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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Founders announced today that they will release Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS), an imperial coffee chocolate stout aged in maple bourbon barrels, as the final release in the 2018 Barrel-Aged Series. CBS is one of the most sought-after releases in the world. This is the second year in a row the brewery has released CBS

Fans may notice that CBS’s label is missing a key, iconic element this year. The Mountie has been removed but the feel of the original label is maintained with an image of a bucking horse against a forested background.

“We’ve been ramping up our barrel-aged program over the past few years and it’s allowed us to expand our offerings,” said President and Co-Founder, Dave Engbers. “We’re so excited to announce that CBS will be available for the second year in a row. The beer enthusiasts have been very vocal about their love for this beer and we’re happy we can accommodate. It’s what we love to do.”

The highly anticipated beer was first brewed after Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki stumbled upon bourbon barrels that had previously housed maple syrup. Adding the same base beer as Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS), CBS was born. Rich maple syrup, roasted coffee and velvety chocolate meld together in this barrel-aged beer to create a transcendental drinking experience.

CBS is the sixth and final release in the brewery’s 2018 Barrel-Aged Series, preceded by KBSBackwoods BastardDankwood, Barrel Runner and Curmudgeon’s Better Half. General Admission CBS ticket sales begin on October 12 at 10am. Current Detroit and Grand Rapids Mug Club Members should check their email for member-exclusive bottle ticket pre-sale details. Pickup from both taproom locations begins on November 1 and goes through November 4. CBS will be available in all markets on draft and in bottles beginning November 2 and will have a suggested retail price of $24.99/750 mL bottle. Please note that price will vary by market.

About Founders Brewing Co.

Established in 1997 by two craft beer enthusiasts—Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens—with day jobs and a dream, Founders Brewing Co. brews complex, in-your-face ales, with huge aromatics and tons of flavor. Founders ranks among the top 10 largest craft breweries in the U.S. and is one of the fastest growing. The brewery has received numerous awards from the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival and RateBeer and BeerAdvocate users often rate its beers among the best in the world. Located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, Founders is a proud member of the Michigan Brewers Guild.

 

 

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Founders Brewing Co. has announced the fifth annual KBS Week in Grand Rapids and the first-ever KBS Week in Detroit in honor of the 2018 release of Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS). KBS will be on tap at various Grand Rapids and Detroit locations from March 5 – 10, as well as at Founders taproom release parties on March 10 in both cities. KBS will be available in Michigan as of March 12 and across the remainder of Founders’ 46-state distribution on March 30.

“When we started brewing KBS about 16 years ago, very few other breweries were doing anything like it,” said Co-Founder and President, Dave Engbers. “The first few packaged runs were difficult to get off of our hands as there wasn’t much interest in a bourbon barrel-aged coffee-chocolate imperial stout, which seems pretty crazy these days. It has since become a phenomenon and we are happy to celebrate its annual release with the people of Grand Rapids and now, for the first time ever, our loyal fans in Detroit. Here’s to continuing beloved traditions and starting new ones!”

KBS is an imperial stout brewed with massive amounts of coffee and chocolate before aging in oak bourbon barrels in caves beneath Grand Rapids and at an offsite barrel-aging facility. KBS is the first installment of Founders Barrel-Aged Series, a lineup of six barrel-aged beers set to release throughout 2018. Newly announced year-round Backwoods Bastard, ranked as one of the highest rated beers in the world according to Ratebeer, will follow KBS in the series.

Celebrate KBS Week 2018

Where to Find: KBS Week began in response to the beer’s overwhelming global notoriety and a desire to share that with the West Michigan beer-loving community. This year, ten loyal bars and restaurant in the Grand Rapids and Detroit areas will tap a keg of KBS during a designated time slot the week of March 5-10. KBS Week will culminate with official release parties in both the Grand Rapids and Detroit taprooms on Saturday, March 10. KBS will be poured all day.

Visit Grand Rapids for KBS Week: In addition to the taproom release parties and keg tappings around Grand Rapids and Detroit, a handful of Grand Rapids-area hotels will be offering KBS week packages—including discounted room rates, limited edition gear in rooms and more—with information available on the Experience Grand Rapids website. For full KBS Week details, head to kbsweek.com.

