To celebrate their 15th year in business, the folks at Founders Brewing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, have released a powerful barrel-aged barleywine called Bolt Cutter. “Dry-hopped with a mountain of Cascade hops,” says the brewery, “it’s balanced by a malty sweetness and spicy complexity, resulting from barrel aging some of it in bourbon barrels, some in maple syrup-bourbon barrels and some not at all.” This barreling scheme is similar to the one Founders used for their excellent 2009 Nemesis release, though that was a wheat wine. Bolt Cutter has been resting in bottles and kegs since July—a fine idea for a beer that’s 15 percent alcohol, which might otherwise be harsh and hot. It came out last month.
Founders president Mike Stevens explains that Bolt Cutter got its name from the brewery’s run-in with a bank in its early days. “We were defaulting on our loan,” he writes on the Founders blog. “The bank called and threatened to chain our doors shut if we didn’t come up with the money that we owed them. We had seven days to come up with half a million dollars.”
Vice president Dave Engbers bought a pair of bolt cutters, in case the bank followed through on its threat. “We were determined to keep our doors open and to keep brewing beer, no matter what it took,” he writes. “Luckily, we never had to use them.” He still keeps the bolt cutter in his office.