Beer Safari: Founder’s & Grand Rapids Brewing Co.


Grand Rapids is the home of Al Green, Anthony Kiedis, and unelected U.S. President Gerald Ford. As much as I wished to visit the Gerald R. Ford Museum, I chose instead to visit Founder’s Brewing Company. I think it was for the best.

Like Grand Rapids itself, Founder’s is pleasant. It was too late for a brewery tour, but after the Three Floyd’s tour I didn’t much feel the need to get the lowdown on malt, hops, wort, the Reinheitsgebot, or any other brewery tour staples. I just wanted beer, and the Founder’s taproom is a fine place to enjoy a pint or six. It’s a massive open space that’s exposed to the patio area on pleasant days. A band was in the process of setting up on the indoor stage near the bar, and we were occasionally deafened by their insistent sound check. So it goes.


I had the Barrel-Aged Spite Blend, a barrel-aged pepper pale ale with a healthy ABV of 8.1%. It had a nice spicy pepper flavor but wasn’t terribly hot. I followed that with the All Night Black IPA, which was pleasantly bitter with a roasted malt finish. I think so, anyway. My notes just say “pompous commentary.”

Eventually the band’s volume became too much to bear (and I was getting creeped out by a be-mulleted fellow in a fine Canadian tuxedo), so we moved on to the Grand Rapids Brewing Company just a short stumble away. And by god, the place was just a damn delight. My full day of drinking may well have influenced my mood, but I can say without hesitation that our bartender Michelle was the nicest human being I have ever encountered (and I’m counting my saintly grandmother in that calculation).


Michelle recommended both the John Ball Brown Ale and the Brewer’s Heritage Hefeweizen. Both were solid examples of their respective┬ástyles and made for easy drinkin’. We added an appetizer of buffalo cauliflower, which I cannot recommend enough. Truly, it was an idyllic scene. “We live here now,” murmured my companion.

It was a tempting thought. But there was more of Michigan to explore. Onward…

(pic #3 via Grand Rapids Brewing Co. The others via my iPhone skillz.)