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We’ll admit, on occasion, it’s really good to be us. Founders Brewing Co. did something they rarely do, and we had the honor to be a part of it. They broke character, and extended an exclusive invitation to a very short list of trusted writers and photographers in craft media across the U.S. to peek behind the curtain at what makes them and what they do so unique.

Unprecedented, they offered a private tour of the caves where all of their Barrel-aged Series and experimental one-offs hibernate until Jason Heystek, VP Lead Guitar, and Jeremy Kosmicki, Brewmaster, say, “They’re ready.”

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Jason Heystek & Jeremy Kosmicki,

The caves—yes, literal caves—are naturally held between 40°-55° F, perfect for cellaring beer. Founders has access to a figurative gold mine, spiderwebbed throughout old gypsum mines approximately 85’ underground, somewhere beneath the streets of Grand Rapids. Well, we know where they’re located. With a little Googling, the savvy can find them, too. But. Unless you know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy, you’re not getting in, or in the elevator.

We spent the day rubbing elbows with Founders’ founders, Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers, talking 20 years of history filled with hits and their fair share of misses, but zero regrets.

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Mike Stevens & Dave Engbers

Heystek and Kosmicki were our personal tour guides. With screwdriver and rubber mallet in rubber-gloved hands, Heystek casually displayed why he’s the man. Repeatedly dipping a barrel thief (sanitized every time, we might add) into vintages of popular limited releases being secretly aged in brandy or scotch scotch barrels, experimental recipes with fruit and salt in gin barrels, or KBS (who cares what year?!), Heystek let us drink straight from the barrel beer that most people will never know existed. We were only able to drink after we picked our jaws up off the floor. We can say now that, at the time, we saw barrels of CBS, but weren’t able to talk about it. They even made us prick our finger and sign an NDA. Trust us, it took everything we had not to spill the beans.

After we reemerged, we also visited Founders’ new production facility, which defies comprehensible size. Let’s just say it’s big enough to house some of the estimated 15,000 barrels from the caves when they’re finally ready to see Founders’ Taproom, or hit distribution—if the rest of the world is as lucky as Grand Rapids.

We were gifted an experience you can’t put a price tag on. We’re talkin’ Golden Ticket access: level Charlie Bucket. Here’s proof.

 

Photography: Steph Harding

 

founders

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., November 6, 2017 – Founders announced today that they will release Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS), an imperial coffee chocolate stout aged in maple bourbon barrels, as the final release in the 2017 Barrel-Aged Series. Last bottled in 2011, CBS is one of the most sought-after releases in the world.

“Well, the rumors are true. CBS will make its long-awaited return this December,” said Co-Founder and President, Dave Engbers. “It would be irresponsible for us to not release CBS again. The beer enthusiasts who have supported our brands throughout the years are vocal and their message is heard loud and clear. We could not be happier to bring back this beloved beer… they speak, we listen.”

The highly anticipated beer was first brewed after Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki stumbled upon bourbon barrels that had previously housed maple syrup. Adding the same base beer as Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS), CBS was born. Rich maple syrup, roasted coffee and velvety chocolate meld together in this barrel-aged beer to create a transcendental drinking experience.

CBS is the sixth and final release in the brewery’s leading-edge Barrel-Aged Series, preceded by FrootwoodKBSDoomDKML, and Backwoods Bastard. CBS will be available in all markets as well as in the Founders Brewing Co. taproom on draft and in 750mL bottles beginning on December 1. CBS will have a suggested retail price of $24.99/750mL bottle.

 

About Founders Brewing Co.
Established in 1997 by two craft beer enthusiasts—Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens—with day jobs and a dream, Founders Brewing Co. brews complex, in-your-face ales, with huge aromatics and tons of flavor. Founders ranks among the top 20 largest craft breweries in the U.S. and is one of the fastest growing. The brewery has received numerous awards from the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival and RateBeer and BeerAdvocate users often rate its beers among the best in the world.

