Founders, oh Founders
By Lydia on January 19, 2008 9:39 AM| | Comments (1)
Conceptually, beer is food; a delicious source of calories. It could be termed the original meal-replacement beverage. After long thought, and the precedent that is Eric Asimov's "The Pour," I have decided that drinks ought to count as food in this, my consumptive opus. Grand Rapids certainly has many places to drink, and more variety of venues than it does for eating. That is, it does if variety means smoking or non, or country music or 80s hits. Still interesting and delicious beverages seem to be more easily accessible in West Michigan than their counterparts in food. Alcoholic trends just seem to hit the heartland earlier than gastronomic ones. Perhaps it is the drunken incentive. Cask beers have arrived on the scene, however unlauded (that is a topic for another time,) but this is long after Grand Rapids has embraced craft brewing. Founders Brewery has become a beloved staple of Grand Rapids drinking, whether in bottles or at the brewery itself. And at the brewery was where I found myself last night, pint of pale ale in hand. Business seemed slow for primetime on saturday night, but at least there were 8 beers on tap, a decided step up from just weeks ago, when Founders was newly relocated and served a paltry selection. Sitting at the bar with a pint was pleasent with some Yo La Tengo in the background. I entertained a reverie in which I was in a rather older version of Degrassi Junior High and was playing the shy girl that everyone has a crush on. My daydream ended though, when I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One was replaced by some R. Kelly, which I was convinced was making fun of me. Get bent R. Kelly. I'd be occupied if I'd remembered my book. In any event, I'd be lying if I said I thought that anyone in Grand Rapids needed a tutorial on Founders beers. Everyone's got their favorites. This morning it seems that Red's Rye will never be one of mine. I have never loved the flavor, I think it has a touch of an innapropriate pucker. But the pucker pales in comparison to the fuzziness of head I am dealing with this morning. This brings me to an uncomfortable subject this Saturday Morning. Founders beers equal shitty hangover. After sorting the anecdotal evidence I am comvinced that this is so. Anyone who has tried to down a bottle of Blushing Monk has certainly felt the after-effects. Some would say that one loses track of actual alcohol consumed, given the calculations needed to equate higher-proof craft beer with the popular idea of "one beer," but I don't buy it. I for one, have done that math, and I am coming up hungover.

The first time I had ever gone to Founder's, I was still getting used to that whole "It's legal for me to drink in public now" thing. I remember being shocked to my core at the idea that beer could cost more than $8 a pitcher. "12 bucks?! Really?! This had better be better than Newcastle!" I think I actually said that to the waitress. Really. Being young, and dumb, and still thinking that weak-ass dark beer from Ireland that white hats with an affinity for Irish punk music love so much was "good", I drank my 48 ounces of Dirty Bastard at Pabst Blue Ribbon rate... which is a glass every 15 minutes. As I stood up to go to the bathroom, I gracefully dodged the hardwood floor which seemed to jump up at me. Several years and a dozen or so road trips to breweries across the state later, I have to say Grand Rapids is spoiled by Founder's. I have discovered that in most breweries, you are lucky if there are three beers that are good, and of those, two of them are only "okay". God bless that place, even though they went nonsmoking.Noel