Founders' taproom isn't fancy. Patrons toss their peanut shells on the floor, the wide-open interior echoes, and visitors are more likely to wear jeans and motorcycle boots than dresses and Dockers. But the terrific beer provides more than enough incentive to visit.
The most popular suds are the Centennial IPA and the Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale, both very good with smooth flavor, nice color and creamy foam. The IPA is hoppy without being overly bitter and suggests a floral scent. You'll also find some nice seasonal beers. We sampled a great wet-hopped Harvest Ale in autumn. Breakfast Stout is a winter favorite, and summertime fruit beers are always popular. But Founders focuses on its beloved mainstays most of the year. Watch for small-batch, limited-offering beers when the brewer gets an opportunity to get a little crazy in the fermentation room. Prices start at $4 for a 12-ounce glass.
Founders' kitchen offers table service if you arrive before 3 p.m. After that, customers have to head to the kitchen window to order. Expect good if not fancy pub fare, including French bread pizzas and about two dozen inventive sandwiches ($6-$8). You might just want to nibble on appetizers. We like the beer cheese dip, a gooey mix of Gouda, cream cheese, red peppers and spinach blended with Red's Rye, Centennial IPA and Pale Ale. The dip comes with tortilla chips and toasted breads from local artisanal Nantucket Baking Company.
Expect music from local and regional bands playing everything from jazz to indie rock and electronic funk two or three nights a week. Some performances entail a cover charge.