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For the Love of Stout

Will Motley


Rare is the thing we can point to and say with confidence, "This is the best of its kind." Rare the consensus, rare the thing itself. So when we behold such an object—when we drink it in, as it were—we must do two things at once: first, abandon the hype, and second, fully indulge in our senses.

With that said, Founder's Breakfast Stout is a perfect beer.

OK OK, I already hear the chorus of dissent. "But it's so rich!" "I hate coffee!" "What does that even mean?" "Taste is subjective!" "Who are you to say?!" All valid. And all missing the point. This is a beer with a singular goal. A beer that wins by restricting itself to the limits of its particular genius.

So with the hype machine purring, what makes this beer so amazing? For one thing, it consistently rises tothe challenge of being deemed the best, which is hard. Both of the two major beer rating sites (Beer Advocate, Rate Beer) list a 100pt score for Breakfast Stout, and it's been that way for a long time. Like any dynasty, each time Breakfast Stout arrives at the table it has to compete not only with your attention, your wandering taste buds, but with the expectations set by its own success.

In some ways, it's like listening to Bob Dylan's greatest hits. It's a loaded setup, destined to fail. Who wants to like something just because everyone else does? Not me. But in the case of Dylan, one thing leads to another and I find myself weeping in a corner one moment and flying at top speed across America in the next. 

Founder's Breakfast Stout is not Bob Dylan. But for a beer, it really wins my heart. Through all 12 ounces it holds a tension between delicate balance and lavish excess. It's got a boozy punch on entry, a loud announcement about its intent, a roasty cocoa bitterness that in any hands other than Founder's would probably tip into ordinary or even bad. But it doesn't. It's got surprising restraint. It swerves from sweet to dry and back and leaves you wondering, which is it? The color shifts in the light and the lace of the head pearls on the glass. And honestly, I haven't had one in months, but I can taste it. I'm making myself thirsty, literally, craving its pleasure. In fact—

Founder's Breakfast Stout | available for a limited time | $13/4pk