About the Barrel-Aged Series
Crafting legendary barrel-aged beers is an exercise in patience. We start by brewing complex, world-class beer worthy of time in a barrel. Then, our experience and years spent mastering our craft means we know exactly when it’s been aged to perfection. After one sip, you’ll know – it was worth the wait.

founders

Founders announced today that is will release Lizard of Koz, an imperial stout brewed with blueberries, chocolate and vanilla aged in bourbon barrels, as the second Backstage Series beer of 2016. This is the first time Founders has released Lizard of Koz.

This one is near and dear to our hearts. Our Brewmaster, Jeremy Kosmicki, wanted to make the birthday of his little sister, Liz, a special one. So he did what he does best and brewed a stout using a few of her favorite ingredients: fresh Michigan blueberries, rich chocolate and vanilla – aged in bourbon barrels to round out those beautiful flavors. Liz was floored and we think you will be too.

“Lizard of Koz represents everything we love about the Backstage Series,” says Co-Founder and President Dave Engbers, “Inspired, creative, a little bit out there and exploding with flavor. The perfect way to cap off 2016.”

Each 750mL bottle of this rich, tart stout has a suggested retail price of $18.99 and will be available in limited quantities across Founders’ distribution network, which currently includes 39 states, in December. ABV is yet to be determined as brewers are currently pulling the beer out of barrels.

The Backstage Series is made up of boundary-pushing, experimental beers. Affectionately called “the brewers’ playground,” intent is to take the diehard Founders fan experience to a wider audience—though all of the beers are released in limited batches. Since its introduction in the summer of 2011, Backstage Series beers have quickly become some of the most sought-after releases in the industry with past hits including Bolt CutterCBSCurmudgeon’s Better HalfBlushing MonkDoom and 2016’s first release, Mango Magnifico,

 

About Founders Brewing Co.

Established in 1997 by two craft beer enthusiasts—Dave Engbers and Mike Stevens—with day jobs and a dream, Founders Brewing Co. brews complex, in-your-face ales, with huge aromatics and tons of flavor. Founders ranks among the top 20 largest craft breweries in the U.S. and is one of the fastest growing. The brewery has received numerous awards from the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival and RateBeer and BeerAdvocate users often rate its beers among the best in the world. Located in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, Founders is a proud member of the Michigan Brewers Guild. For more information, visit foundersbrewing.com and follow us on TwitterInstagram and Facebook for more updates.

 

GRAND RAPIDS — Sunshine, a brisk breeze, good beer and the smell of grill smoke are the makings of the perfect winter festival. All of the above were present at Saturday’s second annual Founders Firkin Freezeout, which featured grilled kielbasa kebabs, ice sculpting and up to 42 available varieties of firkin-conditioned beer.

“It’s a celebration of real beer and another great excuse to enjoy the splendors of winter in Michigan,” said Dave Engbers, Vice President/Director of Marketing of Founders Brewing Co.

Attendees from around the region milled around the Founders outdoor beer garden, socializing and sipping uniquely flavored takes on favorite standards.

“[Having events] reinforces the beer culture, not only here in Grand Rapids, but really regionally,” said Engbers. “If we can use the energy that the craft beer category has right now, and we can bring people from all over the region into Grand Rapids and introduce them to our city, then that’s awesome.”

Jamie Dublin traveled to the festival with her boyfriend from East Lansing.

“My boyfriend and I love craft beers, and we’ve always been fans of Founders,” she said. “I love firkins. We’ve come [to Founders] a few times when they’ve had firkins on and they’re really cool.”

Dublin said she enjoyed the beers from firkins because they add a unique twist to some of her favorite beers. She said she favored the All Day IPA with Bloody Mary ingredients, but she was looking forward to the tapping of the Dirty Bastard with cinnamon, vanilla beans and maple syrup.

“Obviously we like the standard, but it’s really cool to switch it up,” Dublin said.

[tw-parallax image=”https://mittenbrew.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/IMG_5036.jpg” target=”self” lightbox=”no” ][/tw-parallax]

For the most part, however, attendees of the Freezeout were locals and mug club members who are regulars at Founders. Grand Rapids citizen Mary Mitus came to the festival with her family.

“We live in Grand Rapids, and we’re members of the mug club,” said Mitus. “Our daughter’s visiting from Brooklyn, and she loves Founders too. It’s just something to do — be outside. It’s a beautiful day.”

