We got our first new tank in this morning. Here are some photos (taken by co-owner Dave Engbers) of its delivery.
It just fit in through the doorway:
And the bright tank is now officially in our brewery:
More photos to come!
Check out our new mash/lauter tun! This photo is from the day it was delivered to our production facility.
For those of you who don’t know, a mash/lauter tun is where the malted barley and water are incorporated and the starch converts to fermentable sugars. Our spent grain then goes to a farmer to use as feed for his livestock.
Our expansion is moving along swiftly, so check back for more photos of our new equipment!
We’re proud of the beer that we brew. And part of what makes it so special are the people that brew it, package it, serve it, make food to go with it, etc.
OK, that sounded like a Hallmark card. But really, the people who work here are pretty sweet. Did you know that Jarrod Napierkowski, taproom manager, built all of the tables in our taproom? Or that Mike Dorich, taproom manager, and Nathan Mabie, deli guru, entered their work in ArtPrize this year? We also have the makings of a spa: a resident hairstylist and a massage therapist.
Perhaps the one out-of-work activity that dominates the free time of most of our employees, however, is music. That’s why the FBC All-Stars (an all-Founders-employee supergroup, pictured above) was enlisted to play at Founders Fest this year. Here are some of the local acts that include at least one member of the Founders Family:
Nicholas James Thomasma
Mark Lavengood (“Huggy Bear” moved to Chicago, but he’s still part of the family)
The Total Blam Blams
In fact, Nicholas James Thomasma just announced that he’s releasing a new album, Lone Star in the Northern Sky, on December 1.
Many of these acts play in our taproom (in case you didn’t know, we host live music every Thursday and Saturday) and at other local venues.
Check them out, and let us know what you think in the comments!
We are extremely excited to see a roof beginning to form on our new facility! And, as Mike Stevens commented on our last post, we are scheduled to complete construction on the manufacturing side by December 15. Come cheer these men and women along because the sooner it gets completed, the sooner we can start brewing more beer!
Progress! We have a wall (or at least part of one) in our backyard!
We have chosen the finalists for our Flickr photo contest! You can vote for your favorite by “liking” it in our finalists’ Facebook photo album. Votes will be tallied at 5pm on October 26‚Äîthe photographer whose photo has the most votes will win $50 of Founders gear, and the runner up will win $20 of gear.
Here’s one sample entry:
Mug Club renewals start TOMORROW! Please note:
October 1‚ÄìNovember 30: Current Member Renewals ONLY. $50 sign-up fee.
December 1‚Äì???: Open to anyone and everyone until we reach capacity. $60 sign-up fee.
You MUST be present, in our taproom, with a valid ID, to join the Mug Club.
Our employees and local customers are sacrificing our parking lot in the name of producing more amazing beer!
Yes, that crane and giant fenced-off area represents the first stages of our expansion. We are thrilled that more people are finding out about our beer and demanding it at their local restaurants, bars, and stores‚Äîit‚Äôs happening so much, in fact, that we can‚Äôt make enough beer with our current production facility! That‚Äôs why we decided to expand. By early 2011, we’ll have enough equipment in production to double our brewing capacity and enough space to potentially quadruple our capacity in the future.
We‚Äôll keep you updated with more photos and news as the expansion progresses. Oh, and don‚Äôt worry, our current facility won‚Äôt be affected by the expansion‚Äîwe‚Äôll still be able to brew!
Mike, Jeremy, Jason, and Kyle are back in the brewery today after their trip to Denver for the Great American Beer Festival‚Äîand they brought two silver medals with them!
We are honored that, out of 3,523 beers entered into the competition, two of our very own were selected as winners. Curmudgeon Old Ale won second place in the Old Ale or Strong Ale category and Endurance won second in the Session Beer category.
Endurance Ale was brewed for the first time earlier this year and is currently only available in our taproom. It’s an American IPA Jr. dry-hopped with a combination of Simcoe, Citra, and Amarillo hops.
Click here for the full list of GABF winners. And check out this press release for more information about the competition.
If you have any photos of Founders from GABF, we’d love to see them added to our Flickr pool! You just might win $50 of Founders gear…
Maybe our computers weren’t on fire this morning, but we were experiencing some technical difficulties. Sorry if you had problems accessing our site. We upgraded our server because we’ve had more traffic than we were used to‚Äîso thanks for checking us out! Everything should be in order now. Have a great weekend, and we hope that you’re able to enjoy some craft beer wherever you are.
Joey Basch, one of our taproom managers and our talent buyer (a.k.a. the dude who books all of the bands that play here), writes a “column” for Huey Lewis and the Newsletter‚Äîthe newsletter put together by taproom staffer Francesca Jasinski and stuffed in with our paychecks once a month. We thought y’all might be interested in getting the inside scoop on what goes into booking the bands that play here every Thursday and Saturday, so we decided to post it here. Read it if you want. Don’t read it if you don’t want. You can also find all of the live music listings here.
