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Beer On My Shirt: The Day That Breakfast Died

J. R. Shirt, January 30, 2014 -   

Once, as a young boy, I sat at the breakfast table staring intently at my french toast. I loved french toast, preferably smothered in butter and powdered sugar, preferably made by my Grandmother, preferably referred to as egg-bread. On this particular day, known in my mind as The Day That Breakfast Died, the french toast was not made by my Grandmother and the fixed stare that fell upon it had nothing to with admiration. I was, in fact, frozen with fear. Petrified with pure, unimaginable horror.

I had, just a minute earlier, taken the first bite of my Aunt Suzie's inaugural attempt at egg-bread. To say that something was amiss would be a misuse of the words 'something' and 'amiss'.

“Is this egg-bread?” I asked.

She assured me it was and so I returned my attention to her interpretation as it currently sat before me. It looked like egg-bread. It was covered in mounds of powdered sugar. It was cut into fours. Everything appeared as it should. And then the egg-bread moved.

I repeat: “...and then the egg-bread moved.”

THE EGG-BREAD FUCKING MOVED.

Somehow, ever so slightly, every few seconds, the powdered sugar seemed to shift. And I was terrified. Remember in The Shining (the movie) when Danny sees those dead girls and then the river of blood comes crashing down the hallway? It was a lot like that except that instead of a roaring river of blood, I saw a slight shift in some powdered sugar. The horror.

When Aunt Suzie joined me at the table, with her very own plate of evil-bread, I hadn't blinked in over three minutes. “It can't be that bad,” she said.

“I think it's moving.”

“Well, that's silly. That's just not possible.”

For a moment I considered the idea that it was not possible. That it was silly. I considered that maybe, contrary to everything everyone had ever told me – things like “you're so smart” and “you have such keen eyesight” and “you have sound reasoning ability” – I might just be the poorly sighted dimwit that I always thought I was. I would never be a pilot.

BUT THEN IT MOVED AGAIN! A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT! THE POWDERED SUGAR HAD MOVED AGAIN AND THIS TIME IT MOVED A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT!

For a moment I considered the possibility that, as a six year old, I had accidentally ingested LSD.

I looked up just in time to see that Aunt Suzie was about to take her first bite of this breakfast abomination. I tried to cry out. I tried to stop her. But it was too late. I watched as her eyes grew big and her cheeks puffed out. Telepathically I heard her scream “You were right!” and then she spit the demon-bread back onto her plate. I sat motionless for a few seconds, half expecting the half-chewed breakfast to come alive and kill us both.

“That is terrible,” she said, “How did I mess that up?”

It turns out, Aunt Suzie's only mistake was that she accidentally topped the egg-bread with flour instead of powdered sugar. It also turns out that the accidental flour was infested with weevil grubs – hence the strange, terrifying movements in the what we thought was powdered sugar. The good news was that I hadn't accidentally ingested LSD. Also, I could still potentially be a pilot. In a way, I was relieved.

Perhaps this is the type of early childhood trauma that drives people to favor brunch over breakfast. Or maybe brunch is just better – it is more likely to involve drinking, more likely to have smoked salmon as an option, and just as likely to have bacon. I think if we sorted by Meals Above Replacement, 'Brunch' would come in fifth behind 'Pub Lunch', 'Beer Brunch', 'Brunch With Smoked Salmon', and 'Brunch With Smoked Salmon (2013)'.

But alas, MealGraphs has yet to get off the ground (not enough data!), so we will have to look toward beer for comparisons of breakfast and brunch. Searching the BeerGraphs leaderboards for beers with 'Breakfast' in the title, we find there are 58 beers total at the time of writing this and that nine of the top 10 beers, and 10 of the top 11, are either Founder's Kentucky Breakfast Stout (the #1 beer with 'breakfast' in the title with a 11.93 BAR), Founder's Breakfast Stout, or some vintage of the two. Searching for beers with 'Brunch' in the title returns only 11 beers, 7 of which are brewed by Mikeller, with Beer Geek Brunch Weasel coming in at #2 with a 6.08 BAR. Incidentally, the #1 beer with 'brunch' in the title is Kentucky Brunch by Toppling Goliath Brewery out of Iowa.

For those unfamiliar, Iowa is a state in the Midwest.

In an effort to definitively answer the question of which is better – breakfast or brunch – and to continue on with my vision of beers fighting one another in a Bloodsport style tournament known as Beersport, I purchased some Founder's Breakfast Stout and some Mikeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel. I drank a bottle of each in the same night and took notes. Then drank another bottle of each a few nights later but with the order switched. Below you'll find a brief synopsis of my preconceived notions that I jotted down prior to the beersport battle, followed by the side by side comparison of the two.

