Founders Brewing Co. makes some of the nation’s highest rated beers (according to professional and casual drinkers alike) and it just released one of its most sought-after brews: CBS.
On December 1, The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Founders launched CBS (short for Canadian Breakfast Stout) and sent it to 46 states, making 2017 the first time many beer fans will get to try the stuff instead of just reading about the maple-infused bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout. Originally introduced in bottles as part of the brewery’s Backstage Series, Founders has periodically hosted CBS in its taproom, often with a Canadian flag displayed. This year’s release of CBS is part of Founders Barrel-Aged Series, which includes Frootwood, Doom, DKML, Backwoods Bastard, and KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout).
CBS was created in 2011 when brewers at Founders came across bourbon barrels that were used by BLiS Gourmet to age maple syrup and filled these barrels with the same base beer as their much-lauded release, KBS. (The city of Grand Rapids even has a week dedicated to the KBS when it’s released every April.)
The result of aging an imperial stout in maple-infused bourbon barrels is as expected: an 11.7 percent ABV imperial stout loaded with maple syrup, coffee, and chocolate. It’s nearly the polar opposite Founders’ flagship beer, All Day IPA, but just one of many in a large portfolio of award-winning beers.
At any given time, Founders has thousands of barrels aging beers. Originally the barrels were left to age in gypsum caves under Grand Rapids, but the brewery has started transitioning to a second brewhouse that also serves as an aging facility. This is a far cry from the several near-bankruptcies that the company has weathered since it opened in 1997.
CBS might not be the only maple beer on the market, but it might be soon become the most well-known now that distribution has increased so dramatically from previous years. What remains to be seen is if consumers will be willing to shell out the $25 for a bottle. If other releases like Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout is any indication, we think they will.
Writer’s note: A distillery in Grand Rapids, Gray Skies Distillery, has released a rye whiskey this week also aged in the maple-infused bourbon barrels from BLiS Gourmet.
Feature image courtesy of Founders Brewing Co./Facebook.