Goose Island Beer Co.
Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout
My knowledge of Chicago’s Goose Island is limited to two primary pieces:
1) Last year, they were bought by A-B InBev for $39 million, setting off a firestorm in the craft beer community;
2) Even with that fact in mind, they still make some of the most sought after and highly-regarded beer in the country.
So when a recent trader offered up a bottle of Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout along with whales such as Dark Lord, Darkness and Abyss, I asked some of my more well-versed beer geeks what I should go for. Everyone immediately picked the BC, so it was settled.
BCBCS, as it’s colloquially known, is brewed with coffee from Chicago’s Intelligentsia Coffee and Tea, which is across from the brewery. The 2011 batch I got was brewed with Anjilanaka beans, making it unique from the 2010 release. It’s also aged in bourbon barrels, so you know it’s got to be good.
While the bottle says it’s ageable up to 5 years, my friends and the trader suggested I drink it fresh. So I did, and it was glorious. Easily in the top 3 best imperial stouts I’ve ever had.
It pours black as night. There’s about half a finger of a dark brown head on top that vanishes pretty quickly. Not surprising for a 14% behemoth like this. I didn’t get any lacing or alcohol legs either.
It’s definitely a bourbon bomb on the nose. There are strong notes of bitter dark chocolate and a mouth-watering roasted coffee smell. Slight hints of vanilla, toffee, caramel peak through as well. It’s such a luxurious-smelling beer.
A chocolaty bitterness hits right on the tip of the tongue. A velvety smooth chocolate and bourbon flavor coats the inside of the mouth. There’s a gorgeous roasted coffee flavor that shines through on the back of the throat. Definitely an alcohol burn on the back of the throat at well, almost as if you drank a glass of straight bourbon. I got hints of figs, chocolate-covered raisins and plums in there too.
BCBCS is a phenomenal A+ beer in my book. The coffee adds such a great roasted note, the bourbon gives it that alcohol kick, and it all comes together in this velvety smooth, rich and flavorful beer. Definitely one to put on your bucket list if it’s not there already.