Many Americans celebrate the day after Thanksgiving by heading out to stores at ungodly hours while fighting huge crowds to buy things a bit cheaper than they can get them on other days of the year. I will celebrate it differently, because Black Friday also happens to be release day for Goose Island’s celebrated Bourbon County Brand Stout. If you’ve never heard of it, you’re not paying attention.
Bourbon County Stout is Goose Island’s annual imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels. It was the beer that made barrel aging stouts what it is today. The 2014 version weighs in at 13.8% ABV (down from 2013’s 14.9%) and will feature a black-as-night beer with notes of oak, vanilla, bourbon (duh!), and chocolate.
There are some other variants such as Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout and Bourbon County Brand Barleywine, as well as a Vanilla Rye and Proprietor’s Reserve. Right now, Louisiana will only see the stout, but don’t be surprised if some of the other variants pop up in the next several months.
Fortunately, the Baton Rouge area will be receiving far more bottles and draft in 2014 than they did in 2013, so there shouldn’t be quite the rush on this year’s release. And I imagine that also means that some bars and restaurants may be able to hold their kegs for a while and break them out months from now instead of the first week.
I highly recommend trying a bottle now, then stashing some more away for an extended cellaring. The best version of BCBS I ever had was a 2009 that had been aged four years. I’m holding some bottles from the last couple years releases to see how they age.
Avenue Pub in New Orleans will be tapping a keg of BCBS at midnight, so instead of waiting in line at Best Buy, go check the pub out instead.
Word is that Chimes East in Baton Rouge will be tapping a keg of BCBS on Friday, as well as The Londoner. I’m sure more will follow, and as I hear of events in Baton Rouge for Friday’s release, I’ll be sure to update this post.