This Rare and Coveted Bourbon Barrel–Aged Imperial Stout Is Coming to L.A.

Sweet barrel-aged nectar
Sweet barrel-aged nectar
Sarah Bennett

Like Russian River's Pliny the Younger, Founders Brewing's Kentucky Breakfast Stout is one of those annually released beers that is often hyped and rarely attained. But while you can technically camp out at any number of SoCal bars each February for a chance to taste Russian River's sought-after triple IPA, your only hope of snagging a sip of Founders' bourbon barrel–aged chocolate coffee stout is to take a well-timed trip to one of the 37 states where the Michigan brewery distributes.

That is, until now.

For the first time ever, KBS will see a Los Angeles release, meaning that over the next month, there will be ceremonial keg tappings of this year's boozy 12.1 percent ABV batch at craft beer bars and a limited number of bottles available for sale at top liquor stores.

The beer itself is based off the brewery's classic Breakfast Stout, a meaty, oatmeal-chocolate-coffee stout usually released as a fall seasonal. Originally a taproom experiment that started with the acquisition of a single used whiskey barrel back in 2003, KBS was the first bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout to see wide-scale release, and it has grown to become one of the largest barrel-aging projects in the country.

Inside the caves where KBS is aged in bourbon barrels
Inside the caves where KBS is aged in bourbon barrels
Sarah Bennett

Today, Founders owns more than 9,000 (and counting) bourbon barrels, sourced from places like Heaven Hill and Jim Beam. They're stored in abandoned gypsum mine caves in Grand Rapids, 85 feet below the earth's surface. The caves are perfect cellar temperature for aging beer, maintaining the beer's sweet and nutty flavors and making KBS still one of the smoothest brews of its kind on the market.

Here are four KBS tappings in L.A. — no campout required: 

Wednesday, April 6: 2015 and 2016 KBS on draft plus tap takeover. Surly Goat Encino, 17337 Ventura Blvd., Encino; (818) 745-5012. surlygoatencino.com 

Tuesday, April 12: The Glendale Tap, 4227 San Fernando Road, Glendale; (818) 241-4227, glendaletap.com

Thursday, April 14: 2015 and 2016 KBS on draft plus tap takeover. Surly Goat West Hollywood, 7929 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood; (323) 650-4628, surlygoat.com.

Tuesday, May 3: Uncle Henry's Deli, 7400 Florence Ave., Downey; (562) 927-0114, unclehenrysdeli.com.

These places are receiving KBS kegs but do not have special events planned yet:

Yard House (L.A. Live, Pasadena, Marina del Rey, Long Beach
Eureka Burger (Hawthorne and Claremont)
The Local Peasant
Sunset Beer Store
Congregation Ale House (Pasadena, Azusa and Long Beach)


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