At a balmy 36 degrees and sunny, this year’s festival was much warmer than last year’s. The weather isn’t the only thing about the festival that has improved since last year.

“Last year being our first year, it was a learning process,” said John Merizon, Retail Beer Supply Coordinator for Founders.

This year, the team organizing the event decided to start an hour earlier and have more firkins on at a time in an effort to avoid heavily concentrated lines. The changes made for a more even distribution of attendees, making the environment in the beer garden much more relaxed.

Ultimately, the festival was an opportunity for brewers and Founders fans alike to try takes on their favorite beers that they won’t experience anywhere else.

“We really let our brewing team get experimental and work with different flavors and spices. We always have a few tricks up our sleeves,” said Engbers.

“We give our cellar team a lot of freedom in deciding what they want to experiment with. And that’s what our firkin program is. It’s just an outlet for us to experiment with flavor,” said Merizon.

“Some of the firkins have names taped on the sides of the barrels because there’s a little bit of an internal contest between the cellarmen to see whose is the most popular,” Merizon said. “There’s a smattering of cellarmen in the crowd kind of eyeballing to see whose is whose and what’s getting drank the most. They’re all asking me, ‘When’s mine going to get tapped?'”

GRAND RAPIDS — The Backstage Series, those 750mL bottles filled with taproom one-offs or something new altogether are what epitomizes the Founders’ Philosophy of Brewing. Just ask Dave Engbers, Co-Founder and Vice President of Brand & Education. 

“The Backstage Series is one of the fun things that wasn’t part of the original business plan.  We get to push the liquid envelope, to create brands that are exciting, and give the consumer something interesting to drink,” Engbers says.

Engbers is a talker. His conversation is effortless. It’s obvious he is passionate about Founders and what it does, and it’s also obvious that’s hard for him to contain.

“Music is a big part of what we do; we had live music soon after we opened the taproom and so, [calling it] Backstage was kind of in reference to that quality, the atmosphere of Founders.”

That atmosphere, coupled with the growth and expanding popularity of Founders, is what sparked conversation to create Backstage in 2011. 

“As we grew, we were essentially filling orders. Unfortunately. For a long time, all we were doing was trying to fill these orders and we weren’t allowed to itch that — ” Dave pauses here, searching out the correct word, “creative itch,” he laughed, “that we have.

“It frustrated our brewing team that we weren’t able to create those fun and exciting brands. The whole idea behind [the creation of Backstage] was to share something that historically was available only in the taproom, and bring it to people who might not have the luxury to visit us in Grand Rapids.”

An instrument for creativity and test market to Founders’ biggest and more valued focus group, the taproom is the place for experimentation and for that itch to get scratched.  The most recent release in the Backstage arsenal will be the Smoked Porter, set to release in February. First brewed utilizing the new three-barrel pilot system, this is Founders’ first ever smoked beer. The pilot system will play a big part in further aiding the creative urges of the brew staff, allowing more room for experimentation and playing a part in Backstage beers of the future.

The long list of beers that have already graced the Founders floor includes a myriad of taproom-only specials that many would love to have bottled. But how are the decisions made to select what gets the honor of becoming a Backstage beer?

“We have a tight R&D team, a small group of people that talk about future Backstage product. I can tell you there are a very limited number of people here at Founders who knows what the upcoming Backstage Series are. Out of the 205 employees, maybe seven or eight people know. Honestly, it’s kept very quiet — often times the beer is already produced — some of the brewers might not know what it is, sometimes the Cellarmen will be moving beer from tanks or in the barrels and have no idea. A lot of our beers just have stamped codes on them,” Engbers shares.

The magic of Backstage is not just in the mystery of what will be next. The limited quantities and possibilities of never seeing a beer again definitely have something to do with it. Regardless, it’s not about the marketing, not about driving sales. Founders is Founders, and remains true to its mantra.

“For Backstage, the beer has to be unique. One of the most common questions I get is ‘when is CBS going to be brewed again?’ CBS was one of those that hit harder than anything we anticipated, but we won’t brew it again just to create buzz. When we say ‘brewed for us,’ that’s legitimate. We create the beer, we don’t create the buzz. Some of that just happens because the beer enthusiast community is so strong and so engaged in what we do that there’s often this anticipation,” says Engbers.

