Review: Founders Curmudgeon’s Better Half

Better half comes down the bottling line at Founders

The third installment in the Founders Backstage series arrived this week, and it might be the best one of the bunch. I know, that’s saying alot considering the sought after Canadian Breakfast Stout is part of the series. CBS is a beer that causes beer nerds to do insane things, and usually sells out before you can blink. And nothing against CBS, but after a taste of Better Half, you might have a new favorite.

Curmudgeon’s Better Half is a re-branding of the beer formerly known as Kaiser’s Curmudgeon, which has only been served at Founders’ taproom and in extremely limited draft distribution. Better Half is an Old Ale, which is very similar to a Barleywine, if you aren’t familiar with Old Ales. And of course, as the name and label suggest, it all starts with Founders Old Curmudgeon. The already tasty brew , which is an old ale brewed with molasses and aged on oak; then becomes Better Half after aging—for 254 days—in bourbon barrels that have more recently been aging Michigan maple syrup. Oh yes, it’s as sweet and amazing as the description makes it sound.

I shared a bottle with friends last night, and was amazed at how smooth and tasty this beer was. It’s Old Curmudgeon, but that sweet taste from the maple syrup really takes it over the top. And at over 11% ABV, it’s incredibly drinkable. So much so that my buddies kept asking how strong it was while we sipped.

So how available is Better Half? Because I’m sure many of you tried to get your hands on some CBS, and came up empty, (I know I did). Well, it’s not “easy” to get, but is nowhere near the hype train that CBS distribution is. One of my local bottle shops has three cases, although its one per customer. And it retails at about 16-17$ for a 750ml bottle. So get out and grab one or two, and enjoy an excellent beer!

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