Monday, June 29, 2015

Recap of Founders Fest 2015 - A Celebration of Beer and Music

Written by  Dan VanderKooi
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founders fest 2015 

Founders Fest is the one day of the year in the summer that Founders Brewing Co. closes the doors to their taproom and invites everybody of drinking age to join them for a street party and music fest right outside the brewery. There is also food and entertainment and of course Founders is also known for some of the best beer in the world. The party starts early in the afternoon and goes late into the night. Getting there early is always best before the crowds get thick and lines get long but sticking around always pays off to stay for the later bands and who knows what they will tap next at the Specialty tent?
Founders Fest is first and foremost a music festival and Founders has a reputation for bringing in some of the best national bands. This year’s festival was no exception with a lineup featuring Elephant Revival from Colorado, Oregon’s Nahko and Medicine for the People, and closing down the event was the Dirty Dozen Brass Band hailing from New Orleans. Lansing’s organissimo impressed crowds early on and the FBC All-Stars impressed and surprised this year with their ever rotating lineup of Founders Brewing Co. employee’s best musicians. Highlights of their set this year included Devo’s “Whip It” performed in classic flower pot for hats tradition, along with an unexpected cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade,” and head brewer Jeremy Kosmicki’s sole contribution to this year’s set on guitar for Pink Floyd’s “Money”.

Founders Fest Wheat was once again pouring at the main beer stations along with other Founders favorites including Mosaic Promise, Rubaeus, All Day IPA, with many additional mainstays. Founders is most famous for their speciality releases, and this year’s specialty taps included some of their most legendary releases such as KBS and CBS (AKA Kentucky Breakfast Stout and Canadian Breakfast Stout,) as well as seasonal releases such as Backwoods Bastard and Devil Dancer. Also featured for this year’s fest were many returning food vendors such as Tacos El Cunado, Cottage Bar and Restaurant, and What the Truck as well as the new to Grand Rapids Slows Bar BBQ slated to open later this year in the Downtown Market.

Founders Brewing Co. has also recently announced the latest installment in their highly sought after Backstage Series of beers. “reDANKulous” is an Imperial Red IPA which is slated for an August release. Look for it in the taproom beginning Friday, August 28th with limited distribution to follow. reDANKulous follows the surprise return of Blushing Monk to the Backstage Series earlier this year and an additional Backstage release is expected later for 2015 as well.

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Dan VanderKooi

Dan VanderKooi

Dan VK has been following the Michigan Craft Beer scene since before Oberon has been available in 6-packs. Besides making the rounds at all the local craft breweries and beer bars, Dan also supports the local music scene, reads crime fiction, and enjoys playing volleyball with his wife and friends.