Tag Archives: Founders Brewing

Beer Explorers program teams breweries for barrel-aged comparison

Last year’s Beer Explorers program at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. (Supplied)

WKTV Staff


The Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Beer Explorers program will team with Founders Brewing Company and Brewery Vivant for a “learn while you taste” class where participants will sample barrel-aged beers on Thursday, Feb. 16.


The program includes discussion the topics of what makes barrel-aged beers unique, including sampling barrel-aged beers along with a non barrel-aged beer to taste the differences, according to supplied material. Representatives from Founders Brewing Company and Brewery Vivant will lead this tasting and answer any questions participants have on beers. Brewery Vivant will give participants an even more unique experience by offering a sour barrel-aged beer to taste.


The class begins at 6 p.m. Admission to each class includes general admission to the museum as well as three beer samples. A cash bar will also be available. Tickets are $8 for museum members and $18 for non-members. Participants must be 21 and older.


Tickets and information available by visiting grpm.org.


Public Museum’s Beer Explorers pairs beer, doughnuts this month

The Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Beer Explorers program will pair Founders beer with Robinette’s doughnuts. (Supplied)

WKTV Staff


Beer and doughnuts … what’s not to like?


The Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Beer Explorers program continues on Thursday, Jan. 12, with a event pairing Founders beer with Robinette’s doughnuts, allowing participants to explore their sense of taste and what combinations appeal to individual palates.


The series of winter programs are held in partnership with Founders Brewing Company one Thursday evening each month through the mid-winter.


The third and final installment of Beer Explorers with Founders Brewing Company will take place on Feb. 16, and focusing on barrel aging beers. Participants will learn about the process of barrel aging and how different factors affect the taste and quality of the beer.


Classes begin at 6 p.m. and will be held on the 1st floor of the museum. Admission to each class includes general admission to the museum as well as three beer samples. A cash bar will also be available. Tickets to Beer Explorers is $8 for museum members and $18 for non-members. Participants must be 21 and older.


For more information and ticket, visit grpm.org


Beer City’s airport to host new Founders flavored brewhouse

An architectural rendering of Prospect Hill Brewhouse, opening at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in summer 2017. (Supplied)

WKTV staff


Travelers out of Gerald R. Ford International Airport will be able to get a final taste of Beer City, U.S.A., in 2017 as Prospect Hill Brewhouse, a new eatery featuring Founders brews, will be opening as part of an expansion and upgrade of airport amenities.


The brewhouse will be located in the post-security area of the airport. The addition is part of a series of additions including two new Starbucks — one pre-security and one post-security, a restaurant called The Local @ GRR on Concourse and an as-yet unnamed casual dining restaurant on Concourse B, according to supplied material. A Burger Federation restaurant along with a Firehouse Subs is also planned.


“We are excited to have a local flair in our restaurant scene, and what better way to own up to our title of Beer City, U.S.A. than adding the Prospect Hill Brewhouse right here in the airport?” Phil Johnson, airport acting president & CEO, said in supplied material.


Prospect Hill Brewhouse is set to open in summer 2017, with the other additions occurring soon after.  There will also be retail offering changes including a Touch of Grand Rapids store featuring West Michigan themed products and in partnership with the Grand Rapids Art Museum.


GR Public Museum returns Beer Explorers, with pour by Founders

Last year's Beer Explorers program at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. (Supplied)
Last year’s Beer Explorers program at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. (Supplied)

By K.D. Norris



Grand Rapids area beer lovers this fall will again get a chance to belly up the bar and learn more about their favorite libation as the Grand Rapids Public Museum returns its Beer Explorers program starting Thursday, Dec, 15.


A sampling of beers at the Grand Rapids Public Museum's Beer Explorers program -- yes there is glasses of what you like available for purchase. (Supplied)
A sampling of beers at the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Beer Explorers program — yes there is glasses of what you like available for purchase. (Supplied)

The series — which explores the roots of brewing beer with hands-on experiences related to the brewing and tasting of beer — will include programs on Jan. 12 and Feb. 16.


Classes begin at 6 p.m. and will be held on the 1st floor of the museum. Admission to each class includes general admission to the museum as well as three beer samples. A cash bar will also be available.


The December program is titled “History of Beer” and will feature museum curator Alex Forist talking about the history of beer but focused on the brewing history of Grand Rapids, as well as Michael Steil, from Founders Brewing Company, discussing the science of brewing.


The January program, “Beer Pairings”, will feature Founders experts discussion why certain beers and desserts work together. The February program, “Barrel Aging”, will focus on the process of barrel aging and how different factors affect the taste and quality of the beer.


