Monday, August 29, 2011

Founder's Breakfast Stout: a little slice of Heaven

Founders Brewing Company out of Michigan has over the last few years established themselves as one of America's very best craft breweries, especially of stouts. Difficult to find beers such as their KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) get beer geeks raving, but even their year-round "standard" beers are pretty kick-ass, notably Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale and Centennial IPA.

My favorite, though, is by far their Breakfast Stout, a double chocolate coffee oatmeal stout. Yeah, you read that right. It's only available between September and December, tends to disappear from the shelves fairly quick depending on where you live, and is worth spending a few weeks in a war-torn country just to try.

This is a big, tasty stout, though I wondered if it would be when I first poured the glass. The aroma had hints of coffee and roasted chocolate, but neither were overpowering.

The taste, though. Yeah, the taste. While it's true this is like a meal in a glass, the important part is that it's like a delicious meal in a glass. You don't initially taste strong chocolate or coffee; they're just hints in an impressive weave of roasty flavor. They're rich and full and strong, yet they never punch you in the face. The beer is perfectly balanced, tasting like a complex stout with smokey nuances and a smoothness (probably brought on by the chocolate) that belies its bitterness. Very impressive. Hyped beers often don't live up to the hype. This one does.

The bottom line is, this is a stupidly good stout that really would make a great breakfast if it weren't for the alcohol. It offers a strong and complex yet not overpowering taste. None of the boasted flavors (chocolate, coffee, oatmeal) are so prominent that they scream "look at me," instead mixing into a pleasing and heady beverage.

Believe the hype.

Founder's Breakfast Stout should be hitting stores in a few weeks.

(2013 edit: The last year years,Founder's Breakfast Stout has changed a bit, with the coffee being much more out front, at times being the dominant flavor. Still delicious, but certainly a bit different.)

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