Every March, in the midst of winter's (theoretical) last stand, a much-longed-for event occurs: the annual release of
Founders Brewing Co.'s Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Or, Founders KBS for short.
What started as an experiment in Kentucky Bourbon barrels has evolved into one of the most anticipated releases on
the beery calendar. With a perfect 100 on RateBeer and being considered one of the highest-rated beers in existence
it's no surprise that it's highly coveted. It's truly worthy of its celebration even if camping outside in the
Michigan cold just to be one of the first to get it may be a bit much.
A beer as fine as this is not achieved without special care. The makers add two kinds of Belgian chocolate and two
locally-roasted coffees to even further enhance the chocolate and coffee notes. Oats are added to the malt-bill for
a creamy, viscous mouthfeel. But it's the pièce de résistance, the final step, the grand finale that gives this
beer--this brewery--its reputation as being one of the stalwarts of the industry: the Kentucky Bourbon barrel.
Tucked away deep inside gypsum caves only miles from the brewery in Grand Rapids, the barrels from the likes of Jim
Beam or Maker's Mark hold the beer for a year. This year-long aging process allows the beer to take on the oak
tannins from the barrels. The Bourbon also imparts a bit of its flavour into the beer which is why the brewers will
only select barrels from Bourbons they actually like. No moonshine here!
Of course, barrel-aging is not unique to Founders. Barrel-aging adds a certain depth to a beer, a certain complexity
that just can't be matched in regular tanks. It didn't take long for others to catch on and these days it's easy to
find beers aged in everything short of an old boot. But Founders was doing it before it was cool; before people
thought they liked it.
Founders aims for consistency in each year's production; the stable temperatures and a climate controlled unit within
the caves ensure it. Blending is necessary because the longer a barrel held the Bourbon the more its flavours will
influence the beer. Therefore, after the brewers taste-test (what a job!) each barrel, the contents are blended for
This year's version has finally reached our shores after being
released Stateside on April 1st. Whilst the beer is suitable for aging (and at 12.4% will likely outlast a meteor
strike) it's more than lovely to drink now. Either way, it's a beauty that should be celebrated now and in the years
Father’s Day, 19th June 2022, is the special date in the calendar when we celebrate and give a nod to the Dads in our lives. It’s an excuse to spoil them with a little something to say thank you for being awesome. If you’re looking for inspiration for a craft beer-loving Dad, then check out our top 7 Father’s Day beer gifts.
Every year, Beer Hawk releases a lineup of limited edition craft beer mixed cases for the holiday season. This year's lineup of festive Christmas beer gifts is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.
Remember the childhood excitement of opening a new door on your advent calendar every day in the run up to Christmas? It gave each day a little sparkle of festive magic, even though those tiny chocolates behind the doors were always a bit rubbish. How would you like to recapture that childhood magic, but with bottles of delicious beer instead of powdery chocolate? Sounds amazing, right? In that case, you need to get your hands on our Craft Beer Advent Calendar.
Pairing beer and food together isn’t all rules and science. That would make for a terribly boring dinner party! Instead, it’s the art of taking a good beer, some good food and partnering them together to make something even better. It’s the adventure of discovering what works, what doesn’t and what you like. It’s you taking a bite, taking a sip and then declaring your undying love for that imperial stout and chocolate cake.
Barrel-ageing beers is not a new thing, but it is getting more and more popular, and has probably never been as inventive. Adrian Tierney-Jones explores the new wave of ageing beer in wood
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