Tickets to Beer Explorers is $8 for museum members and $18 for non-members. Participants must be 21 and older.


The Grand Rapids Public Museum is located at 272 Pearl Street, NW. For tickets and more information visit grpm.org.


Did you catch our story on the expanded Beer City Passport and Brewsader program?


Founder’s getting ready to set the Breakfast table

Founder's Kentucky Breakfast Stout Deep in the underlying caves beneath Grand Rapids sits an oak bourbon barrel waiting until the right time. Greatness isn’t achieved quickly. No, it takes time and preparation, age and experience, to grab the world’s attention. After a years time, the bourbon barrel will be ready to take on the world and re-establish its contents as one of the highest rated beers in the world.


The Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) is coming, and Founders Brewing Co. is preparing for their third annual KBS week.


“Mike and I look forward to this week every year,” said co-Founder and President Dave Engbers, “It is fantastic working with our wholesalers and retail partners to create a community-centric week centered around the release of KBS. We are so grateful to our West Michigan community for the support throughout the years and it makes sharing KBS with all of them that much more special.”


KBS is an imperial stout brewed with massive amounts of coffee and chocolate and then aged in oak bourbon barrels for a year. The beer will be available statewide on March 14 and across the nation on April 1. However, those here in Grand Rapids will be able to enjoy the beer a week earlier from March 7 – March 12.

Founder's Kentucky Breakfast Stout


KBS Week began in response to the overwhelming notoriety KBS has developed over the years and a desire to share that with the West Michigan beer-loving community on a broader scale. During KBS week, fifteen Founders-supporting bars and restaurants in the Grand Rapids area will each tap a keg of KBS on a day and time of their choosing between March 7 and 11. KBS Week will culminate on Saturday, March 12 with the Founders taproom release party, where KBS will be poured all day.


Below is the full list of bars and restaurants participating, and their tapping time, during KBS week:


Monday, March 7
5:00pm HopCat
7:00pm Rockwell’s/Republic
9:00pm Derby Station


Tuesday, March 8
5:00pm The Winchester
7:00pm Monelli’s
9:00pm Z’s Bar


Wednesday, March 9
5:00pm Gravity
7:00pm The Score
9:00pm Uccello’s: Caledonia


Thursday, March 10
5:00pm Vitale’s: Comstock Park
7:00pm Buffalo Wild Wings
9:00pm The Cottage Bar


Friday, March 11
5:00pm Village Inn
7:00pm The Meanwhile
9:00pm J. Gardella’s Tavern


Saturday, March 12
Founders Taproom Draft Release –  All Day


On top of the tap parties held around the city, bottles of KBS will be available for pickup in the Founder’s taproom. The bottles will be released using a pre-ticketed reservation process on Eventbrite. Bottles can be reserved beginning Saturday, February 13 at 11am. and they will be available for pickup March 8-12.


From out-of-town? A handful of area hotels will be offering KBS week packages. More information available at Experience Grand Rapids.


While the nation waits to get their hands on a delicious Kentucky Breakfast Stout, Grand Rapids will be ready for brunch.

Celebration + Founders Announce Newest Brewed for Film Series Lineup

brett_wiesenaurCelebration Cinemas and Founders Brewing Company are teaming up for yet another incarnation of their popular Brewed for Film series.


Starting February 10th, Founders Brewing will install itself inside 5 Celebration Cinemas across West Michigan and present a specifically chosen film to share on the big screen with thirsty film-goers, along with serving some fine beverages that match the tone of the shows.


Mixed among the films picked are a Scorsese gangster epic, a classic Indiana Jones adventure, 3 Coen Brothers comedy-dramas, including their award-winning FARGO and Oscar-nominated True Grit remake, a stop-motion animated Wes Anderson family flick, and some Monty Python shenanigans to wrap up this particular series.

FBccAs per usual during the series, entry is only $2 per person, 21 years of age and above. In addition, the series is selling a pass for entry to all films as well as a complimentary beer for each show for $25, while supplies last.


Having attended last years showing of The Shawshank Redemption with a friend, I can truly attest to the friendly atmosphere and unique experience offered at the events the two collaborators offer here. The value of entertainment for the price offered is exponentially more than a typical movie outing. Plus, who wouldn’t want the option of refreshing Founders classics at hand for viewing and consuming pleasure?


For all the information, including show dates and featured beer choices, please visit the Celebration information page.

WKTV Community Media Center, Wyoming MI

Our Most Read Stories From 2015

WKTV Community Media Center, Wyoming MI
WKTV is home to Wyoming-Kentwood NOW. Sharing the stories in your community!