The best way to drink them? Engbers shares an enthusiasm that all craft beer lovers can relate. “If I score a bottle of something really awesome or rare, my first reaction is to go ‘I gotta call my friend, let’s share this’, because it would mean so much to them to be able to experience this beer,” he says. “Our industry lends itself to people who are a little more selfless.”

So be selfless, find yourself a bottle of Sweet Repute, pull that Blushing Monk out of the beer cellar, or snag some Smoked Porter in February and call your friends. You may not see these beers again, but you can always anticipate something unique in the future. So drink to that.

GRAND RAPIDS — The Backstage Series, those 750mL bottles filled with taproom one-offs or something new altogether are what epitomizes the Founders’ Philosophy of Brewing. Just ask Dave Engbers, Co-Founder and Vice President of Brand & Education. 

“The Backstage Series is one of the fun things that wasn’t part of the original business plan.  We get to push the liquid envelope, to create brands that are exciting, and give the consumer something interesting to drink,” Engbers says.

Engbers is a talker. His conversation is effortless. It’s obvious he is passionate about Founders and what it does, and it’s also obvious that’s hard for him to contain.

“Music is a big part of what we do; we had live music soon after we opened the taproom and so, [calling it] Backstage was kind of in reference to that quality, the atmosphere of Founders.”

That atmosphere, coupled with the growth and expanding popularity of Founders, is what sparked conversation to create Backstage in 2011. 

“As we grew, we were essentially filling orders. Unfortunately. For a long time, all we were doing was trying to fill these orders and we weren’t allowed to itch that — ” Dave pauses here, searching out the correct word, “creative itch,” he laughed, “that we have.

“It frustrated our brewing team that we weren’t able to create those fun and exciting brands. The whole idea behind [the creation of Backstage] was to share something that historically was available only in the taproom, and bring it to people who might not have the luxury to visit us in Grand Rapids.”

An instrument for creativity and test market to Founders’ biggest and more valued focus group, the taproom is the place for experimentation and for that itch to get scratched.  The most recent release in the Backstage arsenal will be the Smoked Porter, set to release in February. First brewed utilizing the new three-barrel pilot system, this is Founders’ first ever smoked beer. The pilot system will play a big part in further aiding the creative urges of the brew staff, allowing more room for experimentation and playing a part in Backstage beers of the future.

The long list of beers that have already graced the Founders floor includes a myriad of taproom-only specials that many would love to have bottled. But how are the decisions made to select what gets the honor of becoming a Backstage beer?

“We have a tight R&D team, a small group of people that talk about future Backstage product. I can tell you there are a very limited number of people here at Founders who knows what the upcoming Backstage Series are. Out of the 205 employees, maybe seven or eight people know. Honestly, it’s kept very quiet — often times the beer is already produced — some of the brewers might not know what it is, sometimes the Cellarmen will be moving beer from tanks or in the barrels and have no idea. A lot of our beers just have stamped codes on them,” Engbers shares.

The magic of Backstage is not just in the mystery of what will be next. The limited quantities and possibilities of never seeing a beer again definitely have something to do with it. Regardless, it’s not about the marketing, not about driving sales. Founders is Founders, and remains true to its mantra.

“For Backstage, the beer has to be unique. One of the most common questions I get is ‘when is CBS going to be brewed again?’ CBS was one of those that hit harder than anything we anticipated, but we won’t brew it again just to create buzz. When we say ‘brewed for us,’ that’s legitimate. We create the beer, we don’t create the buzz. Some of that just happens because the beer enthusiast community is so strong and so engaged in what we do that there’s often this anticipation,” says Engbers.

The best way to drink them? Engbers shares an enthusiasm that all craft beer lovers can relate. “If I score a bottle of something really awesome or rare, my first reaction is to go ‘I gotta call my friend, let’s share this’, because it would mean so much to them to be able to experience this beer,” he says. “Our industry lends itself to people who are a little more selfless.”

So be selfless, find yourself a bottle of Sweet Repute, pull that Blushing Monk out of the beer cellar, or snag some Smoked Porter in February and call your friends. You may not see these beers again, but you can always anticipate something unique in the future. So drink to that.


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