Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Saga of Kentucky Breakfast Stout

I have never even seen this beer despite the fact that I'm from Michigan. I'm a fan of Founder's (Grand Rapids, MI). I've been aware of their limited release Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) but have never seen it, tasted it, or really tried to find it. BeerAdvocate rates it a 100/100 and #5 on their list of Top 250 beers. It is described as a "stout is brewed with a hint of coffee and vanilla then aged in oak bourbon barrels for over a year."

This year I noticed a local beer/wine shop posted on Facebook that they had some in stock. I naively thought, "Hmm, maybe I'll stop in after work." 2 hours later, they posted it was all gone. I decided to try and find some. I'd like to try it, and I'd also like to bring some to WI at the end of the month to share with some good beer-drinking friends.

How difficult could it be?
It turns out, quite difficult. I stopped by a grocery store with a good selection after work. When I inquired about it they laughed and said it was long gone, plus you had to be on a waitlist. I called around a little more. 2 places were getting their orders in the next day - one of them also had a waitlist. The other was first-come, first-serve with a 1 bottle/customer limit.
My girlfriend (who is obviously the best ever) also tried to call around when I told her I was in search of KBS. She has some connections and was able to claim a bottle. She sent me this photo. Score!
She tried to get to a couple of stores around the time of their shipments. No luck - cars were literally following the delivery truck. One store sold out of 8 cases in under an hour even with a 1 bottle/customer limit. Due to her diligence and hard work, I managed to get on a waitlist for a second small shipment at a different grocery store. When I spoke with the manager there, he was very kind but sounded pessimistic about my being able to acquire one.

Then I got an excellent email from him saying he was holding an entire 4-pack for me. About 5 days later I got to pick it up. Dave from Meijer = the best.
So. After approximately 14 phone calls, 6 stops in at various stores, and an email, I found myself sitting on top of 5 bottles of KBS. Hard work pays off, kids!

I'm saving a few to bring to Wisconsin but of course had to try it. My dad and girlfriend shared. It poured pitch black with an edge of brown lace. The smell leaped out of the bottle but then settled back. It was primarily of chocolate, but also with bourbon and a little coffee. My gf described it perfectly, "Smooth and creamy with a strong, smoky bourbon flavor and soft chocolate hints." As it warmed, some chocolate and vanilla notes stood out. The flavor was strong and consistent.

Fantastic beer. Glad we made the effort.