Oct 4, 2011

Beer Release a Big Draw for Founders Brewery.....

Canadian Breakfast Stout
Every so often there will be a contributing writer to this blog. The first, is my Uncle Gary. Gary is lucky enough to live in one of my favorite states for beer (and family members, I have family there, and my wife and her family are as well), Michigan. Uncle Gary was lucky enough to be at Founders Brewing Company (in Grand Rapids) most recent big release, here is what he had to say about it......enjoy.

Beer release a big draw for Founders Brewery

by Gary Morrison

I usually do not drink beer before noon, even on a Saturday, but I made an exception to that rule on October 1 when Founders Brewing Company in Grand Rapids, Mich. offered a limited edition run of its Canadian Breakfast Stout.

The beer is the second release in the company’s 750ml Backstage Series. Prior to CBS, the Brewery released it’s Blushing Monk, a 9.2 percent alc/vol Belgium style ale fermented with pure raspberries.

On the Founders web site, Vice President Dave Engbers said Canadian Breakfast Stout (10.6 acl/vol) is an Imperial Stout brewed with a blend of coffees and imported chocolates, then aged in spent bourbon barrels that most recently been aging pure Michigan maple syrup. The final product has had stellar reviews and is currently the fifth highest rated beer in the world on Beer Advocate.

Lining up!
People began lining up for tickets for the privilege to buy their two-bottle limit as early as 1 a.m., at the close of business of Founders’ taproom. By 7:20 a.m. over 200 people were waiting in line and by 10:45 a.m. the line expanded to almost 660 people. Shortly after, all 850 tickets were distributed.

People came from as far away as California and New York, with many from the surrounding Great Lakes states. Which begs the question: “Was it worth it?”

Wes Hodgson getting his beer from John Merizon
 “Definitely,” said Wes Hodgson who drove to Grand Rapids the day before from Indianapolis, Ind. with his friends Austin Warnock, and Jascha (NLN). “We’re big fans of Founders and this is the first time we’ve been here.”

Warnock said the beer is really good while drinking a glass of CBS in the taproom after getting his allotment, but was going to store his bottles in his cellar for a while and let them age.

Jascha gave his review when he finally tasted CBS in the taproom. “This is malty with a strong coffee flavor. The maple syrup is really downplayed, which gives is a nice balance.

Gretchen Lawn
Gretchen Lawn arrived in line at 5 a.m. with her friends from Cleveland, Ohio. They “follow beer” and love Founders and its Kentucky Breakfast Stout which they can get locally.

“We came to Michigan as part of a brew tour because we don’t think we will be able to get CBS after it’s released on the market,” she said after buying two bottles.

“This is very smooth with a sweet finish. The bourbon comes in at the end. We’ve been standing in 32 degree weather all morning; it’s a nice cold weather beer.”

Tasting while waiting, Brian Hunt in the middle,
 AJ Bougher on the right
Michigan resident A.J. Bougher drove almost an hour for his two bottles and tasting in the tap room. Recently married he had long-term plans for his “treasure.”

“This has a sweetness that is not overpowering,” he said. “I’ll open one bottle for Christmas and age one for at least a year.”

People who did not buy CBS in bottles, but went directly to the taproom instead got their first taste as early as 11 a.m. About 100 or more people were waiting in line as the doors open and after an initial surge; people had to wait from five to 10 minutes for a beer.

VP Dave Engbers
  Founders President Mike Stevens could not believe the response to the release. Standing in the middle of the taproom, surrounded by well over 100 Founders and CBS fans, Stevens said he was impressed by how far people came just to buy their beer.

“In my dreams, I could never imagine this,’ Stevens said. “I’ve talked to people from Florida who came here just for this. It tells me that we are doing something right.”

Yeah, its worth it!
Now back to the initial question: “Was it worth it? Definitely!”

It is not a beer to rush. Relish each sip and with each sip distinguish each of the flavors separately as they cross your palate while realizing “it doesn’t get much better than this.”

The company expects to release one more product in the 2011 Backstage Series later this year.

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