In a way that only Founders Brewing Company can do, they have taken an “old world meets new world” approach to the latest release in their seasonal lineup.
Pilsners are one of the most beloved and recognizable styles of beer in Europe, if not the world. Beer enthusiasts in the U.S. are most familiar with this style from the macro brewers, however, more craft brewers are trying their hand at them. Founders’ first Pilsner, PC Pils (5.5 percent ABV, 45 IBUs), has already been released in Michigan and will soon land on the shelves in Michiana.
PC Pils is not your average Pilsner. Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki happily undertook the challenge to produce this beer with loads of hoppy flavor. While taking a more traditional “old world” approach to the malt bill, he added lots of “new world” hop character. Noble hops traditionally have been the preferred choice of Pilsner brewers, however Kosmicki chose to brew with some of his favorite flavor-packed American varieties, including piney Chinook, citrusy Cascade and punchy Centennial.
It is a very easy drinking beer, perfect for lingering hot days of the season. And the fact that it is sold in cans, as well as bottles, means it’s a perfect fit for some of those last trips to the beach. I really enjoy a good full-flavored Pilsner, and being a hop head, this really lighted up my palate. It pours a straw yellow, with a good head that lasts a good amount of time. The hops dominate the aroma with lots of pine and citrus. The pine and citrus follow over into the flavor, but with a good malty flavor in the middle, with a slight bitter finish. Overall, this is a nice crisp beer with a light mouth feel, but packed with flavor.
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ArtPrize 2016 begins this weekend in Grand Rapids, Mich., and for the fourth year running, Founders has brewed a beer specifically for this gigantic art event. Pale Joe (5.4 percent ABV), a pale ale brewed with coffee, was first introduced at the Founder’s tap room. It will be on tap at the brewery during ArtPrize, and will be released in six-pack bottles later this month. Proceeds from the sale will benefit ArtPrize 2016.
“We’ve always been thrilled with our strong relationship with Founders, the official brewery of ArtPrize and one of the best craft brewers in the United States,” noted Christian Gaines, executive director for ArtPrize. “Our partnership, now in its fourth year, is built upon a mutual passion for our community, and a shared commitment to challenging the familiar — exemplified in Founders’ latest special release for ArtPrize Eight, Pale Joe.”
I am a huge fan of coffee beers, which most often begin with a dark stout or brown ale base. But once again, Kosmicki brews a different take on this style.
“Pale Joe came out of my current infatuation with pale, sessionable beers,” says Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki, “Being the ArtPrize beer, I wanted to play with expectations so I experimented with adding coffee to a lighter, pale ale. Turns out, using gently-roasted, fruit-forward coffee adds a nice roasty flavor that does not compete with the malts in the beer.”
Your eyes will tell you one thing on this beer, but your palate will tell you another. It is light in color but full in flavor, featuring a special blend of high-end Ethiopian coffee roasted by Ferris Coffee and Nut, just down the road from Founders.
Founders Family members were given the opportunity to submit their portfolios to find an artistic match for the Pale Joe label, without knowing anything about the beer. Aaron Rossell the lead cellar operator and a graduate of Kendall College of Art & Design, was chosen for his striking character illustrations and unexpected use of color. Aaron developed the character of Pale Joe, a leathery man donning dirty-overalls as a symbol of blue-collar, hardworking, coffee-sipping Midwestern farmers, with the hope that he can help bridge the gap between artists and the common man.
Later this month, Pale Joe and Founders’ Sleeper Cell (imperial IPA, 10.7 ABV) will be tapped at Constant Spring in downtown Goshen. Until now, this West Coast-style double IPA has never been featured outside of the Founders tap room. It has a cult following and is brewed with an intense dose of five different hops: Chinook, Centennial, Cascade, Simcoe and Mosaic.
I know that I will be grabbing a bar stool at Constant Spring on Friday, Sept. 30, for this event.