Founders Brewing Company - Grand Rapids Michigan

Founders.jpgIf beer is my religion, then Founders is my church. If you live in Michigan - a state with sixty-seven craft breweries  - finding the right brewery to call home, might seem a bit daunting. Ask any true believer how they know they have found the holy grail of churches, and the answer will almost always be the same. They will go on to relate some mind bending experience that just simply could not have occurred by accident. I am no exception. My first visit to Founders could only be described as a spiritual experience.

As I headed out of work, the sun - still high in the sky - had burnt off all but a handful of feathery clouds. It was four-thirty on Friday, September, Seventh, Two-Thousand Seven. I was heading over to the Georgetown library to pick up a book relating the history of my church at the time, a millenarian eschatological cult who had predicted the end of the world more times than I've brewed beer. On my return I decided to stop off at Founders for a brew.

Founders was still at their former location in the old Brass Works building on Monroe. As I circled around looking for parking and the precise location of the brewery, I was chatting with my buddy about his faith in his current religion. I still had no idea the full spiritual experience that was awaiting.

Sitting down at the far end of the bar, I had a nice view of the stainless steel brewery sitting behind a glass wall. A list of high gravity ales in bright colors bedecked the chalkboard behind the bar. Taps lined the wall, a stained glass Founders sign hung above them. Before I could take it all in the bartender was there asking if I knew what I wanted. The service was great, little did I know at the time, great service is, and was, the standard at Founders. While I had enjoyed many of Founders products in the bottle before, I had yet to sample their pub fare. Founders sandwiches are all made fresh, of the freshest ingredients, all the time. Quite honestly Founders has the best pub food that I know of in the state. 

As I sat sampling my Kentucky Breakfast Stout - now known as KBS - I met a home brewer and software developer who is now a great friend of mine. After a few hours, and a few incredible ales at Founders, we stopped off at Cambridge House.

Well there it is, my spiritual experience. Well I guess you just had to be there.

Founders now resides at 235 Grandville Avenue Southwest, in Grand Rapids. Their ales continue to impress me as much as their great service. If you like barrel aged stouts their Canadian Breakfast Stout is awesome, KBS is a classic, and their Centennial IPA is about as it gets when it comes to IPA's. As anyone who has gone to their Breakfast Stout Breakfast can attest, their breakfast stout, well it goes pretty good with any meal, including breakfast. After three, if you order food at the window, you are likely to be greeted by Chance Jones (Joshua Burge) or one of the other great characters behind the window. Watch out for the gnomes hanging around in the rafters, I think they hang out up there just to catch the smell of fresh malt as it wafts past the tap room, like ambrosia in the wind. 


The Brewmaster


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This page contains a single entry by Brewmaster published on June 27, 2010 10:52 AM.

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