May 19, 2018 heralded in what were for me two historic events: the wedding of Great Britain’s Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (~SWOON~) and my first visit to Grand Rapids-based Founders Brewing Company’s Detroit taproom (NEW-PLACE TIME = ~DOUBLE SWOON!!!!~).
The historic nature of that second event is certainly debatable. But awesome ambiance, supremely delicious brews and food, and its own parking lot (a gem of a quality for a city-based establishment) made my visit to the Cass Corridor-area taproom as memorable for me as that royal wedding in my other favorite city in the world (Detroit will ALWAYS be my Number 1, but London definitely has a piece of my heart!).
That aforementioned ambiance: it’s perfect as we launch into summer. Founders’ large, airy taproom has an outdoor patio, plus garage doors that roll up and allow those inside to take part in the open-air concept. Industrial design touches such as exposed ductwork, utilitarian lighting, and counter fronts covered in sheet metal give the place an unpretentious, laid-back vibe.
Beer aficionados will love Founders’ extensive menu of its craft brews. I’m definitely no beer expert, but all of the IPAs and porters and stouts and such with their varying flavor profiles and alcohol-by-volume percentage points (currently ranging from 4.4 to a whopping 14.2) sounded pretty darn good to me. I settled on a pint of the Apricot Wheat, which I found to be a robust version of a fruit-infused beer that was not overly sweet.
I dug Founders’ food menu, too. It was packed with a variety of ridiculously-delish-sounding sandwiches, snacks, and entrée salads. I ordered the ‘Nam Nom Nom sandwich, described on the menu as “bourbon barrel-smoked pulled pork, pickles, carrots, red onions, sriracha, and cilantro-lime aioli on a telera roll.”
This sandwich with a tongue-twister of a name was HUGE – which meant I got full off of half of it and got to take the remaining half home to enjoy later.
And this was a more than leftover-worthy sandwich; it was supremely delicious with its tender shredded pork, crusty bread, crunchy pickles, and spicy sriracha. This was bar food at its best: rich, flavorful, filling goodness to soak up those brawny craft brews.
Ah, Detroit in the summer, with all of the possibility it brings – it thrills me as much as the grandest of weddings! Given all of its amazingly positive attributes, Founders Brewing Company can certainly be deemed a quality addition to the city’s restaurant/brewery scene, regardless of the time of year it’s visited. But man, does it promise to do summer well with that open-air seating and selection of fair-weather-suited brews!
456 Charlotte St.
Detroit, MI 48201