Founders KBS. Still one of the most widely known beers in America. As we roll into the spring filled days of April, KBS is making its national return.
In case you are someone that has never had the joy of Founders KBS, make it your goal this year.
According to Founders, Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) is the most sought after beer they produce in their Grand Rapids, Michigan home. (Counter argument: whisper the letters CBS near a beer geek and see what happens.) The phenomenon can be traced back to over a decade ago.
Over the years of covering KBS releases at Beer Street Journal, we’ve mentioned little pieces of the story of how this beer came to be, and it all starts in 2001. Co-founder Dave Engbers was eating chocolate covered espresso coffee beans that a taproom regular had given him. After washing the beans down with a porter, the meshing of coffee, chocolate, and beer nuances gave him an idea.
The brewery’s other co-founder Mike Stevens called the Jack Daniels distillery and asked for used bourbon barrels to fill with beer. According to Founders, that was a bit of a silly thought in the early 2000s. Those first barrels were filled with Breakfast Stout, another fan favorite, and left to age. The duo were close to mimicking the flavors in found in that taproom epiphany from the previous year. Something was still missing.
The birth of KBS.
We’d like to tell you there was some sort of “Birth of Christ” moment that brought Kentucky Breakfast Stout into the world. Ultimately, like every brewery tweaking recipes it was a few simple changes – the addition of espresso beans and chocolate to a new imperial stout base. The beer phenomenon was born.
The meteoric rise to fame eventually sent the barrel-aging underground to a nearby gypsum mine that Founders uses to age KBS for a full year. What was once just two barrels has grown to 1,000s in order to quell the thirst of the barrel-aged loving horde. Even with a football field’s worth of oak, that still won’t be enough.
Write this down. The 2017 edition of Founders KBS is stunning. Stop listening to some know-it-all that will try to tell you that this beer wasn’t as good as it was (insert year here.) With any barrel-aged beer, there will ALWAYS be minor flavor fluctuations. This isn’t pale ale we are talking about here. This year’s release is big on vanilla flavors, that turn over to a symphony of chocolate and coffee, finishing with a lingering alcoholic heat. This is the good you need in your life.
Founders KBS debuts nationally once again starting April 1st in both bottles and draft. New for 2017 – 750 milliliter bottles.
Do us a favor. Don’t sit on this beer. Don’t wait for some special day in the future that may never come. Open it with friends or loved ones. No better time like today.
Image: Beer Street Journal
Every bit of this is about more bang for your buck. Founders Brewing is introducing the Centennial IPA 15 pack.
Founders Centennial IPA is a year-round release by the Grand Rapids, Michigan based brewery. The 7.2% India pale ale highlights the Centennial hop.
Get ready to bask in the glory of the frothy head’s floral bouquet. Relish the citrus accents from the abundance of dry hopping. This one’s sweet, yet balanced. Malty undertones shake hands with the hop character for a finish that never turns too bitter.
Founders Centennial IPA 15 packs will sell for the same price as the 12 packs. ERP $17.99. Nationally in April, 2017.
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft.
Founders Frootwood kicks off a year of barrel-aged releases by the Grand Rapids, Michigan brewery.
Much of the brewery’s barrel-aged offerings are found in the Backstage Series with a couple of exceptions – the highly desired Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) and Backwoods Bastard. Incidentally, the next big barrel-aged release by Founders, known as Lizard of Koz, debuted in December. Blueberries and bourbon were a great way to finish out a really weird year.
February will bring Founders Frootwood is a cherry ale, aged in maple syrup bourbon barrels. Speaking of which, Founders ages another ridiculously popular beer in maple syrup bourbon – Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS).
A flavor Battle Royale.
From the moment this story hit Beer Street Journal, the discussion was focused around the flavor. Fear of too much cherry. Fear of the beer being too sweet or too boozy. The result? Honestly, a “Battle Royale” of flavor. Each sip pulls you three ways. The main contenders are bourbon, cherries and maple syrup. Every time you think you have it figured out, you’re forced to go back for more. When you hear someone say a beer is “all over the place,” Frootwood is a great example. Sip this one in a rocking chair while pondering the meaning of life.
