Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gravity Head 2013: Back to the Founders future with mystery on Friday, March 8.

01/31 Update: Gravity Head's 62 beers here

At roughly the same time that my projected mid-January Gravity Head update was about to come due, our Founders Brewing Company representative, John Host, messaged to say he had procurement matters in hand for what has become an annual Founders showcase on the third Friday of Gravity Head, which doubles as a Southern Indiana field trip for Cavalier Distributing’s team.

Just a couple of days later, further word came that John Host no longer was employed at Founders.

Understandably, this surprising turn of events caused some measure of confusion. I felt compelled to formulate a back-up plan, just in case one was needed. However, yesterday I spoke with Cavalier, where Aaron and Jen have been working the phones. Happily, we’re going to be able to keep the Founders third weekend Gravity Head focus alive, albeit with a touch of short-term mystery.

Alongside these kegs from Founders, there’ll be blocs of Flat12 and NABC beers, all slated for tapping on March 8.


Founders Imperial Stout (2011)
Founders Brewing Company
Grand Rapids MI
Malts: Ten varieties
Bitterness: 90 IBUs
Alcohol by volume: 10.5%

Gravity Head Twist: The Publican endorses the use of terms like “jet black” and “motor oil” to describe this straight, unadorned, perennially honest Imperial Stout.


Founders Curmudgeon Old Ale
Founders Brewing Company
Grand Rapids MI
Malts: “Insane malt bill” and
molasses as an adjunct
Bitterness: 50 IBUs
Alcohol by volume: 9.8%

Gravity Head Twist: Founders suggests we think about “classic sea faring ports, local pubs, and weathered old fisherman,” but shouldn’t the imagery be about the Great Lakes? The Publican prefers thinking about his own nickname, prefixed with Potable, and also appropriately weathered.


Founders Breakfast Stout (2011)
Founders Brewing Company
Grand Rapids MI
Malts: Indeterminate, but includes flaked oats, bitter and sweetened imported chocolates, and Sumatra and Kona coffees.
Hops: Why do you ask?
Bitterness: 25 IBUs
Alcohol by volume: 8.3%

Gravity Head Twist: Has any single beer been used as the base for more fascinating experiments than this one? From, come words for living:

bacon, eggs, and beer
everyday should start with
breakfast stout at 10!


Founders Backwoods Bastard (2012)
Founders Brewing Company
Grand Rapids MI
Base style: Strong Scotch Ale
Malts: “Ten varieties of mported malt”
Bitterness: 50 IBUs
Alcohol by volume: 10.2%

Gravity Head Twist: Founders makes a Scotch/Wee Heavy called Dirty Bastard, and bourbon barrels come from the backwoods of Kentucky. Put the two together, and you have a familiar stereotype, complete with bearded hillbilly on the label. But where’s the hootch, the shine, the mountain dew? Coal smoke instead of peat?  

Founders Bolt Cutter
(15th Anniversary)
Founders Brewing Company
Grand Rapids MI
Base style: American Barleywine
Hops: A “mountain” of Cascades for dry-hopping
Bitterness: IBUs
Original Gravity:
Alcohol by volume: 15%

Gravity Head Twist: The Founders Backstage Series presents this 15th anniversary Barleywine, with portions barrel aged (bourbon barrels and maple syrup-bourbon barrels), and blended with portions non-barrel aged. Named for the bolt cutter acquired by a Founders founder more than ten years ago when foreclosure seemed likely.

*Founders “Mystery Ale” ? 10%-20% ?*

I’ll step out on a limb and suggest that once I’m able to reveal the identity of the mystery ale (announced on January 31), the timing of which is entirely up to Founders, you’ll understand why its very presence bolsters the Michigan brewery’s Gravity Head lineup in an otherwise leaner year. Note that Bob Kaiser of Founders will be on hand March 8, along with the Cavalier crew. I’ll know what Flat12 is sending soon.

NABC’s March 8 lineup is here.

Thanks to everyone for making this happen, and to John: Hope to see you soon for a civilized pint somewhere.

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