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 our head chef/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.
Without further ado, here’s Justin with the recipe:
“Time to finally fire up your FryDaddy if you’ve got one! And I’m talking about the appliance, not the guy that always brings you fries when you’re sad. No FryDaddy? No problem! A large stockpot works just fine and you are more likely to have one sitting around in the ol’ kitchen. I love using salmon for this recipe, which is weird and different, I know, but I urge you to try it. If you prefer a milder fish, I’d suggest cod, mahi mahi or tilapia. Enjoy!”
Imperial Stout Fish & Chips
Ingredients you’ll need:
- (2) 5oz salmon filets
- 2 3/4 cups seasoned flour
- (1) 12oz bottle of Founders Imperial Stout
- 4oz kettle-cooked potato chips (crushed)
- 2 Idaho russet potatoes
- vegetable oil for frying
- tartar sauce – recipe below!
- accouterments of your choice: we suggest malt vinegar and a side of coleslaw. Y’know, the classics.
Fish Cooking Instructions (get your fries started before working on the fish):
- In a large stockpot, heat your oil to 350 degrees F.
- Arrange three containers accordingly:
- First: 1 cup of seasoned flour
- Second: Imperial Stout batter (full bottle of beer + 1 3/4 cups of flour)
- Third: crushed potato chips
- Pat your salmon filets dry and cut them into 4 equal pieces.
- Dredge each piece of salmon through the seasoned flour, then beer batter and, lastly, the potato chips. Make sure they’re covered evenly.
- Drop the battered salmon filets into the heated fry oil until they float and are golden brown in color. Remove using a slotted spoon or other utensil that is a safe form of deep-dry retrieval.
- Place fish upon paper towels to catch excess oil.
French Fry Cooking Instructions:
- Cut your potatoes into your favorite fry shape, put them into a pot of water and bring them to a boil. Cook them just long enough to soften slightly. Drain and set them to the side.
- Drop your potato pieces into heated fry oil. Allow them to cook until they float and are golden brown in color. Easy now – don’t burn yourself!
- Serve alongside your beer battered fish and coleslaw.
Tartar Sauce Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup mayonaise
- 1/4 cup chopped dill pickles (we prefer McClure’s)
- 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/8 cup packed brown sugar
Tartar Sauce Cooking Instructions:
- Throw all those ingredients in a bowl and serve alongside your fish and chips! Easy, right?
See other recipes we’ve previously shared:
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.
Skip the chocolate and roses this year and get your hop head some new gear from our online store. Check out a few of our favorite Valentine’s Day gift ideas (models not included):
Hop Head Beanie
Men’s Flannel Shirt
Michiganders! Kansans! Minnesotans! We are happy to announce several new areas of expanded U.S. distribution! All of the following markets can anticipate seeing our beer on shelves sometime in late March.
In Michigan, we have partnered with Four Seasons Beer Distributing to bring our beer to an additional three Upper Peninsula counties in the greater Iron Mountain territory.
We have expanded our Minnesota reach as well, partnering with Artisan Beer Company to bring our beer to an additional seven counties; an area expanding from Duluth to Grand Rapids up to International Falls.
In Kansas, we have partnered with Central States Beverage of Kansas with the intention of expanding our reach into two eastern Kansas counties servicing the greater Lawrence and Ottawa area.
Residents of these fine counties will begin to see our beer on shelves sometime in late March. To locate our beer once it hits your market, use our incredibly helpful beer finder! Download our mobile app for even greater accessibility to locating our beer… you won’t regret it.
We are pumped to announce the third annual KBS Week, in honor of the release of Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) this year! KBS Week will be taking place from Monday, March 7 through Saturday, March 12 with the taproom KBS release party capping off the week on March 12 from 11am-2am. KBS will be released across the rest of our distribution footprint beginning on April 1, 2016.
KBS Week is one of our favorite events of the year because we get to share the excitement surrounding this juggernaut of a beer with our devoted West Michigan community. 15 Founders-supporting bars and restaurants in and around Grand Rapids will receive a keg of KBS and will tap them at various times throughout the week, making KBS more accessible than ever.
Tickets for bottle sales of KBS will go on sale on Saturday, February 13 through Eventbrite. They sell out fast and are limited, but hopefully the ability to get KBS on draft and as close to the source as possible will alleviate some of the pain of possibly not getting KBS in bottles. There really is something to be said for enjoying it right out of the tap surrounded by people who love it just as much as you do.
Please keep in mind that this is a limited release. While we try to spread the love as much as possible, demand continues to surpass supply.
Please see below for a comprehensive list of relevant questions and answers. See you there!
When are KBS bottle sale tickets available for purchase?
Saturday, February 13 at 11am EST.
Where can I purchase tickets?
All tickets are sold via Eventbrite. You can purchase them here.
How many tickets can I buy?
1 ticket per person, regardless of day. There are 5 days available but you can only purchase 1 ticket total.
How quickly will tickets sell out?
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.
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!
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.
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 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!
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