Every year stories are written and consumed by the masses, but here at Wyoming-Kentwood NOW we focus on the hyperlocal. More specifically, we focus on YOU and YOUR community.

As we say goodbye to 2015 and get ready to say hello to 2016, let’s take a quick look back at our ten most popular stories from the past year:

1. Local Soccer Stands Lands a ‘Homegrown’ Dream Tryout
2. Time is Running Out on Pinery Park Little League
3. Trash Bag Tabby
4. A Man’s Passion Becomes a World Famous Collection
5. Kidney Donation Saves Local Man’s Life: Rick and Marci’s Story
6. Socks That Really Sock it to You (In a Very Good Way)
7. Grand Rapids Comic-Con
8. From Rags to Riches: The Founders Brewing Co. Success Story
9. New Michigan Law Helps Ex-Cons Return to Work
10. It’s a Paczki Palooza at Marge’s Donut Den

Don’t forget to make now.wktv.org a part of your daily routine, and if your interested in writing about the stories that surround you, we know just the people to talk to! Email us at news@wktv.org.

Happy New Year!

Founders Set to Release Project PAM

Founders 2Black IPAs have been a staple of an annual tradition at Founders Brewing Co. – the Black Party – a celebration of experimental dark beers. Project PAM was born out of this tradition and is the third Backstage release of 2015; a Black IPA whose hop combinations and malts have been perfected and balanced over several years.

This beer is brewed with a cornucopia of hops including Chinook, Nugget, Centennial, Amarillo, El Dorado and Mosaic, balanced with Crystal and Midnight Wheat malts, then aged in maple-bourbon barrels.

“Project PAM refers to the code name we used in the cellar.” explains the head of the brewery’s barrel-aging program, Jason Heystek. “As with a lot of our barrel-aged beers, each one gets a code name to keep things fun and maintain some mystery. With Project PAM, the maple-bourbon barrels provide sweetness to keep the hop bitterness in check, but also impart the flavor complexity of an oak bourbon barrel.”

Founders’ Backstage Series is made up of boundary-pushing, experimental beers. They are the brewers’ playground. The intent of the series is to take the die-hard 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, Founders’ Backstage Series beers have quickly become some of the most sought-after releases in the industry.

Project PAM will be available in 750-ml bottles in our taproom starting on November 20 and across Founders distribution network beginning late November 2015 with a suggested retail price of $14.99.

Brewery Tour to Give Rare Glimpse Into Hop Harvest Season

Hop Head Farms, breweries to showcase flavor, aroma of the Michigan hops

Late August and early September mark the end of summer and the peak of the hop harvest season.

Of the four main ingredients in craft beer, none of them boast the rabid following of the humulus lupulus, or hops. West Michigan Beer Tours, in collaboration with JW Marriott Grand Rapids, Hop Head Farms, of Hickory Corners, Walldorff Brewpub & Bistro, of Hastings, and Founders Brewing Co., of Grand Rapids, will offer a unique immersion into the exciting season with our Hop Harvest Beer Tour.

Registration for the Hop Harvest Beer Tour will be held from 11 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Aug. 29 at the Six.One.Six restaurant inside the JW Marriott Grand Rapids. The bus will depart at noon for Hop Head Farms, a 30-acre farm in Hickory Corners outside of Kalamazoo that is growing and providing hops for breweries all over the country, as well as internationally. Several Michigan breweries will provide samples of their beer using hops from Hop Head Farms to be tasted as part of the unique tour of the hop fields and processing equipment.

“This is a rare opportunity to get a look into what happens to bring our hops to harvest. We do not offer public tours during harvest because of the sheer busyness of the time. We have only a few short weeks to get all of the hops down, picked and dried at their peak maturity. Our facility is the only of it’s kind in the United States, German engineered and chosen to handle our hops to result in the best end product,” Hop Head Farms co-founder Bonnie Steinman said.

After Hop Head Farms, the bus, with Bonnie Steinman on board to answer questions about hops, heads to the Walldorff Brewpub & Bistro in Hastings where brewer Brett Hammond frequently uses Hop Head Farms hops, including in Walldorff’s Harvest Ale. We’ll deliver fresh hops to Hammond. Guests will receive samples or a pint, as well as a tour of the production space.

The trip also visits Founders Brewing Co. in Grand Rapids, a frequent collaborator with Hop Head Farms, before returning to the JW Marriott Grand Rapids at approximately 6:30 p.m.

