Apr 13, 2012

World Class Beer, Founders KBS

The "greatest"!!
World Class is a phrase we hear a lot these days, too often I think. Much like “hero”, “amazing”, or “hilarious”. These terms for things once held up as extraordinary, feats of great accomplishment are now used randomly to describe everyday occurrences and run of the mill mediocre-ness. World Class is just one of these phrases, especially when you work in the Corporate World like I do. It’s really hard now to imagine now when someone suggests a new restaurant to you, and they describe it as “amazing”, is it really? I mean, if a basket of chicken wings is “amazing” to you, how would you describe the Grand Canyon, or the miracle of child birth?

These are terms and phrases I try not to use, for that very reason. They become watered down, every day expressions, and when you are trying to describe something that is truly amazing, or out of this world, what do you have left? “Man, this is amazing, and I really mean it this time” just doesn’t do it justice.

The "Greatest"?
However, recently, I was treated to a beer, that I can truly say is “world class”, extraordinary, a real piece of brewing art. I am referring to Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout). Currently ranked #10 on Beeradvocates all time best list (that is World Wide, not just the states) (it also holds the distinction of having the most reviews of any beer in the top 10, making the ranking that much more impressive, at least in my opinion)

A little history of this beer. It’s listed as an Imperial/Double Stout. It’s brewed with coffee and chocolate, then put in bourbon barrels and aged almost 100 feet below the city of Grand Rapids in old tunnels. You can check out a video tour of the tunnels here!

Recently, I had the pleasure of spending Easter Sunday with my family. Including my wife and two beautiful girls, my parents, and my dad's older brother, whom you know as Roving Beer Czar reporter Uncle Gary and his wife, my Aunt Linda. Gary emailed me a week before he headed west, and asked me if I would like anything in particular from Michigan’s fine selection of outstanding brewers (that isn’t just another superfluous superlative either, there really are a number of outstanding brewing going on in Michigan). He mentioned he would try to get some KBS, I had been dying to trying it, but I also knew it is almost impossible to get your hands on these days, so I didn’t get my hopes up, till he emailed me back a few hours before he left to tell me he had a bottle!! To say I was looking forward to it would be a vast understatement.

Uncle Gary and I
So, Sunday afternoon, my dad, Uncle Gary and I retired to the back patio, for some cigars, beer and baseball. First up, was my lone bottle of KBS! I was excited! Dad handed me a glass, and Uncle Gary popped the top, and poured it out into my glass. It poured a very rich, dark (almost black) brown, into my glass, with very little, almost no carbonation at first, with a thin settling ring of almost brown, thick head rimming the glass at the end of the pour.

The smell was, to say the least, very inviting, one of the best aromas of any beer I’ve had the pleasure of entertaining! (The very best was St Bridget’s Porter, from Great Divide, which, I don’t believe they make anymore, sadly). The aroma was very complex, with lots of strong bourbon notes, vanilla, and coffee, with a strong alcohol presences right up front. I normally like to enjoy the aroma of my beer for a bit, give the beer time to breath, in this case, that was not easy!

After what can only be describe as not nearly enough time to settle, I took my first sip, and it was every bit of what I was expecting, and more from the aroma! A very strong bourbon flavor, with just a ton of coffee, and very dark roasted chocolate. You could really taste the alcohol in the beer, but it was more of that warm, inviting alcohol, not that strong, over powering alcohol you get from a sip of Jose Cuarvo. This was just so pleasant to sip, and smell, and just enjoy throughout the entire glass. Noticing the changes in the aroma and flavor as the beer warmed. From the very first smell, and sip, this beer rocketed to the top of my all time favorites list, and by the bottom of the glass, it had firmly cemented its position there!

Some of our beers we sampled Sunday
I have always loved Founders, from the very first time I tried one of their great beers. Lucky me, it happened to be a Devil Dancer, a ridiculously strong, Imperial/Double IPA we had a few days after our wedding while out with my wife’s Maid of honor and her husband. This brewery is held in very high regard, and they continue to remind me why with every one of their great beers! Their Imperial Stout is great as well!

Founders Imperial Stout is very good as well

So, for those folks lucky enough to live within the distribution of Founders Brewing Company (check out thier Beer Locator here to see if you do), please, keep a close eye out for their beers. While you may not be lucky enough to stumble upon a KBS, CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout, currently #3 on the all time best list) or Devil Dancer, you can’t go wrong with any beer in their impressive lineup (at least I haven’t yet). I did read that after somewhat of a little hysteria at the last KBS release party, Founders has promised to triple the production from now on, to soften the demand for it, thank god!

These guys (and gals)at Founders have taken to brewing as an art form, and showcase what can really be done at the hands of a master. Hat tip to them, please, keep it up!

Learn more about Founders, and thier great line up of beers on thier website here.

Founders Brewing Company is located  at

235 Grandville Ave SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Phone Number 616.776.2182

email: mailto:info@foundersbrewing.com

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