Did I See Jesus in My Beer? Or was it the South Talkin'?

Monday, February 27, 2006

Once in a while, you taste something so unique, so intriguing, so different from what you normally expect that it leaves an indelible impression on your tastebuds. The first time I ate veal saltimbocca at an authentic Italian restaurant. Fish and chips in Ireland. Guinness in Ireland. The first time I ate....well, that's a bit private...

Anyway, this weekend's Michigan Winter Beer Fest was an amazing experience. 1,500 beer enthusiasts crowded under a big tent in Old Town, Lansing, and drank the offerings of 20 of Michigan's microbreweries. Pix and a separate blog entry to appear later.

Last week, in my random beer section, I posted a "prospective review" of Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout. I guessed it'd be a 9/10. Fortunately, I was not let down.

Holy Lord, Mother of Christ in Heaven this was good God damned beer. You take the Founders breakfast stout, which is heavy on dark-roasted coffee flavors and a little toasted bread, and you then age it for a year in Burbon barrels. The result? Bliss. You know when you pour a shot of JD in your morning coffee (like I do most mornings)? That's exactly what this tastes like. It smells like hot cocoa. It tastes like an "Irish coffee." I drank. I cried a little. I hugged the head brewer. I hugged strangers. I may have even seen the face of the Savior imprinted in the thin head atop this glass of brew.

Let me set the scene. My wife and I drop our little munchkin off at the Grandparents' house. A few quick kisses goodbye, some neurotic instructions from my wife on how to take care of the rugrat (which of course Grandparents have NEVER done before), and we blew out the door. We walk in the tent, and it is already shoulder-to-shoulder. Maybe 750 people already. I knew Founders was unveiling this beer, and of course, the Founders table was all the way on the opposite side of the tent. Like Barry Sanders through a defensive line and secondary, I hauled my wife through the bustling crowd. Oh sure, we passed all the other breweries, but I was on a mission, dammit. Do not pass go. To the Founders table we jostled. With a grin and eagerly-shaking hands, I accepted my glass of the nectar. The rest is history.

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout. Thick black, an almost reddish, thin head topped the beer. Smelled of Hershey's Special Dark chocolate. Tatsed of espresso with a shot of burbon: that sticky sweetness of burnt oak and harsh whiskey. A little toast was present and it finished with that same exhale-after-a-shot breathiness. This beer ruled the roost at the Fest.

They have only made 200 cases of this stuff. 50 are on-hand at the brewery, and rest rest distributed in the surrounding Great Lakes States. GET SOME.


Anonymous,  4:15 PM  

Yea you better believe it! The fest was packed, the beer was awesome, and I'm sure you weren't the only one seeing Jesus by the end of the night!

Anonymous,  4:16 PM  

oops, sorry Smitty, that was Sopor up there...

Wife,  4:20 PM  

Your wife is not neurotic. And too enjoyed the beers, as one of the outnumbered women in the tent!

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