Some beers come and go, some beers however develop their own life, their own history, their own future. When brewers at Founders Brewing Co, based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, released KBS, they probably thought it would be good, but probably didn’t imagine the fuss it would cause. And when we mean fuss, we mean a queueing-at-dawn, inflated-price-on-internet, blog-post-filling, RateBeer-loved, 100%-scoring beer. It became one of the world’s most sought-after beers. If it sounds like hype, it is, but this was a beer that deserved every superlative adjective. KBS, a bourbon barrel-aged chocolate coffee stout, weighing in at 11.6%, is the best imperial stout in the world. Or is it?
CBS is the Canadian Breakfast Stout. It’s the same base as KBS but, get this, the bourbon barrels it is aged in used to hold maple syrup. Yup. Expect that rich maple syrup balanced by roasted coffee and smooth chocolate notes. Is it as good as KBS? (Even better. Shhh!)
Originally brewing middle-of-the-road beers for a wide and not-terribly-engaged audience, Founders realised that they’d have to change if they wanted to survive. They started making bold and complex beers instead, launching themselves to craft beer fame.
From coffee-infused Breakfast Stout, bourbon barrel-aged Backwoods Bastard and a 15% barleywine called Bolt Cutter, you can’t accuse Founders of being dull. As well as brews that push the boundaries, their lower abv. range is a more accessible introduction and includes the excellent All Day IPA.