words can only say so much videos can say more. Please check out this recap of the event, shot by Kevin Cole, one of our sound engineers, with music by Afro Zuma (they performed at the fest, and you’ll see them throughout the video).
Our next installation in our Backstage Series, Frangelic Mountain Brown, will be released beginning on Monday, July 2.
To reiterate our previous announcement, while there will not be an official release party for Frangelic Mountain Brown at our taproom in Grand Rapids, the beer will be available on draft in the taproom beginning Monday, July 2. The focus of bottle sales will be in Founders’ distribution footprint.
In our taproom, we will be allowing one growler fill per customer once the beer goes on tap when we open at 11am.
We’re excited to share this beer with all of you. The use of hazelnut coffees in the brewing process gives Frangelic Mountain Brown distinct flavor and aromatics, with sweet and nutty notes beautifully balanced. We think you’ll enjoy it. We do.
We announced earlier today that Frangelic Mountain Brown would be the next release in our 750mL Backstage Series, with availability beginning in July.
Part of what makes Founders Backstage Series so much fun is the period of speculation before the next release is announced. But the purpose of the series is to bring some of our most sought-after beers, which have been available primarily in the taproom and at a few select events, to a much larger audience. Frangelic Mountain Brown will be the fourth release in the series, joining Blushing Monk and Canadian Breakfast Stout from 2011 and Curmudgeon’s Better Half, which was released in February of this year.
Frangelic Mountain Brown is the quintessential taproom “one-off” beer: Founders’ brewers created the Mountain Brown series for their taproom in Grand Rapids in 2007. Frangelic Mountain Brown is the 16th iteration in the series of popular brown ales—and it likely won’t be the last. The singular characteristic of this beer comes from the use of hazelnut coffees in the brewing process. The beer has distinct aromatics with sweet and nutty flavors beautifully balanced. Founders is known for its beers made with coffee (i.e., the Breakfast Stout series), but this is both the brewery’s first brown ale and its first beer brewed with hazelnut coffees to be bottled. It clocks in at 9% ABV.
“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.”
While there will not be an official release party for Frangelic Mountain Brown at the brewery’s taproom in Grand Rapids, the beer will be available on draft in the taproom beginning Monday, July 2. The focus of bottle sales will be in Founders’ distribution footprint.
The next beer to be released in the series later this year will be a celebration of the brewery’s fifteenth anniversary, though the beer’s style is yet-to-be revealed. The release party for this beer in November will be Founders’ first to require advance tickets. The KBS release party in spring of 2013 is expected to be an even larger festival-type event–be on the lookout for more detail to come.
We have released 190 one-of-a-kind Founders letterpress posters, available for purchase in both our on-site and online stores for $75 each.
There are parallels between letterpress and the brewing processes: letterpress is becoming a lost art—similar to how the art of brewing was almost lost until its recent rebirth—and both require a great sense of design, a high degree of craftsmanship and strong attention to detail.
Each of these Founders posters was hand struck, one at a time, by a team of three operators/artists, and has been printed on 100% Cotton, 140# Archival Legion Revere, standard white paper. The press used was a Vandercook 219AB Proof Press (1950s era) with an adjustable bed; it was originally owned by the Detroit Society of Arts and is still housed in downtown Detroit. The ink is a Van Son Letterpress ink, Rubber Based plus. Owosso Graphics in Owosso, Michigan, made the plate. Due to the complexity of the project, the printing plate was created using an acidic etching onto a solid magnesium plate. From there, this magnesium plate was mounted onto a 1″ thick wood base and prepped for striking. Here’s a video (with original music by Founders favorites Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys!) that demonstrates the process:
Handmade letterpress prints are highly desired collectibles and have the added benefit of looking great in a home bar. Founders’ lead designer and artist on this project, John Cymbal of Driven Solutions Inc., shares some decorating tips: “These prints deserved to be framed carefully in either a thick wooden black frame or an ornate vintage silver frame. Yours should be hung on the wall where it can be viewed with a refrigerator full of Founders within arms reach, because simply reading this poster will make you thirsty.”
**Get yours here!
We need your vintage FBC stuff!
If you have any Founders Brewing Co. treasures from the past 15 years that you are willing to donate, we will do our best to put it on display in our taproom for others to enjoy! Help us “dress up” the brewery with any news articles, pictures, posters, glassware (we’d especially love some old Mug Club mugs), t-shirts, stickers, buttons, hats, flags, tin-tackers–anything that captures the history of Founders.
