Ready to go whale hunting? Friday is April Fools’ Day but, more importantly, it’s KBS Day. The arrival of Founders Brewing Co.’s Kentucky Breakfast Stout — made with chocolate and coffee and aged in oak bourbon barrels [11.2% ABV] — will set off the usual frenzy, with beer obsessives racing from store to store to snap up singles and hoping to stumble onto the Oh-So-Rare Yes,-We’re-Selling-It-In-Four-Packs Four-Pack. There will be a bit more package available ’round here than in 2015.
Want know where to get a taste of KBS straight from the barrel? These fine establishments will be tapping the liquid goodness on Friday [4.1]: the Malted Barley Providence [334 Westminster St; 5 pm]; Jacky Boy Publik House [27 Aborn St, Cranston]; Brass Monkey [800 Allens Ave, Providence]; Doherty’s Ale House [30 Jefferson Blvd, Warwick]; and Doherty’s Lakeside [446 Tiogue Ave, Coventry; 6 pm]. But keep your eyes glued to them social mediums: other places will be breaking out their KBS allotment in the days and weeks to come. [Plus: Doherty’s Lakeside is hosting a KBS Vertical Beer Dinner, with pours of 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016. Tix are $100/person; click here for the menu and reservations.]
Bonus content: Robert Allen of The Detroit Free Press wrote an in-depth story on “how brewers age Founders KBS.” Some highlights:
• “Founders brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki said KBS started as an experiment with a few bourbon barrels in the early 2000s, but people didn’t know they wanted it. ‘Those 4-packs sat in there, and nobody cared,’ Kosmicki said.” [Note: the KBS label honors Jeremy with the copy: “The Amazing Kosmicki’s Highly Acclaimed KBS,” plus the motto, “Is Good For Everything a Flavored Stout Ought To Be Good For.”]
• “We recently took a trip with its makers about 3 miles from the brewery to Michigan Natural Storage to get a taste of the KBS aging process. To reach the caves, you take an elevator ride 85 feet below Grand Rapids. The former gypsum mines spread for about 6 miles of mostly narrow passages where the temperature and humidity are tightly controlled…Among the 7000 barrels on racks are future KBS and Backwoods Bastard, a Scotch ale. Heystek sprayed sanitizer on four of the barrels and popped out the bungs, removing samples with a turkey baster to give us tastes comparing Backwoods and KBS brews aging since as far back as 2011. The alcohol bite was more noticeable in the fresher samples, while the older ones had more velvety, dessert-wine flavors.”
• “Craft-beer drinkers…will be watching for that brown and tan-colored KBS label…‘There’s something to the mystique of something special to find out in the stores, but it’s a lot to live up to,’ Kosmicki said. ‘Any time you get that much hype for something, it’s like, “Well, I hope people like it. I hope this isn’t a disappointing year or something.” ’ ”