From September to October‚Ä¶Autumn Ambience, Renewal, Colour and Clarity: an informative introspective into approaching musical offerings
First of all, I hope this finds you all at a pleasant place in the world, either reclined in your living room‚Äôs laziest chair or encapsulated in a state of mind that embodies that comfort, as we approach the time of year when the air crispens, leaves rust and turn to tinder, the sun-drenched days grow scarce, and wooly sweaters and scarves replace bikini bottoms and Bermuda shorts.
On the brighter side of change is a devastatingly incredible autumn entertainment lineup, of which you are about to be enlightened. Enjoy the knowledge.
On Saturday, September 11, we‚Äôve got a pretty sick lineup coming in as we help Bars of Gold celebrate the release of their newest LP being released on Friction Records. BoG features two alumni from legendary post-rock band Bear vs. Shark, who disbanded a few years back, shortly after achieving considerable critical acclaim and industry-wide recognition (the final BvS record peaked in the Billboard Top 20). The sound of Bars of Gold can be most easily described as angsty chamber-pop. Setup is pretty standard: two guitars, bass, drums, keys, but the delivery is frenetic yet catchy. Worth a listen, and certainly entertaining live. The first time I saw them was at the Victor! Fix the Sun CD release show and they totally crushed it. I‚Äôm interested to see what they have in store for the Founders crowd. Also on this bill are BoG labelmates ol‚Äô reliable Chance Jones [a band that is chock-full of Founders employees] and newest-Friction-signees Ghost Heart. Prussia, Detroit‚Äôs hypest dreampop youngsters, last seen on the Founders stage in March will be playing second, after GH. You will NOT want to miss this.
Next up, Thursday, September 16, marks the return of Chicago organ-fueled power-pop trio Oh My God. Legendary Leslie-artist Ig, has toured with anyone and everyone, from Bootsy Collins to Van Morrison. Musically, it comes together as straight-laced pop with strong, strangely-sincere vocals. Newcomers The Press Delete, starring mug club member Joel Boyles, will be the feature act. Originally garnering notoriety from their appearances at open-mic night [every Tuesday in the taproom], these guys have totally been blowing up lately, displaying a uniquely minimalist take on shoegaze. Think My Bloody Valentine meets slow-motion Mars Volta. Traverse City‚Äôs Swiss sisters, Mue Sephei, will open the show, displaying their sincere blend of poppy folk ballads.
On Saturday, September 18, we welcome old standbys and crowd favorites Back Forty, who bring a consistently refreshing take on Midwestern bluegrass. [Check the event page for a video.]
Sunday, September 19: Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra
Thursday, September 23, brings us to the front doorstep of the Prospecto Music Festival and Sonic Experience, the brainchild of Recoil magnate Ben Hunter and a team of local major players, a three-day multi-venue music festival that features over 90 acts and spans 9 venues throughout Grand Rapids, from big rooms like The Intersection to west-side dives like Kuzzin‚Äôs. Prospecto is a new idea for Grand Rapids and falls on the opening weekend of ArtPrize. Tickets are only available as wristbands, and follow typical festival formats: $60 gets you a weekend pass and single-day passes are available for $26. We will NOT be selling tickets or taking cover at the door on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday. Entry will ONLY be allowed with a Prospecto wristband. I know it appears like a strange idea, but there is merit in it, and it is certainly worth a try. Wristbands are available online at www.prospectogr.com (will-call at The Intersection), and passes can be purchased at: Purple East, Vertigo Records, The Intersection, and The Meanwhile.
Our Thursday Prospecto lineup is my most anticipated of the entire festival: our old friends, LA‚Äôs El Ten Eleven, return from a lengthy absence to rock the taproom with their looping, danceable, double-necked wizardry. It‚Äôs so hard to believe that it was over two years ago when they first played here! Joining them is Dosh, a dancey-electronic two-piece from Minnesota, and Baths, an electronic solo artist from San Francisco. It‚Äôll be wicked awesome, without-doubts.
Friday, September 24, marks a rarity on the Founders entertainment calendar‚Ä¶a Friday show! As part of Prospecto, we‚Äôll be hosting Houston‚Äôs experimental-shoegaze artists, Indian Jewelry (who describe their music as: ‚Äúdreaming strong, getting strong, being strong, thinking strong, acting strong, no, scratch that, acting tough‚Äù), Moss Folk (featuring our very own Andrew Shelp), Seth, and local legend Ralston Bowles.
Then on Saturday, September 25, the final day of Prospecto, we host Detroit‚Äôs The Hard Lessons, a female-fronted pop trio, and definitely my sleeper hit of the fest. Julio Gomez of The Wildfire will open the show with an acoustic set and be followed by UTO, and the rumoured final performance is by Detroit funk-rock-jam legends and Founders mainstays, Bump. If you were ever a fan, you won‚Äôt want to miss their possible final Founders performance.
Final Prospecto note: There‚Äôs a lot of great artists performing at Prospecto. It‚Äôs tough to wrap your head around, because this is an entirely new concept for this city. Midwest Fest approached the idea, but unlike Prospecto, allowed for single-venue access. But coupled with the opening weekend of ArtPrize, it should have some steam behind it. For the full lineup and all the info, check out www.prospectogr.com.