Beer City USA Hotel Packages are also available at the JW Marriott. For more information, contact Brian Behler at brian.behler@jwgr.com or by phone at 616-242-1462.

Tickets for the tour are on sale now. They are $69 for the standard ticket, which includes samples or a pint at Hop Head Farms, Founders and Walldorff, or $85 for premium tickets, which includes everything from the standard ticket as well as a beer at the JW Marriott during registration, a logo’d pint glass from Hop Head Farms and a West Michigan Beer Tours T-shirt.

For more information, go to www.westmichiganbeertours.com/tour.

New Founders Beer sends Proceeds to ArtPrize

Founders 2Founders Brewing Co. today announced it would introduce Spectra Trifecta, brewed in the traditional Kolsch style, this September. Proceeds from the sale of this new beer will benefit ArtPrize, the world’s largest art competition that takes place annually in Grand Rapids, Mich. Spectra Trifecta will be sold in 12 oz. bottles in Michigan, Wisconsin, greater New York City and greater Chicago with a suggested retail price of $9.99 per 6-pack. Drafts will be sent throughout Founders’ distribution footprint.

In April 2013 the two organizations inked a deal that made Founders the official brewery of ArtPrize for the next five years. Last year’s release was Mosaic Promise, and the 2013 release was Inspired Artist Black IPA.

“I love coming up with the recipe for the ArtPrize beer every year,” said Founders Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki. “For the past two years, I’ve worked on our pilot system to develop an approachable, lower alcohol beer with tons of flavor. This year’s beer is brewed using a different fermentation process than what we usually use, and is made with some fun, nontraditional ingredients.”

Brewed in the traditional Kolsch style, which requires fermenting ale yeast at a colder temperature and gives the beer a clean finish without fruity yeast esters. This bright, golden beer is brewed with a trifecta of natural ingredients: earthy, floral and slightly sweet chamomile; a touch of citrusy lemongrass; and a hint of spicy fresh ginger. At 5.9% ABV and 20 IBUs, it’s delightfully refreshing.

Founders Family members were given the opportunity to submit their portfolios to find an artistic match for the Spectra Trifecta label, without knowing anything about the beer.

Alexis Brooke’s nature-inspired pen and ink drawings fit well with the character of this beer, so she was selected to create the label, with a focus on illustrating the beer’s special ingredients. Alexis is a Grand Rapids native and has been a Founders employee since fall 2014, working in the deli and on the catering team. She created this mixed media piece with markers, ink and watercolors.

Proceeds from the sale of Spectra Trifecta will support the future programming of the ArtPrize organization. ArtPrize is an international art competition, open to any artist and decided by public vote. Its mission is to promote critical dialogue and collaboration through new, creative ideas among a large and diverse population of people.

As an innovator in redefining what beer can be, Founders believes that experimentation is central to the human experience—whether one experiments with grains and hops or markers and watercolors—and that sharing one’s creation with the public is a brave act worth celebrating.

“Founders is now undoubtedly one of the finest craft brewers not only in Michigan but in the entire United States,” said Christian Gaines, executive director of ArtPrize. “We’re immeasurably proud to call Founders the official ArtPrize Brewery and share in the excitement of their new special release, Spectra Trifecta—a culmination of our partnership, built upon a mutual passion for our community and the creativity that resides within it.”

More than 400,000 people are expected to attend ArtPrize Seven this fall.

Spectra Trifecta will be available for a limited time starting on Sunday, September 13, in Michigan, Wisconsin, metro NYC and Chicagoland in bottles and across Founders’ entire distribution footprint on draft. It will be released in the brewery’s taproom on draft and in bottles starting on Monday, September 14. Spectra Trifecta will be featured at official ArtPrize events.

This year marks the seventh edition of ArtPrize, which will take place Sept. 23–Oct. 11, 2015. The Founders taproom will be a venue for the seventh year running.

Founders Brewing Company To Release New Imperial Red IPA

Founders 2reDANKulous 2015 Marks the Thirteenth Release in Founders’ 

Founders Brewing Co. will release reDANKulous Imperial Red IPA in late August 2015 to mark the thirteenth installment in the brewery’s popular Backstage Series. Like all of Founders’ Backstage Series beers, reDANKulous will be sold in 750mL bottles, and it will have a suggested retail price of $9.99 per bottle.

reDANKulous Imperial Red IPA is a no frills, bold 9.5% ABV India Pale Ale. It pours a pleasing burnt amber with some sweetness due to the Caramalt and roasted barley used in the malt bill. But hops are the true headliner in this elaborate sensory experience. The spicy, piney, tropical complexities of Chinook, Mosaic and Simcoe hops hit you right away with their dank aroma—and they stick around. Take a sip to have your palate simultaneously walloped and caressed in all the right places. Combined, the hops take the beer to 90 IBUs. It’s not just ridiculous. It’s reDANKulous.              Founders 3

“We love hops,” said Co-Founder and President Dave Engbers. “Simple as that. Our brewers love to experiment with new varieties, new combinations and new techniques. This dank beer is a fun, intense showcase of hops. We hope all of you hop heads out there enjoy it.”