Preconceived Notions:

I have had Founder's Breakfast Stout before, many times, and I love it. I have not had Mikeller's Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, therefore I have no true emotions toward it. Both are made with coffee and oats – Breakfast Stout using Sumatra and Kona coffee and Brunch Weasel using Vietnamese ca phe Chon coffee, which is considered by many as some of the greatest coffee on the planet (and is produced by a weasel-like creature called a civet eating the coffee beans and then pooping them out). Price-wise, one bottle of Brunch Weasel cost about as much as a four pack of Breakfast Stout, so there is that to consider. But I imagine the weasel coffee is expensive so there's that to think about as well. Style-wise Breakfast Stout currently has a 106 Style+, while Brunch Weasel has a 104 Style+ (both fall under the American Imperial/Double Stout Style).

Founder's Breakfast Stout (9.82 BAR) vs. Mikeller's Beer Geek Brunch Weasel (6.08 BAR)

Appearance:

Both were dark brown to black with a thin tan head. This category is a draw.

Smell:

Founder's Breakfast Stout had a roasted coffee and chocolate smell. However, after a Brunch Weasel, the coffee smell was faint and a mild chocolate and sweet oat smell came through along with the roasted malts.

The Brunch Weasel had a great aroma of rich coffee or even espresso (or weasel shit coffee), hints of vanilla, chocolate milk, and a woody booze. The aroma was not really affected by whether or not I drank this or the Breakfast Stout first.

The Weasel wins.

Taste:

The Breakfast Stout had a nice balance between the coffee flavors up front and the roasted malt, chocolate, bitterness, and the faint oat sweetnes in the finish. This beer is an easy drinking clinic on balance of complementary flavors and the journey between them. However, after the Weasel, the coffee flavors were very subdued, highlighting the bitterness of the chocolate and the slick sweetness from the oats in the finish. Obviously, the Weasel had dominated my palette.

The Weasel was a marvel of rich, bold flavors – rich, powerful coffee flavors with vanilla and molasses and cocoa. The mix of the vanilla and cocoa gave a a faint smokey booze flavor in the back end – or maybe that is just naturally part of the coffee profile – either way it really complemented the bite of the beer. The coffee is just amazingly rich and has almost a lactose sweetness to it in the finished compared to the oat sweetness of the Breakfast Stout. As it warmed, the sweetness turned to more a boozey oak sweetness. Very dessert-like in the way it is just so rich and fulfilling.

The beers are just different worlds, doing different things, both doing them extremely well. Although, if I were choosing the last sip of beer before I died, and these were my two choices, I would definitely choose the Weasel. If I had to choose one beer to marry and only drink that beer for the rest of my life, and these were my two choices, I would most likely choose the Breakfast Stout, assuming I was going to live for more than a couple months.

Feel:

Founder's had a great semi-dry, medium thick body that complimented the roast and bittersweetness. Initially the carbonation gives a nice fluffy feel that gradually gets more slick as it warms. The main difference when drinking this after the Weasel was how noticeable the sweet slickness from the oats was.

The Weasel was thick and slick with basically no carbonation – the tight bitterness and richness of the coffee supplemented the carb and at times gave the feel of tiny, prickly bubbles. The finish was surisingly dry and really rounded it all out as I journeyed down the glass. The bit of heat I got from the booze just added to the overall event of this beer – a very enjoyable, near perfect feel for a nightcap (hopefully the coffee doesn't keep me up). Initially, I thought that this would have a much more syrupy taste after reversing the order and drinking the Breakfast Stout first, but was pleasantly surprised when the switch had little to no impact.

Again, just difficult to compare a winner in this category as they are just doing two different things here. It's like comparing bobsledding to soccer. I'm not sure which beer would be which sport.

Overall:

The Founder's Breakfast Stout before the Weasel was fluffy and heavy and slick and sweet and bitter and chocolate and coffee. But the night I drank one of these after the Weasel it just wasn't hitting the mark.

The Weasel really grew on more and more with each sip and I fell in love about half way down the glass both times I had it. Just so much nuance and complexity in the feel and flavor. I wrote “wow” at the end of my notes.

Conclusions:

The beers have more differences than similarities. They are both amazing. Based on the head to head categories above, the Brunch Weasel wins with a solid advantage in aroma/smell. But really, when comparing breakfast and brunch, can there really ever be a true winner? 

(If you read this article without picturing Pauly Shore, then you, my internet friend, are the true winner.)

Follow J. R. Shirt on Twitter and Untappd @beeronmyshirt

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