Written by John King
My cell phone sits in my left hand, torn and battered like a prize fighters punching bag. In my right, a wireless mouse scanning across Beernews.org looking for any updates. A quick text lights up my phone saying three simple words, “Old Town Now”. The beer has arrived, luckily, with a little less fanaticism than it’s older sibling, Canadian Breakfast Stout. Founders Curmudgeons Better Half finally made its way to Louisville a few weeks ago and and only stayed on the shelves (or behind the counter for most places) for a day or so. Better Half is the latest in Founders Backstage series, after Blushing Monk and CBS, and came with a stout price of $15-17 for a bomber.
Better Half is Founders Old Curmudgeon Ale (Old Ale) aged in bourbon barrels which recently held maple syrup (aged for 254 days). Maple and bourbon are two of my favorite flavors next to chicken wings and hot sauce. I do not suggest mixing all four of these.
I actually had this beer about a year ago at the Holy Grale when it was called Kaiser Curmudgeon. It was one of the best beers I had all year. So when I got my hands on two bottles and my buddy had three, I knew I had to drink one fresh and then age the rest of them.
The beer pours a crimson-brown color and your nose is immediately filled with scents of maple syrup. It’s like Aunt Jemima just back-handed you. The nose is like a caramel maple donut, if they made them (I pray they do). I took a few sips, sat back, and said “Really, that’s it. This is what I paid $17 dollars for?”. The beer was an initial booze-bomb and sweet as hell. Like most, I gave it some time and it eventually grew on me. The sweetness was like if you took a butterscotch candy, covered it in maple syrup, dropped it in a shotglass of bourbon and down the hatch. Bourbon remained pretty hot in the beer.
In all honesty, the beer was good, but with age, it will get better. I doubt you can find it in the stores anymore, so try to hit up a local place which will tap it (Gravity Head at Rich O’s) or a friend who will share.