We are big fans of the Founders Brewing Breakfast Stout which, like all the Founders beers, is very hard to find, especially in the NY area. So we were really excited when a friend of ours recently found a couple of the Founders specialty beers (the Backwoods Bastard and the Imperial Stout) in New Jersey.
First up, the Backwoods Bastard (10.2% ABV) is a beer that any big beer or even wine drinker would like. It's big, bold, with some barrel aging (in bourbon barrels). This mahogany coloured scotch ale has light carbonation, big vanilla and toasty oak, caramel, roasted and sweet malts with lingering sweet vanilla and a bit of alcohol on the finish. An exceptional beer meant to savour. The Backwoods is a rare treat on tap, too if you can find it.
Next up is the Imperial Stout at 10.5% ABV. This is another big Imperial-style stout (brewed with ten varieties of malted barley) that pours thick and dark with a quickly dissipating head out of the bottle. The nose starts off with sweet malt, coffee and chocolate and ends with a long (very long) dry and bitter finish.
The bitter hop and espresso-like finish is amazingly long in a really pleasant way (the equivalent of having a big and round tannic wine that starts off with sweet fruit and ends dry and firm). We would definitely like to try this on cask if it were ever available.
These are not session beers by any means. But they are what you would expect from the exceptional brewers at Founders. Now if they were only available more often. Most of the retailers we have found carrying Founders sell out the same day.
Founders Brewing is located in Grand Rapids, MI. Someday we hope to stop by the tap room for specials like the Canadian Breakfast Stout. Cheers!