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Beer of the Week: Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster

Beer of the Week - Great Lakes Lakes Erie MonsterThis week’s featured beer is Lake Erie Monster, brewed by Great Lakes Brewing Company. The Great Lakes website describes it as “An Imperial India pale ale exploding with bold hop flavors.”

This is a seasonal release that is usually out in late Spring, and it only has a shelf life of about 90 days (this is typical of most IPAs). So if you buy some bottles, drink them down while they’re fresh!

This particular brew is named “Lake Erie Monster” in ode to South Bay Bessie, Cleveland’s Lake Erie version of the Loch Ness Monster. Just don’t drink too many of these brews and wander alone near the water’s edge – you never know what may be lurking underneath the surface!

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Slight hazy medium amber with moderate head and lots of nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet with strong citrus hops in the nose and maybe some floral notes.

Taste: Citrusy sweetness upfront; pineapple, oranges, and some light malts that move into a dry, bitter, hoppy finish. As the beer warms more of a spicy finish emerges. The warmth of the booze comes out after just a few sips.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and creamy with balanced carbonation.

Overall: While a good IPA, it’s a little on the sweet side for me. Not as sweet as the Unita Hop Notch but definitely sweeter than Hop Stoopid or the Enjoy By IPAs from Stone. Overall though a solid IPA that is especially good for a hot summer day.

Tasty Mug Rating: 3.75 / 5

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.10%
IBUs: 80
Original Gravity: 22º Plato
Malts: Harrington 2-Row Malt; Caramel 30
Hops: Simcoe; Willamette
Special Ingredients:
Availability: Rotating (Released in May)
Food Pairings: Steak, pork chops, aged cheese, and dark chocolate
Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, Oversized Wine Glass
Aging: Check the bottle for a date – if you purchase the 25th anniversary bottles you should consume this one by August 2013. General shelf life is about 90 days for this brew.

Where to get it:
I purchased my 4-pack at Gentile’s (corner of King Ave and North Star in Columbus). Most likely available at most beer stores while it is in release.

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Beer of the Week: Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout)

Beer of the Week - KBS - In Glass

Pour of KBS at Old Bag of Nails Beer-Fest Party

Every year the annual release of Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout) is highly anticipated by craft beer lovers everywhere. KBS is a limited release, generally appearing in spring (this year at the beginning of April) and often sells out within minutes at the selected retailers that receive distribution. This year KBS shipped to 23 states, and because of the limited quantities (some stores only receive one case) customers are often limited to a single bottle, so you can imagine the race that ensues to acquire this coveted beer.

In 2012, Founders underestimated the demand for KBS and released a very limited amount, which definitely didn’t sit well with loyal fans. And while they never disclose how many barrels of KBS are produced, Founders did admit that for this year’s release they brewed “significantly more” KBS than they did last year

KBS – What’s the Big Deal?

Any limited-release or hard-to-acquire brew is often in high demand by craft beer fans, especially if it follows through on taste factor. Sometimes a brew is limited due to the amount of time or method involved in aging, ingredients, location, or other factors. I’ve personally had several of the more highly-esteemed beers in the craft beer community, and I do admit that KBS ranks up there in the top 10 for me.

Beer of the Week - KBS - brewtus614

Artfully arranged KBS bottles – compliments of Instagram friend @brewtus614

More About This Popular Brew

KBS “makes your taste buds squeal with delight” according to the Founders website, and I can vouch for this – it’s true. It is an imperial stout brewed with coffee and chocolate before being cave-aged for a full year in oak bourbon barrels under the city.

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Pours a thick black, with a minimal dark-tan head with some retention around the edge of the glass; lots of lacing as you drink.
Smell: Nose is sweet and roasted with coffee, chocolate and a hint of vanilla and oak.
Taste: Lives up to the hype; roasted, chocolate, vanilla (which typically comes from being aged in bourbon barrels) with a little hint of sweet bitterness; can also pick up on the oak and bourbon.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a real creamy smoothness; coats the tongue and lingers.  
Overall:
This was my first encounter with the esteemed KBS, and I have to say, it didn’t disappoint. I was drinking several very good beers in a flight while waiting for KBS to be poured at a local establishment’s Beer-Fest KBS party, and when compared side-by-side to KBS, the other beers definitely fell a bit into its shadow. In a special class, KBS is well worth the effort of hunting it down. I’m sure I’ll be doing the same when it releases again next year!

Tasty Mug Rating: 4.76 / 5

Additional Information

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.2
IBUs: 70
Original Gravity: Unknown
Malts:
Not listed
Hops: Not listed
Availability: Limited Release (released in April in 2013)
Food Pairings: Cheese (buttery; Brie, Gouda, Havarti); Chocolate; Smoked or grilled meat
Glassware: Pint Glass, Snifter, Oversized Wine Glass
Aging: Can be cellared for long periods, under the proper conditions

Where to get it?
If you haven’t acquired a bottle or happened upon one of the select bars that had it on draft (for probably less than a day), then you’re probably out of luck until next year. Serious craft beer enthusiasts often hunt for the beer on the exact release date, or have connections within the community in order to acquire a bottle or two.