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 generates a great deal of interest.
We recently reported that they’d be introducing seven new variations…But now it’s down to six and some of you are going to be bummed.
According to a post on Goose Island’s website, the Chicago-based brewery will no longer be releasing their Bourbon County Reserve Barleywine variation (their second Barleywine offering aged for 20 months in 35-year-old Heaven Hill barrels) due to concerns that it hadn’t developed as hoped.
This has got to be hugely disappointing for the Goose Island team.
Their brewmaster Jared Jankoski explains 2017’s Reserve Barleywine as one of their “one of our most ambitious barrel projects to date,” and as brewing professionals understand all too well, aging anything (in this case for two-years) in re-used barrels comes with risk, and clearly this one didn’t work out.
In 2015 Goose Island’s Bourbon County was plagued with problems.
Four of the six variations had developed the “off flavors” according to the brewery and they entered into an extensive refund program.
Stung by the that incident and to ensure beer stability, Goose Island flash-pasteurized 2016’s Bourbon County beers, for the first time in its 28-year history.
Given Goose Island’s 2015 release problems, and the kind of attention that their annual Bourbon County Release still genera rate…the Chicago-based brewery’s proactive decision to not release their ambitious Barleywine Reserve Ale in favor of brand integrity.
There will still be six different Bourbon County variants being released on the day after Thanksgiving, five nationwide, Proprietor’s Bourbon County Brand Stout being a Chicago exclusive.
- Bourbon County Brand Stout 2017 — An Imperial Stout aged in Heaven Hill bourbon barrels
- Bourbon County Brand Stout Reserve 2017 — An Imperial Stout aged in freshly 11-year-old Knob Creek bourbon barrels
- Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout 2017 — Goose Island’ Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels: one using with Black Cat Espresso coffee from Intelligentsia Coffee in Chicago
- Proprietor’s Bourbon County Brand Stout 2017 — The Holy Grail for many, this year’s Imperial Stout is aged in bourbon barrels with bananas, roasted almonds and cassia bark
- Bourbon County Brand Northwoods Stout 2017 — An Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels with blueberry juice and almond extract added
Banner image courtesy of Goose Island