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Breakfast Stout or Breakfast Doubt?

Just under a year ago, John Fleury, DCist beer writer and resident #dcbrews science nerd, wrote an article about hype. Specifically, the piece covers the hype surrounding rare craft beer releases. Bell’s Hopslam in particular is a topic of discussion in John’s well thought out piece.

Fleury’s article informally charted a trend that saw hype surrounding Hopslam decline. As the dust settled, the DMV realized it was getting more Hopslam this year than last and perhaps that did something to deflate the hype. While the 2012 release of Hopslam will be a true test to the hype trends charted in years past, there is another Michigan beer which recently started cogs spinning in the perpetual hype machine.

That beer is Founders Brewing Company’s Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS). Yesterday, @foundersbrewing CEO Mike Stevens wrote an article outlining some of the rumors and frustrations surrounding the release of this highly touted imperial stout.

A few calls to Virginia retailers, several Total Wine stores and Norm’s Beer and Wine, allowed me to chart my own informal trend: this stout is hard to find. And while I’m sure all of these stores sold their CBS at the prescribed cost, you can find bottles for purchase on ebay, though some are going for above $100 (for shame!).

A quick discussion with Norman Yow, owner of Norm’s Beer and Wine, alerted me to the CBS demand (as if it wasn’t evident all over the interwebs). Norm’s received one case (12 750mL bottles) of CBS and had roughly 50 names on a list—all folks who actively sought out said list and made sure their names were on it. Some folks started asking as early as this summer, others, unfortunately for them, much later.

Are those who asked in the summer more deserving than those who asked more recently? Not necessarily. When I spoke with Norm he was keen on the idea of picking numbers out of a hat- a lottery that was random and showed no preferential treatment. As only 58 cases were shipped to Virginia and the District (Founders doesn’t distribute in Maryland) their time on the shelf will be short and quick.

As Fleury concluded in his piece, Hopslam does live up to its hype. Via email Fleury said CBS “is delicious no doubt. But does it (like Hopslam) deserve *that* much adoration?”

Does CBS live up to the hype? Opinions abound and one thing is sure at this point: demand outweighs supply. What’s your take: “well-deserved” or “don’t believe the hype”? Leave it in the comments.

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