Lazyboy Saloon (154 Mamaroneck Ave.) in White Plains, New York, was the scene recently for an impressive tap takeover by one of the country’s premiere microbreweries. More than a quarter of the bar’s impressive 40 draught lines were devoted to the world-class beers of Founders Brewing out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Among the elite entries was the celebrated Kentucky Breakfast Stout, a wondrous wallop of coffee and Bourbon barrel-aged flavors that will go straight to your head at 11.5% ABV. If people in Kentucky have anything remotely similar to this in the morning time, it must make for an incredibly interesting afternoon.
To slow things down a little, I switched over to their Double Trouble Imperial IPA, with a modest 9% alcohol content. This beer highlights the oft-overlooked tropical citrus flavors that certain hops carry. Taking a slow whiff before my first swig revealed an enigmatic ensemble of familiar fruits like mangoes, orange, pineapple and even a few other tangy notes that eluded my immediate description. As pleasing as it might have smelled, it had nothing on the taste of this full-bodied beauty, with an unexpected caramelized sweetness to help subdue the gargantuan bitterness that dominates any good double IPA.
Before my palate was completely sapped of ability to discern flavor, I took a pour of the Linchpin White IPA—a clever concoction that Founders brewed in collaboration with Green Flash Brewing in San Diego, CA. Collaborative beer is always somewhat mysterious to me, how the delicate craft of brewing can be undertaken by multiple brewers in remote locations. However they made it work, this hazy yellow number with a 7% ABV delivers in spades. Offering a unique aroma and body that hinted at coriander, hay, and perhaps some unknown lemon candy, drinking this beer was like straddling continents of flavor. The mature yeastiness of the brew evoked the Belgian tradition of the Old World, yet it finished with the distinct northeastern hoppiness that defines American craft beer.
As with any tap takeover, a lot can be learned about the flavor profile associated with the showcased brewery. In this situation, I had read much about the highly publicized Founders yet had failed to taste many of their more elusive offerings. When it comes to beer, nothing is ever as informing as taking that first sip.
For readers in the New York area, more information on upcoming events can be found at Lazyboy’s website.