Surging on with haste (more info coming in subsequent correspondence):
Sunday, September 26: Discfunktional Sunday with The Boogiman
Thursday, September 30: The swashbuckling sounds of Rootstand
Saturday, October 2: AB! and Coconut Brown, Bangups, DJ Goblin
Other upcoming performances: 10/7: Northern Skies; 10/9: Justin Stover CD Release Party; 10/14: Grupo Akaray; 10/16: Harvest Party; 10/21: Signal Path
All for now. Thank you so so much for reading and informing yourselves. Spread the word!
We’d love thoughts and feedback in the comments! If you’re interested in playing at Founders, please email booking [at] foundersbrewing [dot] com.
We are super stoked to be an ArtPrize venue this year! We just finalized all of the artists who will be using our taproom (both indoors and outdoors) as an exhibit space and thought it would be perfect to share that info with you all here on this blog.
For those of you that don’t know, ArtPrize is an open art contest that spans the city of Grand Rapids, with almost 200 venues opening up their spaces for artists to display their work. Last year’s ArtPrize was a smashing success. This year’s event lasts from September 22 to October 10. For more information, check out the ArtPrize website.
Artists at Founders
- Our very own Joe Sherry will be displaying two of his glass-blown works. One of them will displayed outside (it’s still a surprise) and the other is a chandelier that will hang from the taproom loft ceiling.
- A copper sculpture by Daryl Bruischat will also be hanging in the taproom.
- We will be showing five of Geoffrey Brown‘s abstract photos.
- Lauren Satlowski will be exhibiting a 4′ x 5′ oil painting.
- “Flight of passion”, a 30″ x 60″ acrylic painting by David Chapple will be on display.
- Aaron J. Gaertner wants his work to be a surprise.
- One of our taproom managers, Michael Dorich, will be showing a 6′ x 3′ abstract acrylic painting titled “Blue ocean midnight sky”.
We will also have a painted, playable piano out front. Yes, it will work. Yes, you will be able to just sit down and start playing. These pianos are going to be scattered around the city and we are excited to have been allocated one! Our surprisingly large number of musically gifted employees are already planning on staggering their breaks so that the piano will be played all day.
In other ArtPrize news, be sure to check out the Hillside Neighborhood Party that we are sponsoring on Friday, September 24, from 5‚Äì7 p.m., before heading back to the taproom for day II of Prospecto with Indian Jewelry, Moss Folk, and Seth.
We’re preparing to send one of our production employees and his parents up to Marquette, Michigan, tomorrow for Saturday’s U.P. Fall Beer Festival, sponsored by the Michigan Brewers Guild.
The festival is held in Mattson Lower Harbor Park, right on Lake Superior‚Äîgreat beer and a beautiful setting to kick off fall.
We’ll be pouring Breakfast Stout, Red’s Rye PA, Dry-Hopped Pale Ale, and Cerise.
Check out the complete listing of beers that will be poured here.
John Freyer‚Äîour sales rep in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota‚Äîmade a chutney with our Cerise and a sweet onion jam with our Dirty Bastard, and was kind enough to share the recipes with us. Both were served at the Map Room during Chicago Beer Week; the chutney works well as a dessert when poured over mascarpone cheese.
2 cups dried or frozen pitted cherries
1/2 cup Cerise
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 grated finger of fresh ginger
1/2 cup palm or cane sugar
1/2 cup Granny Smith apple (peeled and chopped)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/8 cup currants
1/4 T curry powder
1/4 T cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a large pan and cook on low heat until sugar melts and liquid reduces, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate.
Dirty Bastard Sweet Onion Jam
1 large sweet vidalia or walla walla onion
1/2 bottle of Dirty Bastard
1/2 cup palm or cane sugar
1/8 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Coat frying pan with olive oil. Chop onions and cook until brown and caramelized. Add all other ingredients and cook down until liquids reduce and sugar melts. About 20 minutes. Refrigerate.
New website, new blog. We figured now was the perfect time to launch the Founders Brewing Company Blog. As we grow and as our beer gets into the hands of more people, we want to be able to share the stories behind what we do with all of you. We live the phrase that‚Äôs on all of our packaging: ‚ÄúBrewed for us. Enjoyed by everyone.‚Äù And we hope that our personality comes across in each and every one of the beers that you drink. But if you want a little bit more, this is the place to find it.
In this blog, we plan on writing about what‚Äôs going on in the brewery (Why are there giant bars of chocolate everywhere? Are the brewers having a Willy Wonka party? Oh, it‚Äôs because we‚Äôre brewing Breakfast Stout.); commentary on craft beer trends and news; beer festivals, tastings, dinners, and other events; live music and taproom happenings (brought to you by Joey, who runs our Taproom Facebook page); the story behind causes we support (such as Grand Rapids Whitewater); fun anecdotes about the Founders Family; updates on our current expansion progress; and, hopefully, we‚Äôll be able to share some of the great Founders stories, photos, and more that we get from you, the people who drink our beer! A staff favorite is this Breakfast Stout birthday cake that was posted on our Flickr page:
Please subscribe to our RSS feed (click the button in the left column, above), or just check back often, and join us on this crazy ride. This blog is 100% for you. Because we love you. So let us know what you want from it in the comments!