Goose Island started a bit of a revolution back when Nirvana was breaking records on the radio waves. In 1992, head brewer Greg Hall ended up sitting next to master and legendary distiller Booker Noe at a function at Goose Island’s brewpub. By the end of the night, they’d decided to do something new and untested in brewing — age a beer in a used bourbon barrel. Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout was born, along with a new way to age beer.
25 years later, and a lot of beer later, Goose Island is one of the biggest craft brewers in the nation and their Bourbon County is one of the most lauded and sought-after beers nation-wide. This year, Goose Island is releasing six new Bourbon Counties the day after Thanksgiving and people are already pretty excited.
2017’s releases are step up for Goose Island’s barreling team. The iconic Bourbon County Brand Stout leads the pack this year. Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, BCB Northwoods Stout, BCB Barleywine, Proprietor’s BCB Stout, and Bourbon County Reserve Brand Stout round out the group of beers being released this Black Friday.
There was also meant to be a BCB Reserve Barleywine (aged in 35-year-old Heaven Hills barrels) in the mix, but head brewer Jared Jankoski decided to pull the release citing on the brewery’s blog, “it turns out, it doesn’t taste like what we wanted it to.”
Each of the six beers being released has a unique and complex matrix of flavors and textures and all of them register on the high end of the ABV meter. They were all aged in second use, 5-7 year old barrels, unrinsed — so the bourbon-caramel notes are going to shine. The BCB Stout clocks in at a hefty 13.8 percent ABV, making it a doozy alcohol-wise. The Northwoods Stout is making a big splash with taste testers around the country for its unique hints of blueberry and almonds. And the Proprietor’s BCB Stout has a distinct essence of Bananas Foster, anchored in burnt caramel.
These are one-of-a-kind beers that are totally worth standing in line for on a chilly Black Friday.