Friday, December 23, 2005

R.I.P., Founders'...

Alas, the brewpub Founders', located on King Street in Old Town, Alexandria, will soon be no more. I heard of the impending demise in an email I received on Wednesday from Barbara Gerovac, the latest (and last) Founders' brewmaster:

Dear Beer Fans,

Founders' is closing operations at 607 King Street on December 31, 2005 due to losing our lease. However, we have lots of beer on hand and we're opening for one last blowout for the Beer Club on Saturday, January 7th!

That evening from 5 to 9 pm, you can drink all the beer you want for just 10 dollars! Each club member is allowed to bring one guest at the same price. We'll provide a complimentary appetizer buffet, too.

Let's drain the tanks to the last drop!


The email implicates a loss-of-lease scenario, leaving open the possibility of relocation, but nothing in this or any subsequent communication implies that this welcome alternative will be the case. Sad. Founder's has struggled on the long and arduous road out of the red since it opened in March of 2003 as the only brewpub in the increasingly gentrified Old Town area of Alexandria. Bill Madden (of Capitol City fame) did a stint at Founders' recently, introducing his Big Al Imperial IPA for an all too short run of a few months before he split to pursue non-brewing related interests. Before he left, Bill implemented the above-mentioned Beer Club, whereby for a nominal annual fee, members got a jumbo glass fill at the happy hour price of the regular pint fill, any time, plus a free meal on his or her birthday. Nice.

Barbara replaced Bill a few months ago, coming from the Shenandoah Brewing Company, home of the infamous and highly sought after Chocolate Donut Beer. Unfortunately, Barbara's time with Founders' is coming to an end before she has had a chance to really demonstrate her talent.

The tragedy is compounded by the fact that this brewpub is/was located just across the Potomac from DC, about a half mile off the Custis Trail, which made for a nice 25 to 30 mile round trip ride from Falls Church or Arlington, especially on our weekly Tuesday Night Swill rides.

This bit of bad news, coupled with a similar fate likely to befall Dr. Dremos in '07, hits hard at a time that's usually reserved for alcohol-enhanced cheer. Why the hell can't all the Starbucks fold up and leave town?
Better Days - A Stop on Last Year's WUSS Tour de Swill

Update of Sorts: If you're planning on helping Founders' with their unanticipated excess beer dilemma, the subsequent email from the brewmaster reprinted below may be of interest to you. I particularly dig the Russian proverb she quotes.

Hello, Beer Fans,

I've just filtered and put on tap the last Founders' beer. The 125th brew is a Munich style Helles lager.

I think of Helles as the Goldilocks of lagers. It's a lovely golden color -- not too light, not too dark. The body is not too heavy, not too light. The balance of hops and malts is, well, balanced. Everything about this beer is Just Right.

This holiday season, keep in mind the Russian saying:

The church is near but the road is icy. The tavern is far away but I will walk carefully.


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