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Eric Strader
Eric Strader
Eric Strader writes about the craft beer scene in Indiana and Michigan. He's a dad, husband, potter, soccer coach, special education paraprofessional, who likes to read, bike, hike, and canoe.

Founder's new beer garden opens in time for Art Prize

Posted on Sept. 24, 2013 at 1:00 a.m. | Updated on Sept. 24, 2013 at 4:46 p.m.

inspired artist 6 pack Founder's Inspired Artist Black IPA - the official beer for Art Prize

Last week, the 5th annual, largest independently organized international art competition opened in Gr. Rapids, Michigan - Art Prize.   Founders Brewing Co., the official brewery of the event, has introduced their Inspired Artist Black IPA (7.5% ABV, IBUs 88), and it is on tap at the brewery and available in 12 oz. bottles for carry out.

Art Prize consists of over 100 venues and more than 1,000 artists.  The central part of the event is downtown, near Founder's Brewing Co, Hop Cat, and Gr. Rapids Brewing Company.  We walked several blocks viewing art along the roads, parks, and several indoor galleries, before heading over to check out Founders new beer garden.  No wonder Gr. Rapids is Beer City USA.

dragon A dragon created from cut up shipping containers that my kids loved

main bar Founders main bar

After several months of construction, and completely closing the tap room for 13 days, Founders re-opened with a expanded tap room, more than doubling their previous space and including a 3,975 square foot partially covered beer garden.  There are now three bars:  the main bar which runs the full length of the main floor and is pretty much unchanged, an outdoor bar in the beer garden, and the Brass Works bar.  This last mentioned bar was brought from the original location in the Brass Works Building where Founder's served draft pints prior to moving to their current facility in 2007.

brass works bar Brass Works bar

beer garden bar bar located in the beer garden

beer garden beer garden

inspired artist ipa Inspired Artist Black IPA

The brewery was extremely busy and much louder than what I like to enjoy lunch with my family, so I had one beer - Inspired Artist IPA.  Like any good black IPA, it was very dark in appearance, but had all of the great characteristics of an IPA.  The flavor was full of pine, citrus, and that extra toasted malt that comes with the black IPA style.  Founder's does a good job with hoppy beers, and Inspired Artist was no exception.  And while you are thinking about hoppy beers, put Saturday, October 12 on your calendar for their 10th annual harvest party.

harvest ale party

out door beer garden looking from outside the Brass Works bar to the beer garden

will powerOur last stop for the day was the Wealthy Street Bakery, and Art of the Table.  This is a fun place to go for people who like to eat and drink.  They have a good selection in the beer cooler where I found Right Brain Brewery's Will Power (English Pale Ale, 4.9% ABV) in 16 oz. cans.   Right Brain is the first brewery to use Michigan Mobile Canning to put their products on the shelf, and Will Power is their first canned beer.  What a great idea, and I hope to see more canned products on the shelf soon from some of Michigan's smaller breweries.

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