A Review of Founders Brewing’s Porter

Founders Brewing PorterTypically, Porters fly under my radar. Particularly so when they share shelf space with Russian Imperial Stouts. There are, however, a couple of Porters that I am always happy to try, and one of those is the Porter from Founders Brewing.

The beer poured black and developed a light brown head. As that head dissipated, some brown rim variation sprang up along with the clarity that was masked by the color. (It’s really a nice looking Porter.)

From the moment the bottle was opened, I was hit with this glorious bouquet of coffee and chocolate that is a hallmark of beers in the Porter/Stout genre. The nose didn’t stop there. It’s balanced with hoppy goodness, and almost perfectly at that.

The carbonation level is on point for the style- not a lot of it. That lack of carbonation gives way for an amazing silky mouthfeel. Thin and light on the tongue, this Porter offers a juxtaposition of its mouthfeel to its bold flavors.

The taste is perfect- bold coffee and roasted malt, light chocolate balanced by sweet toffee, and caramel. In the background light tastes of wood, earth, and an almost herbal quality set up complexity that works well with the hops that complete the flavor profile.

All and all, Founders Porter is a brilliant example. I’m willing to bet it’s probably one of the best at your local bottle shop. Full flavor and still sessionable, Founders Porter is a go-to beer for me, and I think anyone should keep this beer in steady rotation.

Ben Webster is a co-founder and the educational writer for Beer Drinkers Society.

Top 5 April Fool’s Posts from Texas Breweries

Jester King decided it was time to dump all of their world renowned beer to produce nothing but Black Metal, and in cans!
Jester King dumping

Community Beer Company will begin infringing on buddies’ beers.
Community April Fools
Four Corners Brewing teamed up with Pizza Hut to brew the new Pizza Hut Pepperoni Pilsner!
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On Tap: Flavor of NowThey said it couldn’t be done.

Posted by Pizza Hut on Tuesday, March 31, 2015

 

Peticolas sold out to AB-InBev. (so sad…)
Peticolas Sold to AB-InBev

Deep Ellum Brewing Co has created the most rare, hard-to-find and highest abv session stout ever, Concrete Block. It’s a 35% session stout with a Dallas Blonde base aged in concrete blocks. Per Zack Fickey, if you find a bottle, you’re better than everyone else.

Enjoy Your Craft,
Ben Esely is a co-founder and the Brewer Interviewer for Beer Drinkers Society.

Jester King’s newest release is a true balance of gentle complexity

From Jester King:

Equipoise labelWe’re very excited to introduce Equipoise, a farmhouse ale brewed with ginger salt and tarragon, and refermented with cantaloupe, made in collaboration with Chef Paul Qui. We’ve been great fans of Chef Qui’s cuisine for several years now, having first enjoyed his work at Uchiko and East Side King, and later at his eponymous Austin restaurant Qui. We’re also great fans of food and beer pairings. The right pairing can enhance both the complexity of a beer’s flavor profile and that of the dish with which it’s served. In working with Chef Qui, we sought to create a beer that would complement, and hopefully enhance, his culinary perspective.

The principles behind our collaboration, as the name suggests, are balance and equilibrium. We’ve long been immensely impressed with the subtlety, restraint, balance, and delicateness of Chef Qui’s cuisine. The thoughtfulness with which he creates layers of flavors has led to some of the most complex dishes we’ve ever tasted. Based on Chef Qui’s principles and philosophy, we similarly wanted to create a subtle, balanced beer that wouldn’t overwhelm the palate. We felt comfortable working within this context, as these principles are important to us for all our beers. We also had the goal of creating a low-alcohol table beer that could be shared amongst friends and enjoyed over the course of the entire meal. Thus, we decided to bottle Equipoise in 1.5 liter-magnums. Having had the opportunity to work with Chef Qui was a great honor for which we’re most grateful.

Equipoise was brewed in September of 2014 with Hill Country well water, malted barley, oats, hops, ginger salt, andCantaloupe from Johnson's Backyard Garden dried tarragon. It was then fermented in stainless steel with our unique mixed culture of microorganisms consisting of brewers yeast and native yeast and bacteria harvested from the air and wildflowers around our brewery in the Texas Hill Country. Puréed cantaloupe was added to the beer three days into fermentation. Finally, it was 100% naturally conditioned in bottles and kegs. Equipoise is 4.2% alcohol by volume, has a finishing gravity of 1.000 (0 degrees Plato), and was 4.32 pH and 26 IBUs at the time of bottling in October of 2014.

