As mentioned when I posted my review on Monday, I had the pleasure of sharing my bottle of CBS with a fine friend of mine. He liked it so much, it actually inspired him to write his own review of it. He emailed it to me and told me I could do with it as I pleased. I figured since I started this week with a post on Canadian Breakfast Stout, I could end it in a similar way. Therefore, enjoy this guest review of CBS!
Hype. Anyone that has seen the Mona Lisa, read a Jonathan Franzen novel, or been to the Catalina Wine Mixer knows what I’m talking about. Hype sucks because it sets unrealistic expectations for something that is probably great, but just can’t be the greatest. When I saw the Mona Lisa, I remember making an effort to appreciate it, and in that effort I lost the simplistic joy of looking at a woman with a giant forehead and no eyebrows. It’s a good painting and all, but it will never be as good as it’s supposed to be. The worst part about hype is that if you don’t love it there is something wrong with you and there are experts with empirical data to prove it.
That’s not true. The worst part about hype is that it created hipsters. Hipsters got cool hating things that are hyped and ironically loving things that are just awful. Jokes on them though, because now being a hipster is hyped and they are lost in a spinning void of self loathing.
Anyway, when Gary busted out a bottle of Founder’s Canadian Breakfast Stout it reminded me of the scene in Indian Jones where the Nazi’s are getting ready to open the Ark of the Covenant, and not just because Gary is German and has interesting views on nationalism, but because this beer is the 3rd highest rated beer on Beer Advocate. Having never had the top two beers on the list, this is supposed to be the best beer I’ve ever drank. It’s a seemingly impossible mountain to climb, but anyone that has seen the Grand Canyon or been to Rome knows that sometimes the hype fits.
Appearance: Nothing fancy here, just pure midnight ebony. There is thick cocoa head and alcohol lacing on the sides of the tulip glass.
Smell: It fills a room. It’s chocolate, ground coffee, syrup, but also has a roasted quality. You get a bit of the maple and bourbon, but it’s not sweet and alcohol-y, more of a fresh baked bourbon cake.
Taste: First of all, you feel it everywhere. Before I actually tasted anything, I wondered how big of a sip did I just take. The beer has an overwhelming dense quality and a mouth feel of cream or cheesecake almost. After that initial surprise, the flavors came out for a show.
The Canadian Breakfast Stout is an incredible balance. The balance between malt and hop, sweet and bitter, roasted and mellow, are all evidence of an expertly brewed beer. There’s fresh coffee, chocolate, quality bourbon, and sweet maple but it is balanced with the bitterness of the hops. The flavor is perfectly roasted. Any more and the beer would have had a burnt quality. Any less and the beer wouldn’t have had the status it has. What’s most amazing is that it is drinkable and enjoyable despite having every quality of a beer you should have to drink out of an eyedropper.
Here’s a little poetry – it tastes warm and thoughtful. If you don’t know what I mean, taste an IPA which tastes like “I’m here to party.” When you taste this beer it tastes like a good conversation. Founder’s agrees because they decided to bottle this in a 750mil instead of a 12oz. Not even the Irishest of Irish could drink a 750mil of this stuff alone.
So does it live up to the hype? The best beer I’ve ever drunk and will ever drink was a Bud Light on a catamaran with my family. We just got done snorkeling and my parents, whom I had never seen drink more than a single beer, got a round for the family and we laughed and danced to reggae and watched the ocean. My family became my friends that day. I was 16 years old.
What’s the best beer you’ve ever had?