Up until June of last year, the only Founders Brewing beers you could find in the UK were smuggled over by the Russian mafia, posing as Beluga caviar ship merchants. Trades were tough and almost always, someone would die. A big thank you then must go to Mr. James Clay who put an end to the bloodshed and salty fish egg-infused beer, and imported a handful of the Grand Rapids breweries finest year-round treasures.
Needless to say these beers found a welcome crowd this side of the pond and slowly but surely others from the Founders stable have bobbed their way across the Atlantic ocean to us thirsty Brits. Including the highly sought-after Breakfast Stout (8.3% abv).
It pours none more black with a cinnamon-braised wedge for a head. Big cock-a-doodle-do aromas of roasted coffee beans are a bucket of cold water in the face. Goooooooooooooooood morning! There’s a slight whiff of milk chocolate but the espresso machine is attempting to hide all that.
No delicate sip here either, I suck a gobful and immediately get that Sumatra and Kona coffee and toasted oatmeal grain. It’s thick and full and the coffee bitterness is matched by a hearty and earthy hop response. This is a big drink for big people… I don’t think our little ruffian on the front of the bottle would fair too well with this.
Halfway through and just when I’d given up all hope of the “double chocolate” presenting itself it starts to sneak through the roasted, malty bayou. It’s a generous slab of dark chocolate, dipped buoyantly in a glass of full fat milk, with a sprig of wild winter berries pitched in for good measure and it’s going down easy.
I embraced the whole Founders year-round clan when I sampled them in 2013 and this seasonal little scoundrel is certainly welcome at future family gatherings, any time of the year.