Equipoise will be released on Friday, April 3rd at Jester King Brewery when our tasting room opens at 4pm. It will be available by the glass, as well as to go in 1.5 liter bottles ($24, limit 1 per customer per day). Approximately 1,350 bottles will be available. A beer dinner featuring Equipoise will take place at Qui later this spring — details to follow.

The label art for Equipoise was done in-house by our own Josh Cockrell, who used the decor and cuisine at Qui as inspiration for the label art.

Artist Profile: Mindy Humphrey in your pocket and in your hair.

Mindy in her office

Humphrey and Zeke in her office.

Mindy Humphrey loves craft beer entirely too much. She’s also crafty as hell!
“I made purses that were monster and race car themed. They were more tomboyish, but then I had friends that wanted purses with flowers and they said, ‘Oh you gotta sell these!’ So I opened a shop, but it just didn’t make me happy.”

One day, Humphrey was staring at a Bridgport Brewing box and said, “I Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin Walletwant that on a bracelet,” and a new medium was born. Her brother, Derek Gibbs of Reel Big Fish, loved the cuff and wanted a wallet. So Humphrey created a men’s wallet design with a New Belgium Ranger 6 pack carrier. Humphrey now has over 250 designs like; cuffs, men’s and women’s wallets, head bands, luggage tags, and dog collars, all made from the craft beer images you love!

All of her items are handmade and her love for this craft shows. It takes her about 20 minutes to create one wallet, which is a bit difficult when a brewery like Sierra Nevada orders 950 wallets. “It’s a lot of cutting and measuring and cutting. And that’s it!” Humphrey has a couple of sources for her materials. Her brother gathers 4 and 6 pack carriers during Reel Big Fish tours and a couple of shops around Portland, Oregon box them up for her on a regular basis. She also welcomes her customers to send boxes from their local breweries too!

Humphrey is now branching into a new line of coasters. “I just started playing with resin last year. I only have a few and if they sell I’ll follow up the line,” she said. “It makes sitting down and having a beer after a long day that much more special. It’s like having a pimp glass and a little pimp tray. It adds to the experience.”
Stone Coaster

Do you drink craft beer?
Pfffsh yeah! I love craft beer! I moved to Portland 8 years ago for my husband’s job. We loved the area, trees, mountains, rivers, everything and the beer was a bonus. Most of the people I run into, in the craft beer industry, are supportive. They do brew fests together and collaborate together. They’ve welcomed me in and it’s an awesome group to be a part of.

What is your favorite craft beer?
It kinda rotates. Right now, I’m into farmhouses and saisons. When I first moved up here (Portland), I was really into the amazing IPAs, but my tastes have evolved.

What’s in the fridge right now?
A lot of IPAs. It’s probably so my husband won’t drink all the beer. He has a problem with cilantro and hops because they taste like a bar of soap to him. Heathen Brewing, Hair of The Dog, Breakside, Cascade Bourbonic Plague…I could keep going. It’s pretty full.

What is your favorite label?
Flying Dog Gonzo Womens WalletFlying Dog’s Gonzo. It’s my dog’s collar, my wallet, my biz card holder. I love it. I like his (Ralph Steadman’s) art, I like Hunter S. Thompson and I think Flying Dog makes some pretty good beer.

Check out Mindy’s Beer Gear on Etsy and expect to see some of her crazy style around town.

Enjoy Your Craft,
Ben Esely is a co-founder and the Brewer Interviewer for Beer Drinkers Society.

Foolproof Brewing’s Raincloud Robust Porter snuck into Texas while you were sleeping…

Raincloud Foolproof Brewing Can        In my line of work, it’s rare that I come across a beer or brewery I’ve never heard of. In this case, for once, I did. I just happened to pop into a local liquor store, to see how the other half lives, if you can dig it, and stumbled across Foolproof brewing. While there are new breweries coming into Texas at an incredibly exciting rate, the fact that this one slipped past my radar astounds me. Both beers I’ve had from Foolproof so far have been excellent. But enough Blah-blah. On with the show.

Raincloud pours a dense, pitch black, that is quickly topped with a huge pillowy cap of foam. The head lingers for almost two minutes, diminishing slowly, and leaving loads of thick lacing clinging to the glass. Color me interested.

The nose is bushels of rich, smoky malt. Cacao nibs, burnt brisket ends, day old coffee (In a good way!), and British hops that tickle the sinuses. There’s not a hint of the 6.5% ABV to be had here, which is awesome, since I let this puppy warm up to almost room temperature before drinking. Rad.

