DSC02406From Westy 12 to Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout…this is shaping up to be “Fantastic Beer Week” at The Captain’s Chair!

Until recently, Founders was one of those highly revered craft breweries that was unfortunately not distributed in the Twin Cities, along with the likes of Stone, DFH, Three Floyds, and Russian River. Beer geeks far and wide drove countless miles to more beer-friendly locales to get it (i.e. Hudson, Wisconsin), spending loads of money and savoring every last drop until their next venture out.   

That all changed recently, and we now have ready access to what seems to be Founders’ entire line of year-round and seasonal offerings. I’ve been slowly procuring and sampling their stuff, and from what I’ve had to date, I’ve not been disappointed. A very solid brewery.

In that same vein, their entire line of Breakfast Stouts is amazing. To commemorate their launch in the Twin Cities, their local distributor held a handful of tasting events at Twin Cities bars, and I was fortunate to try the fairly rare Canadian Breakfast Stout over at The Muddy Pig. Over-the-top and aggressive with its intense aromas and massive ABV, but I completely admired it in an appreciative, beer geek kind of way. I’ve also had a few bottles of their original Breakfast Stout on my beer shelf for some time now, a very well-rounded beer. But their Kentucky Breakfast Stout, the most highly rated of the bunch (currently #8 on Beer Advocate’s “Top Beers on Planet Earth” list), has always eluded me.  

I stumbled upon it, or should I say it stumbled upon me, down at Dark Lord Day in April when an extraordinarily soused woman came over to our little group camped out on the lawn in front of the brewery, looking to make some beer trades. Fortunately, I’d brought along a load of Surly stuff for just that reason, and after a quick conversation I convinced her to trade a bottle of KBS for a can of Surly Furious and Bitter Brewer. Quite a value for me, and she was clearly pleased with her end of the bargain considering she’d never had any Surly. I like when everyone walks away happy.

I popped KBS to see how it stacked up to some other imperial stouts I’ve been imbibing of late, including my own. Poured very thick with minimal head. The “Kentucky” in the name comes of course from the fact that they age the beer in oak bourbon barrels for an entire year. Big bourbon, vanilla and caramel in the nose, tempered by some chocolate and coffee. I love one reviewer’s comments on Beer Advocate — “Like getting beaten over the head with a sack of fresh Colombian coffee and then getting a swirly in a bourbon barrel.” The taste is silky smooth, expertly balanced considering the 11.2% ABV and 70 IBUs. Tons of dark, roasted coffee and chocolate. It’s basically everything in an imperial stout I look for…rich, warm and pleasing with infinite depth in complexity. The mouthfeel was the only surprising aspect, not as viscous as I would have expected up front.

You’d be a fool to miss this one.

Rating: A+