In the swanky, expensive wine section of a swanky, expensive specialty market, I worked up the nerve to ask a swanky, expensive-looking customer service representative a question about beer. My husband, Nate, had sent me on a mission to find a Russian Imperial Stout, other than Old Rasputin—not that he has anything against Old Rasputin. He just wanted to try something new. The last time he sent me on a mission to find a new beer, I went to a funky liquor shop next to a marijuana store thinking, “This has GOT to be the place!” But it wasn’t. The owner was nice enough, but he was only interested in finding a beer that wouldn’t give Nate a headache. Based on what I know about Nate from 21 years of marriage, I think he wants headaches. The labels on the beers he buys—all decked out with deranged looking yetis, ghost pirates, and tentacled beasts—just scream, “I will give you the biggest headache of your life!” And Nate says, “Sign me up!” The swanky specialty market did carry such beers, but the swanky customer service representative looked annoyed with my request.
“We have Old Rasputin. That’s it. Here, I’ll show you,” he said as he marched me over to the refrigerated beer section, waved his hand over the Old Rasputin bottles, and left. Luckily, I had my son Alex with me, so that he could help me spot other Imperial Stouts.
“Look for one that will give your dad a headache,” I told him.
We searched and searched and searched. The stouts were mixed in with the lagers and pilsners and pale ales—and then I discovered the Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout). It was an American stout from Founders Brewery in Michigan. Definitely not Russian, but it looked interesting. The label boasted “a big imperial stout with a massive amount of coffee and chocolate and then bourbon-barrel aged to perfection.”
The words “massive amount” and “big” were enough to convince me that this was the one. When I brought it home, Nate looked confused, but that didn’t stop him from pouring a glass.
“Ahh. That’s nice. It’s definitely a sipping beer.”
I tried the beer as well, and Nate was right. By “breakfast,” the brewers of this beer probably intended a “hearty, stick-to-the-ribs” breakfast (oatmeal?), and by Kentucky, I’m guessing the brewers are referring to bourbon barrels. But this beer tastes nothing like bourbon-flavored oatmeal. It’s more like a magical river of chocolate. The closest breakfast item would probably be Cocoa Puffs, but that doesn’t do the description justice. Imagine drinking chocolate, but there’s also a beer-like finish, and I mean that in a good way. Besides drinking this beer, I would generously pour it over cheesecakes, ice cream, Cocoa Puffs, and Raisin Bran. If headaches ensue, (which they might), more KBS is the answer. Just dip a few doughnuts into a frothy mug and feel the tension slip away.
Cecilia Kennedy once taught Spanish and English courses in Ohio for many years. She now lives in the Greater Seattle area, and writes horror stories. Her blog (Fixin’ Leaks and Leeks: https://fixinleaksnleeksdiy.blog/) chronicles her humorous (and perhaps scary?) attempts at cooking and home repair.