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