We make great beer, but we don’t claim to have been anything close to great archivists since starting the brewery in 1997. We’d really appreciate you digging up any of the things that remind you of your favorite Founders experiences over the past 15 years. We’re going to make something kickass with all of the things we receive–and the more cool stuff we get, the more kickass it will be!
If you have items to donate, please contact Christina McDonald at christinam [at] foundersbrewing [dot] com or (616) 325-2694 by June 1.
On April 12, we announced that we’ve partnered with like-minded California brewer, Green Flash Brewing Co., to produce a first-time, limited release called Linchpin White IPA. Our Brewmaster, Jeremy Kosmicki, partnered with Chuck Silva of Green Flash last month in San Diego to develop the beer. It will debut during the Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego and move on to limited release beginning May 2012. Both of our breweries have been brewing up several of the world’s top flavor-forward ales, so we decided it could be fun to come together to collaborate on an uncommon and emerging beer style.
“Founders makes world-class beer,” says Green Flash Brewing Co.’s Co-founder and President, Mike Hinkley. “It’s not available in San Diego, so I always look to taste some when I am on the road. Our Sales Chief, Jim Kenny presented the idea, and I was immediately all for it. Then Chuck and Jeremy settled on White IPA. I can’t wait to tap these kegs and share this innovative new release with the national community of craft beer fans.”
Each brewery is known to push boundaries in creating risky, new, flavor-forward styles that appeal to the true beer aficionado. Because Founders is not currently available in San Diego, the collaboration will allow the California craft beer lover a chance to experience our beer in their native state. Green Flash will release Linchpin White IPA on draft during May’s Craft Brewers Conference with events to take place as follows:
- Tuesday, May 1: Tapping of First Keg – Green Flash Tasting Room & Beer Garden 3–9pm
- Friday, May 4: Hamilton’s & Regal Beagle Release Parties Begin at 5pm
- Each bar will feature Linchpin White IPA
- Other draft selections from Green Flash and Founders will also be on tap for the evening
- Representatives from Founders and Green Flash will be in attendance
Beer Details: Linchpin White IPA
“There’s a lot going on in this beer with two yeast strains, copious amounts of wheat malt, and a big focus on ‘C’ hops to deliver a citrus explosion,” explains Green Flash Brewmaster, Chuck Silva. “In fact we lined up more than a dozen hop varieties in the brewery to select three hops with the biggest citrus character to dry hop the beer.
“This golden beer pours with beautiful, frothy white beer foam that lasts due to bottle conditioning. Gently rousing the yeast that settles in the bottle will result in a fuller texture and a more cloudy white appearance. The citrus aromas that jump from the glass are largely tangerine up front with other types of citrus notes that mingle with the Belgian yeast esters. Hop flavors of bitter orange zest dominate the brew and linger to the finish with a nice play of American and Belgian yeast combo.”
A beer with so many components can be held together with a “Linchpin”. The official “Linchpin” of this beer is the skillful collaboration between the two breweries to create a unique hop-forward brew. Linchpins are symbolic: two simple shapes that combine to strengthen a bond amongst many different pieces.
Linchpin White IPA will be released during the May 2012 Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego and will then be available in limited supply via bottle-conditioned 22oz bottles and by the keg for special release events nationally in May and June 2012.
About Green Flash Brewing Co.
Green Flash Brewing Co. is located in San Diego, California, and was founded in 2002 by Mike and Lisa Hinkley. Brewmaster, Chuck Silva, leads brewing operations. Green Flash is an award-winning brewer of fine, hand-crafted ales, and specializes in brewing assertive and distinctive beers, such as the nationally acclaimed West Coast IPA: an award-winning beer whose wide acceptance has helped define a category. Green Flash brews ten styles of beer regularly, on draught and in bottles as well as a growing lineup of seasonal and special offerings, including several barrel-aged beers, throughout the year. Please visit the Green Flash website for more information
To those of you that are part of the Instagram community: we’ve joined it, too! Follow us under the username @foundersbrewing. If you aren’t on Instagram, it’s a free app that you can download on your smartphone (it was originally created for the iPhone, but it just recently became available on the Android).
We posted photos of our production facility this morning and will continue to post pictures from our taproom, festivals, beer dinners, the brewery, and more. Here are a couple of photos we’ve taken so far:
We hope to see you (and your photos) on Instagram!
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!