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Founders Brewing has released a preview of their 2018 Calendar. Check out the initial lineup!

Some notable changes of particular interest:

  • Breakfast Stout and Backwoods Bastard will be available year-round. Yep, that’s right, you won’t have to wait for either of these going forward! Well, sort of. Breakfast Stout will not go away and will continue through the New Year, while Backwoods Bastard will make its timeless debut in just a few months. Not bad!
  • It’s not indicated on this first availability calendar, but they will be offering Solid Gold, All Day IPARubaeus and all of their seasonal beers, which include Mosaic PromiseAzacca IPA and PC Pils, in 6-pack cans.
  • DOUBLE TROUBLE RETURNS! By popular demand, they’re delivering. This notorious Imperial IPA will make its return in May 2018.
  • They are launching the “Mothership Series,” a brand-new taproom carryout. These beers will range from classics like the inaugural release, Red’s Rye IPA, to experimental new styles. These will only be available for carryout in 6-pack bottles at the taproom locations.
  • Saying goodbye to some favorites, like Imperial Stout, Curmudgeon and reDANKulous although we’d like to think of it as ‘until we meet again.’ Because, let’s be real, Founders’ brings back old faves all the time!
  • Green Zebra was such a hit it’s coming back around. This gose-style ale, brewed with watermelon and sea salt, was named one of VinePair’s 50 best beers of 2017!
  • The Barrel-Aged Series returns and, with it, four new releases that we look forward to sharing with you in 2018.

 

Founders announced their 2017 availability calendar today, confirming several momentous changes to the brewery’s lineup. The year ahead also holds significant importance as the brewery’s 20th anniversary year.

Beginning in 2017, Founders will launch a brand new series that celebrates their highly regarded barrel-aging program, which is responsible for popular beers like KBS and Backwoods Bastard. Throughout the year, they will be releasing six different barred-aged beers, including KBS in April 2017 and Backwoods Bastard in November 2017.

Details about three of the additional beers in the series will come later in the year, but today the brewery announced the first release, Frootwood.

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Frootwood is a cherry ale aged in oak barrels that have previously held both bourbon and maple syrup. Frootwood will be available in some states as early as January, with remaining states seeing it by February. Founders plans to release it in the taproom on January 25, 2017 and it will have a suggested retail price of $14.99/4-pack and $11.99/750mL bottle. The entire Barrel-Aged Series lineup will be offered in both 750mL bottles and 4-packs of 12oz bottles.

foundersFounders will also release their entire seasonal lineup in 15-pack cans, in addition to 6-pack bottles, beginning with Azacca IPA in January 2017, though some regions may see it even sooner. Azacca IPA will be available January – March; PC Pils will be available April – August; Mosaic Promise will be available September – December.

foundersAll Day IPA will also be offered in a new package, a 19.2oz single-serve can, beginning in early 2017. All Day IPA has seen tremendous growth since it was first packaged back in 2012 and that momentum informed the brewery’s decision to begin canning it in 2013. Founders has since been the first in craft to release the 15-pack of cans with All Day IPA and looks to expand upon its success with the 19.2oz single-serve can format, which customers can expect to find at venues like convenience stores, ballparks and arenas.

“We are amazed at what 2017 looks like for the brewery,” says Co-Founder and President Dave Engbers. “Mike and I see the launch of the Barrel-Aged Series and the continued growth of All Day IPA as the culmination of years of hard work and sticking to our guns. We can’t think of a better way to kick-off our 20th anniversary.”

The 2017 calendar also reflects the departure of Pale Ale and Devil Dancer. Pale Ale Nitro will still be available on draft across the brewery’s distribution footprint.

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8.5% ABV, Draft

Appearance: Clear gold with virtually no head.
Aroma: Some cinnamon and apple.
Taste: Hint of beer flavor, but otherwise lots of fall spices…very warming.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied.

You’d never know this brew was aged in Founders Backwoods Bastards barrels, as Founders Keepers is light on the tongue, crisp and clean on the taste. With just a hint of beer flavor, this brew sings fall and winter with its warming spices that pull the entire drink together. This is right up there as being one of my favorite hard ciders on the market today — if only it was bottled!

10.2% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Dark brown with red tint. No head. Cloudy.
Aroma: Bourbon. More bourbon.
Taste: All bourbon upfront. Sweet after notes.
Mouthfeel: Malty, medium body.

Founders Backwoods Bastard is a boozy, oaky offering akin to its predecessor, Dirty Bastard. Be sure not to drink this one too chilled or you’ll miss the brilliance of this bourbon barrel aged ale. When it warms, the overpowering bourbon calms and reveals the vanilla, caramel and roasted malts. The finish is sweet but still boozy, leaving that slight twinge on your taste buds. This annual specialty offering by Founders will please anyone, from the craft beer enthusiast to those who enjoy their beverages on the rocks.

Seldom do I find a beer that balances has the right measure of alcohol flavor versus sweetness. Founders Brewing Co.’s fall specialty brew, Backwoods Bastard, not only balances the two, but all of its ingredients.

As I cracked open the oak-aged four-pack I had purchased, I knew this was going to be a special brew. Pouring a deep, dark brown color with hints of redness, there was a minimal head that held a heavy bourbon smell. I could recognize a minor fruit smell as well. I’ve always been a fan of oak-aged, bourbon-barrel brews, so it was only natural for me to be instantly attracted to the richness I smelled.

The bourbon flavor was the first I noticed when I sipped. It wasn’t overpowering, which it often can be with aged brews. But it was the lingering flavors that impressed me the most.

Being Halloween weekend, I already had a sweet tooth. Brewed annually each November, Backwoods Bastard advertises itself as having sweet caramel, nut and malt flavors, so it was right up my alley.

The sweetness isn’t over the top — it’s a perfect balance of bourbon and sweet flavor. The maltiness was the most impressive to me — this was a very evident taste at the end that was the perfect ending for the brew, similar to what you would taste from chocolate malt balls. And as I sipped more, I could taste the sweet caramel and nuttiness, as well as a hint of vanilla.

In a sense, it was the perfect adult Halloween drink.

Now mind you, this isn’t your average night on the town beer. This is special — at 10.2% ABV it’s certainly a sipping beer and one I  say is best to stick with one serving per sitting. Served best a bit above normal refrigerator temperatures (between 45 and 50 degrees), Backwoods Bastard pleases the senses in the best way possible. No flavor is over-dominating — everything balances very well.


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