Goose Island Bourbon County 2022 collection includes the return of old favorites

NFTs are on fire in Bourbon County.

The good thing is there is still beer.

Two months after a tepid consumer response to pricey digital versions of the popular Goose beer aged in whiskey casks, Chicago’s oldest brewery has announced the good liquid versions of this year’s Bourbon County brews, which include the return of two old favorites. of beer simulating fig newton and biscotti.

As always, beer – six stouts and malt wine – will be available the day after Thanksgiving. The pioneer, Bourbon County Stout, is widely considered to be the first modern beer to be aged in bourbon barrels, a practice that has become a hallmark of the industry. Expanded to include an entire family of beers, the group has had both success and failure in recent years, with some towering accomplishments (looking at you, Bourbon County Stout’s Birthday) and a few scratchers (what were you, exactly, Bourbon County Reserve 150 stout?).

One disclaimer: As you’ll see below, Goose Island celebrates what it calls the 30th anniversary of Bourbon Stout County; The brewery says that beer was introduced in 1992. But as I wrote in 2016, while reporting for my book on Goose Island and selling it to Anheuser-Busch, this is probably incorrect.

In my report, I concluded that it was most likely released in 1995. Coincidentally, respected brewery writer Jeff Elworth wrote a similar story around the same time and suspects it was most likely released in 1994. Also reported by former Goose Island brew chief Greg Hall Admitting this in 1992 “was always a speculative estimate” because “the original fermentation record has been lost.”

All told, Goose Island stuck to the legend of 1992. So be it.

For NFTs, well, it was a bold idea when it was announced in May: 2022 Bourbon County NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens, available for $499 each, offer digital images of Bourbon County along with real-time value that included access to Bourbon County events and beer. Despite the price dropping to $399 amid the crypto market crash, Goose Island sold only 305 NFTs before ending the sale two weeks later.

Few things are better in glass than on your phone.

And as for this year’s Bourbon County line-up, here it is, broken down into three categories:

As always, he will be the fulcrum of the squad Bourbon County Stout (14.4% alcohol), roughly the original made in 1992 – or maybe 1994, or maybe 1995. There’s a cruel irony about this beer: It’s released every year, and in bulk, but diehard beer lovers tend to even overlook or ignore. completely. In a world where novelty is prized, there isn’t much new about Bourbon County Stout. But here’s the thing: It’s still a great beer!

In fact, it was my favorite among last year’s lineup, which I tasted a few times to make sure I wasn’t unnecessarily counterintuitive by defending it over the rarer and more expensive Bourbon County beers. But it sure was my favorite of the eight beers. It has proven to be “the most balanced, with the most interesting depth of flavor.” There’s no reason to expect it won’t be more of itself this fall with the usual notes of vanilla, chocolate (which can skew as milky, vodka, or dark, depending on the year), dried fruit, oak, and hints of coffee. These beers are blended from kegs from the distilleries of Heaven Hill, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, and Buffalo Trace.

There is likely to be more interest in another classic style, Bourbon County Coffee Stout (Alcohol content not available), a longtime fan favorite that will be released for the first time since 2017. This version is made with a Turihamwe blend of Intelligentsia Coffee from the African nation of Burundi, which Goose Island says produces notes of “rich chocolate, coffee and Caramel flavors.” Well-crafted, barrel-aged coffee bush is hard to beat, and for several years, Bourbon County coffee has been among the best. We’ll see if Goose Island can restore the magic.

These two neighbors are likely to be pricey items, in terms of the price tag (which will be announced near the release) and the amount of curiosity among Bourbon County fans.

Two-year Barleywine Preserve in Bourbon County (17%) Blended with barrels of three different ages – 14, 16 and 17 – from the Old Fitzgerald Bottled-In-Bond decanter series. If that sounds ambitious, well, it should be.

This is Goose’s first Bourbon County barley wine since 2018. The oldest Bourbon County barley wines, in 2013 and 2014, were beautifully created. The years that followed were a bit uneven. There is hope for a return to the good old days, and the mixture of barrels of this lineage is cause for optimism. Goose Island says to look for “toffee, cherry, vanilla, fig, and almond” notes.

To celebrate the 30th – or maybe the 27th, but who is preparing? Anniversary of the creation of Bourbon County, Goose Island kicks off Bourbon County Stout 30th Anniversary Reserve (14.4%), Aged blends of Jim Beam barrels from the distillery’s Small Batch Bourbon collection, which includes Baker, Basil Hayden, Knob Creek, and Bookers. It’s a nod to the first Bourbon County Stout, which was aged in Jim Beam drums.

If nothing else, it would be interesting to chart how this ale compares to the “regular” version of Bourbon County Stout. The basic beer is the same, but different kegs should result in a noticeable difference in flavor and aroma.

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Eat. Watch. Do.


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The barrel-aged bush has gained a huge number of flavors in recent years, often echoing a range of desserts. Goose Island has remained committed to this idea, and the results have been mixed. They seem to be the least popular beer in the Bourbon County chain, inevitably set to staggeringly low prices months after their launch – but here we are again anyway.

Inspired by the classic Italian dessert, Bourbon County Biscotti Stout (Alcohol content not available) Made with cocoa nibs, roasted almonds, anise seeds, and what the label describes as “natural flavors.” Look for hints of black licorice, marzipan, cocoa, and buttered toffee along with “strong notes of nostalgia from your grandmother’s Italian kitchen,” says the brewery. That’s a lot of flavor in a beer, and if it’s balanced enough to deserve an 8-ounce drink, that’s a win.

The words “Fig Newton” don’t appear anywhere here, but Bourbon County, Sir Isaac Stout (alcohol content not available) Clearly walking in this direction, he is named after the legendary English scientist and promotes 10,000 pounds of black figs, graham crackers and still more “natural flavour.” The result, says the brewery, is a beer with aromas of “dried fruit, honey, molasses, and citrus, all reminiscent of the classic fig biscuits sold on shelves today.”

Goose Island says brewers have spent years trying to find “ways to incorporate figs into Bourbon County Stout but have faced a daunting task due to their delicate flavour.” I’m skeptical about adding Graham cracker, but figs can mix well with beer to reach an interesting result.

Finally is the annual Bourbon County Stout (Alcohol content not available), only sold in the Chicago area. This year’s edition is a rum-based jungle bird cocktail. The beer is made with banana, coconut, lemon, and, as the first ingredient ever in Bourbon County history, pineapple.

Ingredients like coffee and coconut can work wonderfully in a barrel-aged bush because they reflect the highly appetizing character of the beer. Others, like lime and pineapple, can easily do something like this and cause more angular conflict than harmony. I don’t count on this beer business. But we’ll find out in November.

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