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Explore The Pour July 2014 : Page 7

Cover Story } Beer City, USA With the name Founders in Beer City, USA, it’s not surprising folks come from near and far to tour the brewery, buy a souvenir, grab a growler to go, or enjoy a pint or two in the taproom at 235 Grandville Ave. SW in downtown Grand Rapids. Most drive, some ride bikes and others walk from nearby hotels. The buzz has been fueled by a recent $26 million expansion during the last three years. With a capacity of 500 and 1,800 mug club members, the vibe is contagious in the taproom. Visitors gather in the open-air beer garden at a wooden picnic table or stone top high bar near a fire pit, or venture indoors for engaging conversation and to search for hidden gnomes. Overlooking the brewing facilities, the taproom features 18 to 24 beers on tap. On a Saturday evening this spring, about 15 servers clearly identified with “I WORK HERE” on their backs delivered cold drinks and tasty dishes. Besides the food and drink, guests were meeting at Founders for birthday celebrations and The Carboys band album release party, featuring assistant brewer R.J. Nordlund. Students marked graduation from Grand Valley State University, and the occasional employee enjoyed a free beer on the house after a hard day’s work. Mary Beth Eyestone and husband Shawn were visiting from Grandville. They enjoyed a Backwoods Bastard and Imperial Stout along with sandwiches and appetizers. “I have never been here before,” Mary Beth says. “I love the beer and wanted to try the food.” Ted Serama celebrated his 40th birthday with wife Brooke. The couple had their first date at Founders and were part of a group 6 { July 2014 }

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