Name: Founders Brewing Company

Location: Grand Rapids, MI


Type: Production brewery

Available in DC Market: Yes


What you need to know: You probably know this brewery from the yearly mass hysteria they cause when releasing Canadian and Kentucky Breakfast Stouts (the latter of which will be at this year's SAVOR). In 2011, Ratebeer ranked Founders the second best brewery in the world, no small feat. Founders famously makes beer that they like to drink, and they hope you like it, too. Their philosophy is “We don’t brew beer for the masses. Instead, our beers are crafted for a chosen few, a small cadre of renegades and rebels who enjoy a beer that pushes the limits of what is commonly accepted as taste. In short, we make beer for people like us.” Judging from the results, it seems you are like them. This is another Michigan brewery with a huge versatility in the styles it does well. Something in the water up there, maybe?

Beer #1: Backwoods Bastard (Barrel-aged scotch ale / 10.2%)

In Their Own Words: "Expect lovely, warm smells of single malt scotch, oaky bourbon barrels, smoke, sweet caramel and roasted malts, a bit of earthy spice, and a scintilla of dark fruit. It’s a kick-back sipper made to excite the palate."

Food Pairing: Duck sausage (Grilled duck sausage served with crimson cherry chutney.)

Our Thoughts: This is one of my very favorite beers from the Founders portfolio, and it is something I look forward to all year. I think this is actually better than any of the breakfast stout series. Whoa, controversial statement, what's up. The malt flavor here is so complex, and the warming vanilla from the barrels is beautiful. Don't go to the Founders table, I'll be a one-man line all night.

Beer #2: Kentucky Breakfast Stout (Barrel-aged imperial stout / 11.2%)

In Their Own Words: "What we’ve got here is an imperial stout brewed with a massive amount of coffee and chocolates, then cave-aged in oak bourbon barrels for an entire year to make sure wonderful bourbon undertones come through in the finish. Makes your taste buds squeal with delight."

Food Pairing: Espresso-crusted bison on black bread (Bison loin crusted in espresso and seared. Served on a very thin black bread crisp with plum chutney.)

Our Thoughts: If you're on a beer website reading profiles of breweries attending SAVOR, my guess is you probably know everything you need to know about KBS. It is a magnificent beer. I'm not big on coffee stouts (caffeine sensitivity), but this one is an indulgence for me if I can get my hands on it. I recommend you indulge (but not too heavily) in it, too. This will be easy to do when the pairing sounds as good as this one. The chutney will bring a fruitiness to this beer that is normally roast-forward.

This profile is a part of the SAVOR Brewery Profile series. For more information, follow the link to see profiles of all 2014 SAVOR participants.