Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Founder's KBS. Worth the hype?

So, I missed the KBS train last year... Ill admit it was due to a little bit of ignorance on my part. I just wasn't aware of the excitement the release of this beer generates. Don't get me wrong, I knew it existed but I just wasn't "hip to the hype". So, now that I have finally tasted the beer itself , I'll do a review and tell you whether or not you should go on the hunt for any remaining bottles this year, OR advise whether or not you should prepare yourself for the onslaught of panic that Founder's generates with this yearly release.

Brewery: Founder's

Beer: KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Style: flavored stout brewed with chocolate and coffee aged in bourbon 

ABV: 11.2%

This thing pours jet black with about a half inch of khaki head that quickly dissipated. Minimal lacing down the glass, and I was drinking it slow.

On the nose, the bourbon aroma was not overpowering at all (Which, if im being honest I was a bit worried about as im not a HUGE fan of bourbon barrel aged ales... Im sorry, JEEZ!). The coffee stands out first, then I got the chocolate and finally the bourbon to really round it off. In that order. Seriously the aromas don't blend they just kind of manifest themselves from the inky depths (nice, right?) of deliciousness that is this beer.

I was surprised at first taste because again, I expected the bourbon to really outshine the coffee and the chocolate. I am such a huge fun of Founders' Breakfast Stout that, I didn't want the bourbon to take away from that beer too much. Not the case with KBS, the bourbon really enhances it. As with the aromas, I noticed the coffee flavor first. Then, the chocolate really "melts" across the palate (I'm a nerd but that was a nice chocolatey description right?). And, finally the bourbon sneaks in and adds a nice sweetness to the overall beer. Very nice, not overpowering at all it really ties everything together ("That rug really tied the room together Dude.") Over all, this is perfectly blended. I really liked this beer.

So, is it worth the hype?

In my opinion? Yes. Yes it is... Now do you need to bend over backwards trying to find it when its released? Thats a tough call, I think that if you've never had it then yes do what you can to find it. You most likely wont be disappointed. I got lucky, and contacted my local bottle shop (DEP'S in Fort Thomas) via email a couple weeks before the release date and made sure I got my name on a 4 pack. I was contacted when it was available. This is most likely your best bet, do the legwork first, don't go hunting from shop to shop. Call, tweet, email, Facebook... Contact the places you shop at regularly, and find out if they are getting any. If they are, find out if you can reserve some. Even if its only a bottle or 2... You'll be happy you did. People really go crazy for this beer, I get it. It's super good ("super good"being a technical term). I promise you'll have difficulty finding it otherwise. Unless you know where to look and what you're looking for I guess... I haven't seen any more KBS around so, it might be gone until 2014. My point is: Plan, research, and attack.

On the other hand, if you're a serious beer nerd perhaps the hunt is part of the game. In that case, this is the beer to hunt for. Don't waste your time and energy on Hopslam at the beginning of the year. You wont have any trouble finding that... And, honestly there are better beers to get excited about. Don't get me wrong Hopslam is a FINE beer. I really like it. But don't stress about it.... The amount of hype and panic that beer generates should seriously be reserved for beers like KBS... I'm stepping down off my soapbox now.

Anyway, I've got 2 bottles left that are screaming at me from the fridge. It's going to take a lot of effort not to open them. My goal is to have one next year to compare the aged version to the 2014 release... Fingers crossed...


Suds Anonymous

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

That one time I achieved beer nerd nirvana...

Two weeks ago, the wife surprised me with an early birthday/anniversary present. A mini "beercation" to my favorite brewery, Three floyds!

Before making the trek which I was extremely excited about, I did some research (which was basically just reading reviews of the brewpub on Yelp) and I got a bit nervous. I found that most of the reviewers experienced a terribly long wait at the brewpub and awful service... 

Here is how our experience went:
We arrived in Munster, IN at 10:30 Cincinnati time and quickly realized it was only 9:30 in Munster. Great! An extree hour of drankin! I was still nervous however because I was fully expecting a 2 hour wait. So we grabbed a taxi and headed to Three Floyds. To my great surprise we walked in and were seated immediately! To say I was pleasantly surprised is the ultimate understatement. There are T.V.'s in the brewpub but they arent showing sports (which, to be honest i was a little disappointed about as it was March Madness...) instead, they show old movies. Sometimes its cult classics, sometimes its Kung Fu. When we got there it was Ghostbusters... Right, count me in lets do this. The music is loud. Not too loud, but loud. I was okay with it as they were playing "Stranger Than Fiction" by Bad Religion in its entirety...

The service was great. I suppose its possible the level of service differs greatly between an extremely busy visit and a laid back visit such as ours. We had no complaints, both beer and food arrived timely and our server was both polite (which, my wife and i were both nervous about as those "hipster" types can be a little condescending at times.. You say you haven't noticed that? Just me? Thats weird.. anyway) and nice. Great service. Zero stress... ONWARD!
I had already checked to see what was on draft at the brewpub as it was my goal to try the beers I know I can't have anywhere else. I ordered the "Toxic Revolution" a hoppy stout brewed with the creative help of the band Municipal Waste. FANTASTIC! (I'm not reviewing these beers with this post perhaps another time?) This is about our trip/experience.

From there I had "In The Name Of Suffering" a black IPA brewed with the gents from The band Eyehategod. This beer takes its name from the band's record of the same name. Again, an awesome brew.

Among the other fine beers I tasted was a pale ale called "Space Station Middle Finger". My wife liked this one more than I did I found it to be a little "plain Jane". Great name though... We also tried a brown ale called "Sand Pebbles", a saison called "Tonnere Neige". If i'm not mistaken we also tried the "Permanent Funeral" which i'm sure i enjoyed but things were a bit hazy at point.

We each ordered the burger, which we both enjoyed. The fries were good but we weren't there for the food. We finished our drinks, grabbed a 6 pack of Alpha King to go and took a cab to the hotel feeling very satisfied. 

The next morning we took our time with breakfast (which may have been a mistake) and arrived at the brewery around noon. The plan was to stock up on beer and take a tour of the brewery. Our time would have been better served skipping these missions all together for a trip into nearby Chicago. But, we were there for Three floyds...

We waited in line for the to go window for about 90 mins. While in line I snuck to the front of the line for the brew pub which was equally as long if not longer than ours. And put or name on the list for the 2pm brewery tour. Which worked out nicely I guess because just as we finished loading the 4 cases we were bringing home, it was time for the tour to start... 

The tour was short and sweet, I enjoyed it because I'm a huge nerd but, if I'm being honest it can be skipped... Overall in my opinion daytime visits to the brewery are ill advised.

And here's why...

We returned to the brewpub that night AFTER dinner, waited 30 minutes and got seated again. No wait at the to go window either..

In short, Three Floyds brewery and brewpub is definitely worth a visit. Go after the dinner rush for a shorter wait and avoid at all costs during the day on weekends. Get the burger...

Three Floyds Brewpub
9750 Indiana Pkwy
Munster, IN 46321