Many of last weekend's online reviews for Founders Brewing Co.'s 2017 Backwoods Bastard appeared a little unusual.
"Fyllig, mustig, stark och god," said Untappd user Göran F. of the bourbon-barrel-aged scotch ale from the Grand Rapids-based brewery.
The anticipated, annual limited release of the 11.2% alcohol-by volume beer occurred last week in the United States, and it was widely available in metro Detroit by Friday. Many users soon began checking into the beer on Untappd, a social-networking app for beer drinkers. At the same time, numerous check-ins appeared in Sweden, as well as a few in Russia, United Kingdom and Finland.
Sure enough, the brewery confirms the beer made the trip over the Atlantic Ocean in time for people across the world to toast the release at the same time.
"Their shipments of 2017 Backwoods Bastard started arriving back in September," Founders spokeswoman Francesca Jasinski said of Sweden in an email.
The overseas response was virtually all positive, with high marks from beer lovers in Sweden, which had the most international check-ins. Goran F. checked in from Haninge, just outside Stockholm.
Translated, his review is: "Rich, full-bodied, strong and good."
And he's right. This beer is consistently delicious, and this year it's especially smooth and complex: think caramel, raisins, a little toffee, hints of smoke and vanilla with oak barrel flavors and plenty of body and warming alcohol notes – great to cope with autumn temperatures. And if it spends a few months in your basement, the flavors might get even better. Founders, which last week marked its 20th anniversary, now distributes in nearly every state. And since 30% of Founders was sold a few years ago to Spain-based Mahou San Miguel, its distribution in Europe has expanded.
Jasinski said the United Kingdom is Founders' biggest market outside the United States. And of the brewery's higher-alcohol, barrel-aged series, Kentucky Breakfast Stout (12.4% ABV) has been the most popular.
The Founders presence in Detroit is also set to grow: This winter, a taproom is anticipated to open in Midtown near Little Caesars Arena.
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