It’s officially Black Friday. That means Goose Island Bourbon County 2016 (and its variants) are hitting shelves. The release has become a bit of a Black Friday drunken tradition.
Honestly, Bourbon County has a bit of a storied history. For years now, it has been one of the most sought after barrel aged imperial stouts in America. Then one day over five years ago now, the beer drinking public woke up to the news of Anheuser-Busch purchasing the brewery.
Honestly, we can recall videos of Goose Island fans pouring Bourbon County Brand Stout down the drain after the news. Still weird even today, considering all those drainpours were BCBS that were brewed pre-buyout, and have a suggested cellar life of up to 5 years. Hey, you deal with your emotions how you want to.
Fast-forward to the Black Friday release the following year. The lines were long. Social media was full of delighted drinkers. See – life DOES go on.
In October, Beer Street Journal got to try this year’s release. Let’s cut to the chase. It’s fantastic. A chewy, chocolatey, bottle of bourbon and molasses that will get you tipsy faster than a Dave Matthews jam solo. A year in bourbon barrels does some magical things to this beer.
Something else I’ve noticed when the above picture was posted to Instagram a few weeks ago. Commenters were trying to convince us this beer is infected. Sorry to break the hearts of those wanting Goose Island to be swallowed into the pits of hell. It’s not. From what we can tell, none of the variants are either. (Yes, four of the six editions had some issues last year.)
For 2016, the brewery has tried out a new “flash” pasteurization process that kills of the microbes (and the yeast) that could hurt your coveted bottle of beer. The term “flash” is key. It’s just heated long enough to kill anything bad, and not damage the flavor.
Here is what we aren’t going to do. We aren’t going to sit here and tell you this beer is terrible when it isn’t. We’ve met some brilliant, hardworking brewers at Goose Island. We report the news, and drink the beers. As many as we can get our hands on. You decide what you like or hate, or will drink or won’t, based on ownership, ideals, brewer’s politics, philosophy, artwork, favorite color, tv show, etc.
There you have it. Today people are shooting one another over parking spaces, toilet paper deals, and tvs. Others got in line early for some bourbon barrel imperial stout. There is a night of drinking ahead of those folks, and hangover tomorrow.
That’s perfect fine with us. Keep drinking.
Style: Imperial Stout (Barrel Aged. Bourbon.)
Availability: 22oz Bottles, Draft. Limited Release.