Grand Rapids, Michigan has landed in Los Angeles in the form of Founders Brewing. Events have been held across the Southland to introduce the brewery’s full gamut of beers. I recently spoke with Dave Engbers, ½ of the Founders founding team, about their beers.
Engbers and Mike Stevens started Founders back in 1997 and now distribute their beers in 39 states. Founders was “making their way westward for years now” according to Engbers, but until they had grown to the point where they could supply California they did not want to expand until they had expanded their brewing capacity. The addition of a 300-barrel brewhouse and a new bottling line removed that hurdle.
They grew their brewery on the back of their Scotch Ale, Dirty Bastard, as well as their Breakfast Stout. Later on Centennial IPA (named after the hop) became the standard bearer. These days their Session IPA, All Day IPA, is leading the charge.
For those new to Founders, Engbers wants you to “taste your beer before it hits your lips” to fully enjoy the aromatic quality that they labor over. In a break from many craft brewers, Founders doesn’t filter or pasteurize their beers so the full brewing process can do its work.
I sampled hoppy offerings and their darker beers and found the Breakfast Stout to be well worth the hype. It is silky and smooth with a bright stroke of coffee mingling with chocolate. The other surprise was their Mosaic Promise. Engbers praises the hop as “freakishly wonderful” and it works wonders with the Golden Promise malt base.
For a change of pace, they also have some Nitro offerings, particularly for their Oatmeal Stout. If you want to dig deeper into Founders’ playlist, their barrel-aged beers will not disappoint either. There is a reason why their KBS – Kentucky Breakfast Stout – is so wanted by beer geeks.
Now that we have a supply of Bell’s Brewery beers and Founders, Spartans and Wolverines in L.A. will be very happy.
(Since it is Throwback Thursday, check out this 2012 interview with Dave Engbers)
Your Beer of the Week is Zes, the 6th anniversary ale from Eagle Rock Brewery. They celebrated year six in style alongside compatriots Ladyface Ale Companie and Strand Brewing and came up with a Belgian Golden Strong Ale. Their celebratory beer is simple and strong. The higher ABV is masked behind straightforward malt and a light vanilla note. Taste this at ERB’s taproom or Public House and toast to the pioneers of L.A. craft beer.
Your Homework is to get Lost. But not to worry, you will be lost amidst the 2016 editions of sour beers from New Belgium Brewing. You have two ticketed events to choose from. Pedalars Fork in Calabasas will serve up a three-course meal paired with La Folie, Transatlantique Kriek and Blackberry Love Felix. You could also head to Long Beach and the Blind Donkey for cheese and sour beers. Get the information to make the decision at Lost in the Woods.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.