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Founders KBS: How a beer becomes a Rock Star

Author: Joshua Bauer

How do you go from brew to myth, especially in the crowded craft beer market of today?

Ask the folks at Founders and maybe they can tell you.

Located in Grand Rapids, MI since it started up in 1997, Founders is responsible for some of the most consistently tasty beers on the market right now. Ranging from the refreshing and easy drinking All Day IPA, to the more challenging and potent Old Curmudgeon Old Ale, to the monstrous might of big brews like the Devil Dancer Triple IPA (touting a big, old 12%ABV). This is a brewery that has managed to consistently stand out in the midst of the masses, but one beer has been elevated above all others in their rather extensive portfolio: Kentucky Breakfast Stout.

KBS: the one that stood at the forefront of the barreling movement in this crazy craft beer culture since its first batch came out in 2002. It starts with Founders already popular Breakfast Stout, a deliciously powerful imperial stout just bursting with flavors of chocolate and espresso. Great enough on its own, for sure, but that’s not enough. No sir.

Founders then cave ages their beer in bourbon barrels for a year… in a secret cave off site… which ensures a constant temperature and controlled environment to allow the beer to absorb the bourbon flavor in the barrels. The resulting concoction is one of those legendary, “you’ve got to try this” type of libations that just assaults your taste buds with layer upon layer of complex flavor.

The run is small (Erie County only had about a dozen kegs total allocated for 2015), so it’s going to cost you a bit more than your average Labatt, but that just adds to the mystique surrounding it. Sure, there are other bourbon barrel stouts on the market (a whole lot, actually), but there’s something about the KBS that somehow raises it above the rest, gives it a following that can almost be described as cult-like.

Like Christmas and the Super Bowl and Groundhog Day, KBS comes but once a year, so it’s best to grab your glass of this infamous dark elixir when you can… if only for boasting rights… and lucky for you, the time of year has come. Saint Founders has arrived and brought the gift of KBS to us once more…

And if you’re looking for a taste of this velvety, bourbony divine nectar, you’re in luck, whether you’re in the city or the surrounding. As is so often the case, leave it to Mike Shatzel to provide when Buffalo beer lovers ask, as he’ll be tapping kegs at two locations (this month): Brennan’s Bowery Bar on Thursday May 21 and at Cole’s the following Thursday, May 28.

The Brennan’s event, located outside the city proper on Transit Rd in Clarence, will actually be turning into a full on Founders beer celebration, with no cover at the door, live local music with The Heenan Brothers and some of the fine folks from Founders Brewery in house to talk about this big brew, as well as offer several other flavors from this standard bearer of the craft market.

In a great beer town like Buffalo, one so alive with burgeoning breweries and beer connoisseurs, to find one particular draught so universally admired that its popularity excites, or at least interests, the entire beer loving population is something to be celebrated, so stop on down wherever you are and get your taste of the fantastic.


Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

Sometimes the authors at Buffalo Rising work on collaborative efforts in order to cover various events and stories. These posts can not be attributed to one single author, as it is a combined effort. Often times a formation of a post gets started by one writer and passed along to one or more writers before completion. At times there are author attributions at the end of one of these posts. Other times, “Buffalo Rising” is simply offered up as the creator of the article. In either case, the writing is original to Buffalo Rising.

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