Although many in the craft beer community dismiss Goose Island (now owned by AB InBev) as no longer being ‘craft beer,’ their annual Bourbon County Brand release still generate a great deal of buzz.
According to the Chicago-based brewery renowned for championing America’s first barrel-aged stout, Goose Island will be releasing a total of SIX different variations of the barrel-aged brand this year along with its classic…
They’re all aggressively high octane with ABVs that linger around 15%, and accept for one variation, a wheatwine, this year’s variations are stouts.
Goose Island Brewmaster Keith Gabbett, considers this year’s upcoming offerings to be “some of the most exciting flavor combinations yet” with “flavor profiles and nuances that are thought provoking and truly unique.”
And here’s what they’ve got planned…
Bourbon County Stout
This year’s flagship was aged in a mix of Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, and Wild Turkey barrels, and re-blended for rich, complex mouthfeel… This is the classic and usually the most widely available. And by its very nature this variation couldn’t be more ‘original.’
Bourbon County Kentucky Fog Stout
Inspired by a hot tea beverage that mixes Earl Grey tea, hot milk and vanilla syrup, this Bourbon County variation was crafted with a mixture of Earl Grey and Black Tea. Think tea time with Aunt Bee, only considerable buzz.
Bourbon County Caramella Ale
This is the wheatwine (which is basically a barleywine with wheat added as part of its grain bill) toned with “with apple, cinnamon, and natural caramel flavor.” Think breakfast, then rehab.
Bourbon County Special #4 Stout
This one sounds uber-interesting. It’s an oatmeal stout that incorporates Ethiopian coffee beans and barrel-aged maple syrup during the brewing process. Think brunch with a designated driver.
Proprietor’s Bourbon County Stout
A homage to spumoni, the beloved Italian desert, 2020’s “Chicagoland only” release is crafted with “fresh pistachios, cacao nibs, candied Amarena cherries, and natural vanilla flavors. A black market beer fav.
Birthday Bourbon County Stout
The first time that Goose Island has partnered with the Old Forester Distilling Company, this Bourbon County variation is aged in Old Forester Birthday Bourbon barrels. Happy Birthday!
Anniversary Bourbon County Stout
Aged for two years in Weller 12 Year barrels, this 2020 variation marks the tenth anniversary of the ‘Black Friday’ Bourbon County Stout releases. Happy Anniversary!
“Back in 2010 we had no idea the impact our Bourbon County Stout release on Black Friday would have on the craft beer community,” Goose President Todd Ahsmann said, “and today we are proud of the tradition it’s become.”
All images courtesy Goose Island Beer Company