Raincloud tastes like it would be perfect paired with a rained-out barbecue. Ironically enough, the can says it pairs well with “a lazy day of movie watching or book reading”, which I can easily say, it works well with. This is what a “ROBUST” porter should taste like. SO many beers make that claim, and fall short in the flavor department. This is the exception. Thick, smoky, heavy, and peaty. Roast malts hit up the front end, coffee and peat take up the middle, and a subtle hint of vanilla cream rounds out the back. Sorry, Smuttynose, but you’re doing this style wrong.

On the Palate, Raincloud is soft, velvety, and deceptively smooth. Again, creamy, even. At the same time, it lets you know that it is NOT a light beer. The flavor lingers long after each swallow. But, that being said, it requires another sip. And another. And another.

All told, I’m incredibly impressed by this beer, from a brewery I’d never heard of, from a town in Rhode Island that I thought was just a place in the show “Family Guy”. (Pawtucket. Like Pawtucket Patriot ale.) I won’t lie and say that half the reason I bought this beer was just that. But you know what? I’m damn glad I did.

Cheers!!!!

<Matt The Beer-Guy>

A Letter to Ab-InBev and MillerCoors

To whom it may concern,

I normally begin my correspondence with “I hope this letter finds you well”, but I know you have found yourself in quite a bind. You’re losing market share every year, and I’m sure your pocketbook is all the lighter for it. With each passing day, I see you desperately clinging on by way of expensive advertisements that have seemed to make your problems worse. It is in this letter that I intend to attempt to aide you in the matter of addressing these problems, all of which stem from one simple fact:

You’re doing it wrong.

It seems you think those moving from your product to craft beer are foolish at best, or cretins at worst. I can assure you this is not the case, and the veil of your advertisements is quite transparent. There’re only three breweries that advertise on a large scale: yourselves and the Boston Beer Company. When a brand new brewery comes out of nowhere with a million dollar advertising budget, we know who is behind it. The Boston Beer Company has worked very hard to establish a quality brand name in Sam Adams, and as such stands behind that name. Only you would hide your product under different brands in an attempt to fool consumers. How then can you ask the beer drinker to stand behind your brand when you yourselves do not? Each time you make a lame attempt to pull the wool over our eyes, you lose our confidence, and since there was little to none to begin with, you now find yourselves in negative territory.

To address your purchases of smaller, quality breweries, you really should give this a second thought. News of such acquisitions travels fast. Consumers, already aware of your poor track record, immediately look for another brewery to support. Again, we have no faith- even in your ability to leave well enough alone.

Your skill in brewing beer with little flavor is truly remarkable, and has never been contested. Your companies have survived prohibition, world wars, ingredient rations and even the Great Depression, and without your current practices. Yet now you falter, now you display desperation. You have become so out of touch with the market and beer drinkers that you cannot see that there is but one solution to your problems:

Quit trying to con everybody and just start brewing decent beer.

Thank you,

Benjamin Webster
Ben Webster is a co-founder and the educational writer for Beer Drinkers Society.

Craft beer and Southern Charm in a New Web Series

Krystal reviewing beerOne day I ran across a southern gal reviewing craft beers on Instagram. Her reviews were charming, filled with colloquialisms that I’d never heard applied to craft beers AND she knew her stuff. I dug a little further and found out the reviewer, Krystal, is a creation of a craft beer-loving actress named Meredith Riley Stewart. Stewart was using the character to show her love for craft beer and at the same time spread awareness of her upcoming web series, Southern Dish.

Today, the first episode of the Southern Dish pilot season will be released. The series follows Krystal, a good southern gal from Catchatubbee that moved to New York for a more exciting life. During these early episodes we get a GLIMPSE into Krystal’s life, her friends and the patrons at her new bar named Southern Dish. But after watching some early footage and Krystal’s beer reviews, I wanted to learn more about her move to New York, her southern take on the North and what she thought of craft beer. So I interviewed Krystal….

How did you first get into craft beer?
Well honey let me tell you what. In the South, where they call 4% abv high gravity, anything higgher is Satan spawn. But when I moved up north I went to beer week in Philadelphia and New York and fell in love. There’s lots of breweries doing crazy stuff like Rogue’s Sriracha or Dogfish brewing some recipe from Tutankhamun’s tomb or some shit like that. But Unibrou opened my eyes because they’re French. I met the brewer at The Philadelphia Beer Week. Funny man in a tiny little bowler hat. We hit it off and were thick as thieves. Their La Fin Du Monde is the best in the world. That’s the one that made me think, “Maybe it ain’t all Bud Light and Miller Lite bullshit. Maybe I aught to try some of this high gravity beer that would send me straight to hell.”

