Founders Rare Tasting at Big Hunt
If you were there, you loved it. If you weren’t, well, you should be sobbing in a corner right now.
Founders Brewing Company was providing the District-area masses with some of their most sought after beer at The Big Hunt on Wednesday night. It was an event that brought out some of the biggest beers in the Founders lineup, and their National Sales Manager Michael Bell was there to tell you a bit about each one.
The lucky few that made it were able to enjoy Backwoods Bastard, Canadian Breakfast Stout, Devil Dancer, Black Biscuit, and Breakfast Stout, which was the gentlest of the bunch at 8.3% ABV.
Myself and 4 other members of the J Street Beer crew were there to take part in an epic session of huge beer glory. And, since our bias knows no bounds, we’re here to tell you what we thought of all of them.
Tonzi– Deep brown and slightly red with a deep malty aroma. The flavor was incredible. Malty, syrup, mild bitter, clingy mouthfeel, vanilla and bourbon after taste. It left me wanting more. Definitely my favorite.
X– really smooth without being too big of a taste, love the bourbon and especially the vanilla.
Shintern1909– Great beer — in fact, if whoever decided the order of beers was a baseball manager, they would have been sacked for leading off with their best. The beer starts off smooth with a good vanilla taste and finishes with a slight bourbon burn. Evidently they age the beer in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels in local underground mines for 3-4 months. My new favorite Founders.
DonVonMatterhorn– Tastes just like it smells, DELICIOUS. Oak Bourbon taste, vanilla syrup, and light carbonation among other things. The sales manager said they did not have a flagship beer. Well, this should be it.
samdinning– My favorite beer of the night, Backwoods Bastard warms the throat with its delicious taste of bourbon. It’s just bitter enough to stay fairly balanced and interesting, but the bite never overwhelms the smoothness from start to finish. If anyone needed to be sold on how good Founders could be, this is the beer I would give them.
Canadian Breakfast Stout
Tonzi– Pitch black with a big smoky, malty, sweet aroma. It was nice and creamy. A sweet syrupy flavor. A lot of coffee. Mild smoke and vanilla with a bourbon finish. Great beer.
X– the coffee and smokyness helps hide the alcohol. I really appreciate the craftsmanship that went into this beer but almost too intense for more than a 10oz glass.
Shintern1909– Keeping with the “batting order” analogy, this beer should be third in the order. It’s fantastic, but unfortunately, it followed the Backwoods Bastard, so I had already been wow-ed. It has a strong smokey/coffee taste, which is brilliant if that is what you are expecting and want. The difference between the CBS and their regular Breakfast Stout is that the CBS is stored in bourbon barrels that have also been used to store Bliss Maple Syrup.
DonVonMatterhorn– Chocolate oats, coffee and oatmeal. Subtly rich and sweet. Nice dark black color. Fairly good. Then again I don’t like coffee flavored beer.
samdinning– Similar to the Backwoods, CBS had a smooth bourbon taste, but this time it was mixed with the intense flavor of coffee and just a bit of smoke. The coffee stayed with me even after the beer was gone, finish rather dry with some sweetness from the bourbon.
Tonzi– Nice bronze color with slight cloudiness. The aroma was a strong citrusy hop with a little malty sweetness. Flavor was heavy hops, bitter and citrus, floral, syrupy, malty, clingy mouthfeel. It crushed your mouth with hoppiness, but it had enough malt to keep your mouth from completely drying out.
X– wow. So much of so much.. Fruity aroma, but overwhelming taste. Lingers too long. Not too hoppy, but I can still taste it 15 minutes after finishing the beer.
Shintern1909– Tonzi had it right when he said, “It’s got balls.” This beer is too overwhelming for me. It was overly complex and felt like it was burning my throat after each taste. Some might swear by it, but it’s just not for me. This one should have been the second beer in the order — sometimes it hits it out of the park, other times it just sets the stage for the third and fourth batters.
DonVonMatterhorn– Intense full flavor of citrus and pine. Hoppy as hell. It has a perfunctory caramel and toasted malt base so it does not completely overwhelm you.
samdinning– For a 13.2% triple IPA, it could have been a lot more intense. But when sold as the alternative to triple IPAs that you need to push away between sips, I’m not buying it. There was a ton going on in this beer, which made it interesting sip by sip, but more than one would be tough.
Tonzi– Deep maroon in color with a malty slightly spicy aroma. It was thick, malty and bready with a bitter finish. Good, but not great. I’m not totally convinced it was actually Black Biscuit.
X– smooth, good nutty/fruity mix. Strong ale finish lingers on the tongue.
Shintern1909– Bell described this beer as the “love child between an Imperial Porter and a Strong Ale.” I definitely tasted the bitterness of a strong ale at the front and could drink this in quantity if it wasn’t 10%. This should have either been the lead off or the fifth in the order.
DonVonMatterhorn– roasted biscuit malts hit right up front, some half-muted fruit flavors, molasses flavor. Nice chocolate finish.
samdinning– A little bit better, but compared to the last three we’d had, this was nothing. Perhaps because of what it followed, Black Biscuit really just seemed like a break rather than a terribly interesting beer.
Tonzi– Pitch black like it’s Canadian cousin. A nice smoky sweet aroma. Lots of coffee and chocolate flavor. A mild smokiness and creamy sweet taste. Delicious.
X– this smell is just phenomenal, great coffee stout. So dark, so thick, so wonderful. I could easily replace my morning coffee with this.
Shintern1909– Honestly, when I think of Founders, I think of their two Breakfast Stouts. Much like the CBS, this one is thick, has a strong coffee taste, and ends smoothly. It doesn’t seem to have as much going on as the CBS. I probably would have lead off with this one.
DonVonMatterhorn– Not as sweet (syrupy) as the CBS. More coffee kick. My least favorite of the group.
samdinning– This was a classic coffee stout, with none of the sweetness of the CBS. Where CBS was deliciously balanced, this was still good, but all coffee. Like the Black Biscuit, it didn’t benefit from coming after much more complex beers, but it was still good as long as you know what you’re in for.
There were also a couple other Founders products available for purchase. It truly was a Founders Night, and a night that you should’ve been a part of.
Be sure to look for any and all of these tasty beverages. Some are hard to find, but well worth the search.
Thanks Founders! Thanks Big Hunt!