Beer of the Week Dec 31st – Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout

This last week saw the appearance of not one but two of the biggest holidays of the year – Christmas and New Years. Sadly, with the arrival of family from all over, cold/flu season has been thrust upon us and Becky and i were helpless to stop it. Which means no matter which beers we tried this week, were stunted in our ability to appreciate them to their fullest.

We picked up a large selection of craft and not-so-craft beers for the family to share, from Coors Light (everyone needs a little water now and then) to Voodoo Ranger and Excelsior double IPAs. I tended towards our more spicy and darker selections like the Sierra Nevada Coffee Stout and Summit’s Winter Ale hoping that the spice components might break through my muted palette. While I could taste some of it, I could easily tell I was missing a lot.

Approaching the end of the NFL regular season, we went to the House of Pizza (downtown, St. Cloud) New Years Eve day to watch our Minnesota Vikings trounce (as expected) the Chicago Bears to clinch our first round bye in the playoffs (yay!). HOP manager Jason put a few new beers on the previous day and I was excited to try them, even while suffering a cold. Surly’s Cooper, Odell’s Dark Theory, and the venerable Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout.

The Cooper, touted as a coffee and cherry porter was ok, good roasted coffee flavor but the cherry was of a kind that bordered on medicinally sweet cough syrup. Drinkable, but I would only ever want to have one. The Odell’s Dark Theory, a black cherry sour ale, was a disappointment as this particular combination of sour and black cherries was very clashy, sour on sour – I still have a hard time describing it. I let it warm hoping the profile would change but no luck. Sour, tangy, sharp and conflicting. Low beer for the week.

Knowing full well I was going to finish the game with it, I saved the 11.7% CBS Imperial Stout form Founders for last. There must have been a sensory break in my cold as this beer tasted exactly as I expected and remembered. Big, comforting flavors of coffee, maple (not overly sweet), roast, and chocolate, all balanced in a super smooth sipping experience. The bourbon is very much in the background (as I prefer in a barrel-aged product) and compliments perfectly. Sadly, one is all I could have today as I was driving (and yes, hydrating). Why is it beers that taste this good are usually upwards of 10%+?

So, even with colds all around, this weeks BotW is the Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout. Get some at the House of Pizza while it lasts (hint: won’t be long!)