Founders announced this week the release Lizard of Koz, an imperial stout brewed with blueberries, chocolate and vanilla aged in bourbon barrels, as the second Backstage Series beer of 2016. This is the first time Founders has released Lizard of Koz.

The Founders Backstage Series is made up of boundary-pushing, experimental beers. Affectionately called “the brewers’ playground,” these beers intend to take the diehard Founders fan experience to a wider audience—though all of the beers are released in limited batches.

CBS is one of Eric Strader's top two favorites of Founders' Backstage Series beers. (Eric Strader/Flavor 574)
CBS is one of Eric Strader’s top two favorites of Founders’ Backstage Series beers. (Eric Strader/Flavor 574)

Founders launched the series in 2011 with two beloved beers from their portfolio, CBS (Canadian Breakfast Stout, an imperial stout brewed with coffee and chocolate, then aged in bourbon barrels most recently used for aging Michigan maple syrup) and Blushing Monk (Belgian raspberry ale, 9.2% ABV).  

founders backstage series
Blushing Monk is one of Eric Strader’s top two favorite beers in Founders’ Backstage Series beers. (Eric Strader/Flavor 574)

These two were definitely my favorites in the series. However, Bolt Cutter (barleywine, 15% ABV) and  Curmudgeon’s Better Half (old ale aged in bourbon barrels previously used for Michigan maple syrup, 11.9% ABV) from 2012, and Smoked Porter (a robust porter brewed with beechwood-smoked barley, oak-smoked wheat and chocolate malt, 8% ABV) from 2014 were among my other favorites.

Lizard of Koz is near and dear to brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki’s heart. He wanted to make the birthday of his little sister, Liz, a special one. So he did what he does best and brewed a stout using a few of her favorite ingredients: fresh Michigan blueberries, rich chocolate and vanilla – aged in bourbon barrels to round out those beautiful flavors. Liz was floored and I think you will be too.  

“Lizard of Koz represents everything we love about the Backstage Series,” said Co-founder and President Dave Engbers. “Inspired, creative, a little bit out there and exploding with flavor. The perfect way to cap off 2016.”

founders backstage series
Black Biscuit has quite a cult like following from Founders fans, and many of us have been hoping that it would appear at some point as a part of the Backstage Series. So far, we have been left waiting. (Eric Strader/Flavor 574)

Founders is known for their great barrel program, however this is only the seventh barrel-aged beer in the series. One of my absolute favorite Founders beers is Black Biscuit (10.5% ABV), which the brewery describes as “a cross between an old ale and a baltic porter, brewed with a significant amount of biscuit malt and molasses and barrel aged.” I have been waiting and hoping for five years for this to show up in the backstage series, and I guess I will have to continue waiting. 

Each 750mL bottle of this rich, tart Lizard of Koz has a suggested retail price of $18.99 and will be available in limited quantities across Founders’ distribution network, which currently includes Indiana, Michigan, and 37 other states, in December. ABV is yet to be determined as brewers are currently pulling the beer out of barrels.

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