We took a crisp, light-bodied cherry ale and hid it away in oak barrels that held both bourbon and maple syrup. After a lengthy sting, it emerged a changed beer, blanketed in notes of warm vanilla and earthy sweetness. The wood proves itself the star of this beer, adding depth and taming the tart cherry while the maple imposes a velvety texture that lingers for not a moment too long.
A few things to note, Founders Frootwood is a 12 ounce and 750 milliliter bottle release, as well as draft. Part of a newly branded “Barrel Aged Series” which will be the new monicker for the brewery’s barrel-aged lineup in 2017 forward. On shelves starting in late January.
PIC: Beer Street Journal
Founders Devil Dancer, the brewery’s “triple” India pale ale, has been cut from the 2017 lineup, along with Pale Ale.
The IPA world is constantly changing, and beer fan’s tastes along with it. Devil Dancer was one of the hoppiest in the brewery’s lineup – hopped for 26 straight days, with 10 different hop varieties.
“When you dance with the Devil the Devil don’t change. You do. Massive in complexity, the huge malt character balances the insane amount of alphas used to create it. At an incredible 112 IBU’s it’s dry-hopped with a combination of ten hop varieties. This one can age with the best of them. “
2017 is bringing change. The brewery is realigning barrel-aged beers like KBS and forthcoming Frootwood under the Barrel-Aged Series moniker, as well as placing extra focus on All Day IPA, and their canned offerings.
Founders Mosaic Promise will be promoted to a canned offering in 2017. The beer was originally an ArtPrize series offering in 2014. ArtPrize is the largest art competition in the world that is held in Grand Rapids, Michigan,
Mosaic Promise is brewed with a just one malt (Golden Promise), and a single hop (Mosaic).
Mosaic Promise showcases two unique ingredients: Mosaic hops and Golden Promise malt. The versatility of the hop’s pleasing aroma and flavor characteristics and the traditional barley’s depth of flavor comprise this clean, rich, golden beer. We can brew complex beers with the best of them, but we recognize that there is also beauty in simplicity.
Founders Mosaic Promise is once again available in 12 ounce bottles and draft until September, 2016.
Style: Pale Ale
Malts: Golden Promise
Availability: 12oz Cans, Draft. Seasonal release.
Can Debut: Fall, 2017
5.5% ABV, 50 IBUs
Founders All Day IPA, the Grand Rapids, Michigan based brewery’s highly successful “session” IPA, has had a busy few years.
The first release of the beer over two years ago found fans clamoring for it. Not every state was lucky enough to get it. The next round apparently sold as fast as it shipped.
Not long after that, Founders canned All Day IPA in 12 packs. Then, just to one-up themselves, the brewery released 15 packs that sell for the exact same price.
In 2017, Founders All Day IPA might see a brand new format – 19.2 ounce cans. To date, Founders has not released cans larger than 12 ounces. By the sound of it, this new format is targeted for ballparks, arenas, and convenience stores.
The beer you’ve been waiting for. Keeps your taste satisfied while keeping your senses sharp. An all-day IPA naturally brewed with a complex array of malts, grains and hops. Balanced for optimal aromatics and a clean finish. The perfect reward for an honest day’s work and the ultimate companion to celebrate life’s simple pleasures.
Currently, Founders All Day IPA is available in 12 ounce bottles and draft, year-round. The new format has not yet been discussed by the brewery.
Availability: 12oz Bottles, 12oz Cans, Draft. Year round.
Debut (19.2oz): Early, 2017
Founders Azacca, a single hopped India pale ale and seasonal offering by the Grand Rapids, Michigan brewery is now available in cans.
The Azacca hop originated in Washington state. In the case of Founders Azacca IPA, Yakima-based Roy Farms. It’s a very tropical (citrus/mango) flavored hop, that recently has become quite popular in the brewing community. The beer first appeared as a seasonal release in early 2016.
Named after the Haitian god of agriculture, the azacca hop has an intense tropical aroma with hints of citrus and mango. A touch of caramel malt gives a sweet backbone to support the righteous fruit character of this beer. Pouring a burnt orange color and registering at 7% ABV, your taste buds will worship the heavenly, hopped delight.
Founders Azacca India Pale Ale was last available seasonally until March of this year. Now, the tropical IPA is back in action in 15 pack cans. 12 packs are so 2014.
Availability: Draft. 12oz Cans
Release (Cans): December, 2016