Why did you start reviewing craft beer?
If there’s one thing I got, it’s opinions. I built a soap box on which to preach. So I got a camera, I have a face for TV and this beautiful hair. I’m not one of these high highfalutin reviewers, with all their smellin’ and swirlin’ and swishin’. I just wanna enjoy a good beer.

You’re a good southern lady, but it’s most common to see a mustached man fussing over his beer. Has the fact that you’re not that fussy, facial-hair covered gent helped or hurt your viewers’ perception of your reviews?
I don’t much worry with what other folks is sayin’. My favorite quote is from Loretta Lynn “If you’re lookin’ at me you’re lookin’ at country.” I just do my thang and hope I can turn some more ladies onto craft beer.

What’s in your fridge back in New York?
Southern Tier, which sounded appropriate for my southern leanings, but it has nothing to do with the South. My favorite Halloween tradition is to buy a fresh Pumking and compare it to last year’s. Then there’s some of Stone’s new stuff from their Enjoy After Series. I’m gonna get at that when I get back home. And finally some cans of Porkslap Pale Ale. The can is hilarious because I like those little fat pigs stickin’ their bellies out. That’s how I always get lured into a BBQ restaurant. Those happy pigs with a fork and knife that look so happy that you’re about to eat their momma. Course, I always got some menner cheese (short for paminto cheese) in there too. I’ve had to teach many a Yankee about menner cheese.

I’m trying to bridge that gap from the war of the ‘60s. You know 1860s. That’s my goal in life to bridge that gap between northerners and southerners. I invite my neighbors in to cuss and discuss this predicament. I’m gonna do my best to educate these Yankees. Especially teach them about menner cheese and how to make grits. I wouldn’t recommend buying grits north of The Mason Dixon. It’s a travesty. It’s embarrassing.

What is your hometown of Catchatubbee like?
Catchatubbee is like Mayberry, if they were all damn Gomer Pyles, with a heavy sprinklin’ of redneck. We have the same road kill and fireworks stands as every other city in the South. My mommy and daddy couldn’t send me to beauty school, even though I was a 4H champion hair braider. Of course it was horse hair. I was modelin’ and photographin’ and braidin’, but it was for horses. No matter, once I was in, I was in.

Why did you decide to leave Catchatubbee?
Honey when you live in a town like Catchatubbee, the interest of locals is pretty limited. Hell, a little town near Catchatubbee called Opportunity had to change its name to Opp because no one could spell it. I realized there wasn’t any opportunity down south for me. I decided there was more to life than dancing on a pole at Petticoat Junction.

Krystal Union SquareWhy did you move to New York?
Well, I knew I had to get the hell outta that town and I saw an ad for a mail order bride. It was a real estate magnate who wanted to piss off his children and wanted a savvy southerner. And that was me. So that was my real reason for going up to New York City.

Who is your husband? Have I heard of him?
He is such a well-known magnate that I don’t wanna throw his name around or else it’ll end up in The New York Post next to a picture of Kim Kardashian’s butt. He’s 86 and I just dote on him. I make sure he takes his pills and fix him dinner. And I have my place on the side where I bar and get to be queen.

Ok, I’ll take the hint. You’d rather talk about the bar than your husband. Tell me about your employees. Who are some of your regulars?
I brought my best friend Darlene up. She had a sorry ass husband that wun’t never gonna take her anywhere but the package store. I’m trying to get her into craft beer, but she’s into pie. Then, there’s my bartender, Mike, who takes care of business and my cute little bar back, we call him “Cute But Stupid”. I call him “Cutie Pie” to his face… Maybe that’s why Darlene says she likes pie.

I have a favorite regular, but I don’t know her real name. We call her “Whatawino” because she comes in, buys a bottle of wine and pretends she has a date that never shows up. She’s a sad story. I put her on my prayer list. There are other beer chugging regulars, but that’s about everyone whose names are worth mentionin’.

What is the most outrageous thing that’s happened at your bar?
I think the surprise is worth waiting for. Good times are had by all who enter Southern Dish.

We’ll all have to subscribe to The Southern Dish’s Youtube channel for more craft beer reviews and interviews with Krystal with Leslie Jordancelebrities like Leslie Jordan and visit SouthernDish.tv to see what messes Krystal and her friends get into. New episodes will air every Thursday and as Krystal told me “If you laughed then share it.”

Enjoy Your Craft,
Ben Esely is a co-founder and the Brewer Interviewer for Beer Drinkers Society.