Sunday, January 6th, 2019

Craft Beer Crosscut 1.6.19: A Flight of Founders Comfort

Ron Swarner


The Seattle Seahawks lost last night’s NFL Wild Card Playoff game. High winds messed with your clock radio (and Peaks and Pints’ website). You need some comfort. Founders Brewing Co. knows. A few years after opening in 1997, the Grand Rapids, Michigan brewery changed course brewing comforting porters, stouts, scotch ales and strong ales aged in boozy barrels. Soon enough, Founders became recognized on the national and international brewing scene, with accolades from Ratebeer, Beer Advocate, and the World Beer Cup. Flavorful, complex, and often stronger than your average pint, Founders’ beers aren’t for everyone, and they don’t claim to be. Instead they make beers for themselves, and we can respect that. That said, today we all need a flavorful, complex and strong craft beer. Peaks and Pints offers a flight of Founders that we call Craft Beer Crosscut 1.6.19: A Flight of Founders Comfort.

Craft Beer Crosscut 1.6.19: A Flight of Founders Comfort

Founders-Porter-TacomaFounders Porter

6.5% ABV, 45 IBU

Founders Porter it’s a near-perfect example of American robust porter. The nose is sweet with strong chocolate and caramel malt presence. On the tongue, it’s smooth, roasty and balanced, but predominantly dry. Strong black coffee roast, bittersweet chocolate and hints of residual sweetness — it’s well balanced with hints of hoppiness. No absence of hops gives Founders’ robust porter full flavor; an example of how Founders brewers took the style of porter and made it their own.

Founders-Barrel-Runner-TacomaFounders Barrel Runner

11.1% ABV

Founders Brewing’s Barrel Runner is the fourth installment in the brewery’s 2018 Barrel-Aged Series. Barrel Runner, a mosaic-hopped ale aged in rum barrel-aged is preceded by Dankwood, Backwoods Bastard and KBS in the series. This is the first time the brewery has released a rum barrel-aged beer in package. “I drink tiki cocktails probably more than I should and looked to them for inspiration when creating Barrel Runner,” said Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki in a news release. “You get a lot of bright, tropical character from the abundance of Mosaic hops plus a nice kick of oak and rum from the barrels. Add a tiny umbrella and you got yourself a beer perfect for enjoying poolside.”

Founders-Canadian-Breakfast-Stout-TacomaFounders 2017 Canadian Breakfast Stout

11.7% ABV, 45 IBU

Founders’ brewers awoke early one day and brewed their Breakfast Stout with flaked oats, chocolate, and two kinds of coffee beans. In 2002, they aged the beer in Jack Daniels barrels, bumped up the ABV and Kentucky Breakfast Stout, or KBS, was born. In 2010, they aged the Breakfast Stout in spent bourbon barrels that had most recently been aging pure Michigan maple syrup. Canadian Breakfast Stout, or CBS, was born, with notes of syrupy malt and strong alcohol. It hits the nose with espresso, booze, vanilla, and wood. On the tongue, it’s chocolate espresso upfront, sweet maple in the middle with a wood booze finish.

Founders-Backwoods-Bastard-TacomaFounders Backwoods Bastard

11.2% ABV, 50 IBU

That the Backwoods is boozier than its little Bastard brother is only a side note; the big distinguishing factor of this Scotch ale is that it is aged in bourbon barrels, with great undertones of vanilla, bourbon, oak and dark fruits. It’s smooth and creamy, with the mouthfeel of a milk stout and the body of a Scotch ale. Let this sweet Bastard sit for a few minutes for a richer taste as it gets warmer, reducing the sugar-sweet fresh-out-of-the-fridge impression and replacing it with a complex depth. The alcohol cuts away any aftertaste while dominating the aromatics. It’s almost like drinking a fine neat.

Founders-Kentucky-Breakfast-Stout-TacomaFounders Kentucky Breakfast Stout

11.8% ABV, 70 IBU

In 2002, Founders dreamed to age their double chocolate, coffee and oatmeal Breakfast Stout in bourbon barrels. A call to Jack Daniels with a request to use their barrels was accepted as long as they picked them up. The first run was a success. Something magical happened in the barrel. The recipe needed refinement since the bourbon notes were overwhelming in the beer. The solution was to create an imperial (higher alcohol content) version of Breakfast Stout. The result is Kentucky Breakfast Stout, or KBS. The aroma is full of gooey chocolate, some smoke and wood notes from the barrel. Thick, full-bodied, it leads with rich and chocolate, boozy warmth and a slight brandy sweetness. It finishes with toasty smokiness and all the depth of a four-tier chocolate cake.