As we move ever closer to the Stout Drought, one of the most anticipated releases of the Stout season is upon us. Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS to most of us) brewed by Founders Brewing, has been available in it’s home turf in Michigan for almost a month now. Our friends from Founders Brewing gives KBS it’s own week in March with bottle releases and special tappings. April brings the nationwide release of KBS. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the first North Carolina tapping of 2016 KBS on Friday evening (April 1). Bull McCabe’s in Durham, NC was given the honor because of their ongoing commitment to the Founders lineup and the fact that they were the volume leader for Founders in NC in 2015. Mrs. Stoutwhisperer and I took the 30 minute drive to the Bull City to Bull McCabe’s. It was crowded, but not mobbed. They were pouring small (4 oz.?) snifters to insure everyone received an opportunity to sample this year’s vintage. I bellied up to the bar, ordered 2 KBS snifters for myself and a lager for Mrs. S (she isn’t a stout fan). I ran into Jessie R., the Founders representative for North Carolina, who was greeting everyone and handing out Founders swag. She commented on my KBS t-shirt (pictured above along with my KBS glasses) and we started talking about KBS, the hoopla around the release and how Bull McCabe’s got the honors as the first NC establishment to tap KBS. She shared that a Charlotte location was tapping a keg on Sunday and that the bottle sales would begin on Tuesday. Jessie was rightfully proud of all the excitement around the release and I congratulated her on a great event.
I sat back down and began to savor the first snifter. As you can see in the picture, there wasn’t much head in the pour, which was fine due to the size of the snifters. I couldn’t get much aroma, but that was probably due to the fact that I was outside at a patio table where it was a bit breezy. However, the taste was spot on! A slight bourbon taste, some coffee and chocolate notes, a nice mouthfeel, and a smooth aftertaste told me that Founders had found just the right balance of stout and bourbon aging. After I finished the first snifter, the second one affirmed my thoughts…..the 2016 KBS vintage is a winner!
Now comes the annual scramble for KBS bottles…..Tuesday apparently will be the first day in North Carolina where we all try and hope our timing aligns with the delivery of KBS. Most stores will ration bottles to 1 or 2 bottles per person. Some allow 4-packs to be purchased. No matter the quantity, I wish everyone the best of luck in their KBS search and that everyone who wants KBS gets at least one bottle! If you aren’t in the right place at the right time, I expect there will be special KBS release parties throughout April so you will get some additional chances to savor that special stout elixir called KBS!!
Special Stoutwhisperer thanks to the good people at Bull McCabe’s and to Jessie R. and the Founders Brewing team for their hospitality! Mrs. Stoutwhisperer and I had a great time!
Note: For a really interesting article on how KBS is cellar aged, see this story by Robert Allen of the Detroit Free Press……great reading!!