KBS, Fermenta collaboration on tap for Founders

Tom Gromak, and Dawn Riffenburg
The Detroit News
Founders Brewing's Casey Baxter, of Brighton, pours the brewery's iconic Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS) during a special tapping Friday at the Michigan Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti's Riverside Park.

The ever-popular Founders Brewing Co. drew heavy traffic at the Summer Beer Festival with timed tappings of special brews. The Grand Rapids brewery, like many others at the festival, offered a collaboration with the female brewing group Fermenta. The brainchild of Founders brewer Laura Houser and special to the festival, the Philogynist is a wheat beer with organic orange and lemon zest, Aurora and Mandarina hops.

In an email, Houser described Philogynist as a nice summer beer and said that the name meant "love and admiration of women."

"Since this beer was lovingly brewed by Fermenta women, I decided it was a very appropriate name," she wrote.

Founders also offered a tweaked version of last year's Art Prize beer, Mosaic Promise. (Look for Spectra Trifecta at Art Prize this year.) Mosaic seemed to have an even brighter, crisper flavor than its previous incarnation.

Founders' special timed releases drew a crowd, especially with its 6 p.m. tapping of KBS that had the line chanting, "KBS! KBS!"

Founders Sales representative Kevin DeVries said he expected to exhaust his supply of the iconic bourbon-barrel-aged Michigan stout in at little as 20 to 30 minutes.

The beer owes at least part of its popularity to its scarcity. Founders will produce a little more than 6,000 barrels of KBS this year, aged in barrels in gypsum mines south of Grand Rapids. DeVries is well aware of the demand.

"All Michiganders would prefer it to be a Michigan-only release," he said. But Founders is now available in 34 of the 50 states, most recently adding the Dakotas and Minnesota to its footprint.

"We're growing, but we want to make sure we take care of the home state, too," he said. But he said even KBS can inspire odd sales patterns. "There are markets I've visited where they have cases of it stacked up," he said. "Now we have other accoutns where they tell us people follow the trucks around to get it."