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

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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.

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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).

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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.)