Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Recap of Founders 15th Anniversary Party!

Written by  Dan Miller
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Founders  Cutter Barleywine - 15th Anniversary Beer

Founders Brewing Company celebrated their 15th anniversary party this past Saturday and did so in fantastic, fermented fashion. With doors opening at 11AM came the first tapping of Bolt Cutter, their 15th Anniversary Barley Wine, brewed to commemorate this milestone. Before Saturday, those with tickets could come in and buy two bottles and a special 15th Anniversary glass on one of the six days leading up to the party. In addition to Bolt Cutter, several mainstays and seasonals, they also introduced us to Boilermaker: a bourbon barrel aged version of Solid Gold. It tasted much better than your typical ale with a shot of whiskey dropped in…and you didn’t have to slam it. And around 1PM, they tapped a firkin of double chocolate, double coffee Breakfast Stout, which was excellent!
Despite a great selection of beer, it didn’t take long before most people had a snifter of Bolt Cutter in their hands. Once the doors were open and the beer was flowing, it didn’t take long for the taproom to fill with many eager supporters of both the beer and food. Within the first 15-20 minutes, there were two long lines, one for beer and one for food. Lucky for me, that line did not last long and I was able to order my Brewmaster General sandwich. Overall, there was a fantastic turnout of beer and food lovers. It’s hard not to find something on either menu that doesn’t satisfy the taste buds.

As the morning passed and the afternoon was flowing by, the taproom seats and the porch were starting to hold all they could. As a result, new comers could grab a beer in the parking lot tents put up just to take on the overflow. The vibe was great. Everyone seemed happy and then something happened that only Founders could do. They made that happiness and vibe explode with excitement as the tapping of another special beer took place: Founders staff member, Dom, ran through the taproom with the Canadian flag and then everyone knew that Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS) was being tapped. The crowd roared in excitement over one of the best beers in the world.

CBS is a stout brewed with massive amounts of chocolate and coffee and then aged in oak bourbon barrels that aged Michigan maple syrup and then the beer. The taproom took on a whole new personality at this point and rightfully so. It is a magnificent beer and extremely rare and much to everyone’s surprise and delight, it lasted quite a while. It’s not uncommon for CBS to be tapped and gone before everyone in the bar gets one. For the anniversary party, it made it in to people’s glasses two or three times. People were so excited they ordered two and then combined them so it looked like they had one monster pour of CBS. And in the middle of all the hype my friend, Adam, one of the six brewers, was asked for an autograph. That’s beer love and support!

It was well into the late afternoon/early evening that CBS finally ran out, but luckily the vibe in the room did not. Like everyone else, we were having a great time. We could have stayed all night but due to a prior engagement at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, we had to depart, but much to our good fortune Founders was represented there as well. Looking back on the evening, it’s amazing what one or two great beers can do to bring people together. In reality, this is something that Founders does every single day they’re open. I know people all over the country who want Founders beer and due to a great deal of success, more and more of them are getting what they want. But here in Grand Rapids, BEER City USA, we are extremely lucky to be able to do that in the same building it’s brewed in.

Now that the party is over, be sure to stop in the Founders store and get a 15th Anniversary glass and/or t-shirt before they’re gone. As for the beer, Bolt Cutter started hitting shelves on Monday. Get some while you can!

What will the next 15 years bring? I have no idea, but I’m happy taking it one day…or beer at a time to find out. Thank you for everything you’ve done for your customers, the city of Grand Rapids and the entire beer community. Congratulations, Founders!