Owners Mike Stevens and Dave Engbers of Founders Brewing Co. often cite their Dirty Bastard scotch ale as the beer that ‘saved’ their brewery. Founders opened in 1997 during the first wave of the U.S. microbrew explosion in the mid 90’s and started by producing the kind of beers they thought people wanted: Pale ales, amber ales, wheat beers, and porters. However, after a few years of producing good albeit unremarkable products under a failing business model the duo was threatened with imminent bankruptcy. With nothing left to lose, they decided to ignore their investors and created a beer that they knew would distinguish Founders from other breweries. This decision yielded a strong, immensely flavorful scotch ale they irreverently titled Dirty Bastard. In time, sales of Dirty Bastard eventually helped the brewery to turn a profit.
In 2005 Founders became one of the first American Craft Breweries to experiment with barrel-aging. A few years later, the brewery began aging Dirty Bastard ale in retired Bourbon barrels some 85 feet underground in the old gypsum mines beneath Grand Rapids. The low humidity and controlled climate of these caves proved to be a perfect environment for such an endeavor and the barrel aged Dirty Bastard, ‘Backwoods Bastard’ became an instant cult classic. This barrel aged ale is rich, creamy, and impressively smooth for such a high ABV beer. Despite its underlying malt sweetness showcasing notes of caramel, vanilla, toffee, and dried fig, the beer is kept in balance by overtones of bourbon, oaky tannins, smoke, and earthy spice. Backwoods Bastard is a self proclaimed kick back sipper and is sure to excite the palate, particularly for purveyors of fine scotch and whiskey. However, it is only available in limited quantities from October to November, so get it while you can!