Founders Brewing rarely disappoints. In the last year or so I’ve said to anyone within earshot that the Michigan brewery might have the best catalogue of beers in the country. The beers are consistent. I’ve sent many folks looking for good IPAs, stouts, and porters to the same place.
For better or worse, Founders also knows how to ramp up the hype machine. Their extremely rare Kentucky Breakfast Stout is the cause of much annual angst, despite the fact that Founders' regular Breakfast Stout is widely available and pretty darn amazing. The scotch ale Backwoods Bastard is my favorite barrel-aged beer. Demand for the brewery's rare beers far exceeds supply.
Demand for the latest Founders release is bound to be high. Doom (note the clever contrast to the 99 Bottles review of Smuttynose "Bloom" earlier in the week) is part of the Founders Backstage Series, which brings experimental and tap room beers to a larger audience. The beers are not on a set schedule and may or may not be brewed again.
Specifically, Doom is Founders' Double Trouble IPA aged for four months in bourbon barrels. It is, according to the press release, "brewed to turn your world upside down." It's a unique take on the barrel-aged beers from a brewer whose usual aged offerings are malt-forward.
“It’s hop heavy. It’s barrel-aged. It’s unapologetic," said co-founder Dave Engbers. ”It’s the definition of a Founders beer."
Doom pours the drenched-orange color of an IPA. Vanilla dominates the initial smell, though there's citrus if you sniff deeply enough. Prior to sipping I have no idea how this is going to taste.
The first sip is sweet and warming. There's an IPA bite in the middle, but buttery oak wraps itself so tightly around the dank, earthy hops that there's not much room for bitterness. This is a sipper. The 10.4 percent ABV is weighty but not prohibitive.
Two strong approaches combine to produce a surprisingly balanced beer. I know that not everyone will be able to get Doom. Full disclosure, my access to the beer is directly related to my coverage area. Doom will be released later this month and has a suggested retail price of $12.99 per 750-ml bottle. It's good, though not worth panicking over if you don't find it. Founders makes plenty of exceptional beer. My hope is that you get to enjoy some of it soon. Founders expects to release two more Backstage Series beers in 2013.