Founders’ Backstage Series is made up of boundary-pushing, experimental beers. The intent of the series 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, Founders’ Backstage Series beers have quickly become some of the most sought-after releases in the industry.

reDANKulous will be released in limited quantities across Founders’ distribution footprint beginning on Monday, August 31, and will be available at the brewery’s taproom beginning on Friday, August 28. This will be the second Backstage Series release from Founders in 2015; beer enthusiasts should expect one more release from Founders later in the year.

About Founders Brewing Co.Founders4

Established in 1997 by two craft beer enthusiasts—Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens—with day jobs and a dream, Founders Brewing Co. brews complex, in-your-face ales, with huge aromatics and tons of flavor. Founders ranks among the top 20 largest craft breweries in the U.S. and is one of the fastest growing. The brewery has received numerous awards from the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival, and RateBeer and BeerAdvocate users often rate its beers among the best in the world. Located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, Founders is a proud member of the Michigan Brewers Guild. For more information, visit www.foundersbrewing.com.



Sarah Aldrich

From Rags to Riches–The Founders Brewing Co. Success Story

Dave Engbers enjoying the taste of his Founders beer.

“Dave Engbers, President and Co-Founder of Founders Beer finds the entire microbrew beer industry “quite magical.”

But the magic wasn’t always there.

Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers both had steady jobs when they decided to chase their dreams and open a brewery.  They quit their jobs, took out giant loans, wrote the business plans and started to work.

Dave takes time out of his busy schedule to talk to the Citizen Journalism Team
Dave takes time out of his busy schedule to talk to the Citizen Journalism Team

“We wanted to live life without regrets,”Engbers shared during a recent visit with the WKTV Citizen Journalism team.

In the early work days his life was ridiculously busy.

“We built the six packs, brewed the  beers, cleaned the bathrooms, swept the floors.  I would work from 7:30a.m-2:00 in the morning, he explained.”

They soon found themselves on the verge of bankruptcy.

“There was always a roadblock. We thought of giving up.  The business model didn’t work.  We were under capitalized.  There wasn’t a large craft community out there.  We went through a lot of tough times but the only option was to make it work.”

It was at this point that the team decided to brew the kind of beer that got them excited about brewing in the first place: complex, in-your-face ales, with huge aromatics, bigger body, and tons of flavor.   Founders 3

And make it work they did.  They never gave up.

” The last seven years have been tremendous,” Engbers related.

At their new location at 235 Grandville Ave SW, which they have been at since November 2007, they have gone from 16 employees to 290 employees.

“We have gone from 30 barrel tanks to 1500 barrel tanks and 7 ft. tall tanks to nearly 6 story tanks, he explained.”

Their KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) is the highest rated stout in the world.

Through persistence and hard work their beers are now distributed  all over the world and the growth keeps on continuing.

“As of March 2015 we are found in 32 states and 11 countries.  We have been exploring exporting to countries overseas– England, Iceland, Finland, Denmark, Mexico, Austrailia–all over the world.”

Engbers is a Hope College Graduate with a degree in Communication/English. He lives in East Grand Rapids with a young family of four children and a very understanding wife.

The Founders Family, a group of passionate beer enthusiasts, has grown around this simple philosophy: “We don’t brew beer for the masses. Instead, our beers are crafted for a chosen few, a small cadre of renegades and rebels who enjoy a beer that pushes the limits of what is commonly accepted as taste. In short, we make beer for people like us.”

Founders Brewing Co. has been lucky to evolve into one of the highest recognized breweries in the United States.

David Engbers favorite brand is obviously Founders but he doesn’t have a favorite type.

“Our beers are like our children.  We love all our children for their uniqueness.  There are no favorites.” he laughingly concluded.

He is very proud of his staff– who is like a second family to him– for all of their accomplishments and their extreme work ethic.

“It has been great watching everyone develop as a human being.  We call it the Founders Family and we care and love one another,” he concluded.    Founders 2

Check out their website for upcoming events and information.  http://foundersbrewing.com/