Founders Brewing Co.
Grand Rapids, MI
Dirty Bastard Scotch Style Ale
When I first got into craft beer a few years ago, I had the misfortune of entering the scene right after Founders had left South Carolina. For whatever reason - I heard it primarily boiled down to a crappy distributor - the Michigan-based brewery had been pulled from the state, and our neighbors in North Carolina and Georgia were left to laugh at our misery. While packs of Breakfast Stout and Curmudgeon still linger, the bulk of Founders’ lineup was gone.
But about a month ago, the prayers of many a South Carolina beer geek were answered, and Founders began distributing in the state again. They weren’t playing around either. Nearly their annual seasonal lineup - Centennial IPA, Red’s Rye PA, etc. - flooded the market, as did plenty of Curmudgeon. Just this week, Devil Dancer arrived on shelves, and Cerise and Frangelic Mountain Brown should be here soon.
I’ll get to reviews of the other yearly brews down the line, but I want to start with Dirty Bastard, Founders’ smokey and peety Scotch ale. Coming in at 8.5%, Dirty Bastard is true to its name: a muddy color, a rich smokey malt taste and a nastily delicious nose.
Bastard pours a murky dirty water brown color with more of an amber tint when held up to the light. Maybe half a finger of head on top, but it dissipates really quickly. There was some really strong lacing and alcohol legs grabbing the side of the glass and not letting go.
The nose is fairly boozy but with a sweet malt backbone to it and that slight hint of smoke. Bit toffee, brown sugar, caramel, plum and dark fruit notes flood out of the glass, all with that smokey film over top.
The body is lighter but has a surprisingly creamy mouthfeel. There’s nice carbonation throughout as well. Big caramel and toffee notes really shine through on the back as it settles into this really nice mellow sweetness with a bit of a earthiness and smoke lingering. There’s a very slight hint of hops but primarily a really strong, sweet malt flavor throughout.
Founders is hands down one of my favorite breweries. I’ve had the fortune of sampling nearly everything in their catalogue from the past few years - CBS included - and everything is just stellar. Knowing they’re back in the market and I don’t have to travel to another state to get their products is awesome. I’m truly, genuinely glad they’re back in SC again. This time, I hope it’s for good.