Words and photography by Darren TYNAN
Much like the alliterative title of this article, Michigan brewery Founders relied on a sense of constancy in their beginnings: a constancy of passion, tenacity and a communal will to uphold a vision.
While the word ‘craft’ may denote unnecessary notions of elitism, separating beer lovers from the common interest that unites them in the first place, Founders nonetheless take pride in being at the forefront of the American craft scene. They also have their hearts in the right place, having an impenetrable brewing integrity and a vision that has never been compromised. Their slogan, ‘Brewed For Us’, states in an unselfish way, that the brewery is doing everything they want to do and is true to their vision. It also implies that if you’re interested in joining them on their passionate journey, you’ll inevitably be rewarded.
Founders embody the value, pride and substance of what brewing should be all about; they face up to the detached, impersonal commodification of beer. They push away the bullying brewing juggernauts that churn out the blandest of beers and rely on demographical indifference and a sense of complacent mediocrity to thrive. All in all, it’s not a war grounded in hostility or separation – it’s simply a matter of taste, but in a growing empire of beer choices and innovative, forward thinking marketing, isn’t life too short to drink mediocre beer?
Facing financial hardships in their early days, the spirit of Founders can only provide a positive feeling from such throttling persistence and determination. Mike Stevens, Founders front man, said that there is a kind of universality to their vision that extends far beyond beer.
‘Ultimately we want other people to grab life, embrace everything that you do. Founders is more than just beer. It’s that feeling’, he said.
When confronted by a wall of beer choices, let’s all face it, IPA’s are by no means an endangered or rare breed of beer; there seems to be a new one being created every day with increasing regularity. Despite this, the All Day IPA is certainly a unique beer. One may argue that it is hard to ‘stand out’ amidst the ubiquity of such a style, but Founders make their mark.
This beer pours a light amber colour, the lacing is substantial and there is some opacity in the appearance. Considering the aroma, there are huge pineapple notes which inform a tropical fruit profile, resonating with the flavours. Subtle passion fruit, lemon and a cheeky bit of peach are also evident. Taste-wise, this beer takes the delectable fruit characteristics of hops, and places them upfront – this is backed by a firm bitterness that taps you on the shoulder and confidently says ‘I’m here, I serve a purpose, and I won’t be an imposition’.
This is an amazing IPA if you like tropical/stone fruit characteristics in your beers. It’s on that tipping point of being robust or perhaps ostentatious, to being accessible and literally packed full of flavour. Hops are not abused in this beer, they are mindfully used. However, if you still want more hard hitting hops from an IPA, Founders have taken care of that too; their Double IPA, aptly named Double Trouble, is a colossal beer released from May-June, and is one to look out for.
One may appreciate the passion that goes into crafting this beer, and notice the intentional use of restraint with hops. It’s all blended together without being excessive or showing off (not that that is a bad thing) and the quality of flavours and aromas in Founders’ beers translates their vision in a language of its own.
The remaining question is, could we really drink this IPA all day? If we could evade the vague parameters of alcohol-related social acceptability, I’d say it’d be hard to say no to such a good thing.