More than twenty years ago Greg Hall wanted to brew something truly unique for Goose Island brewpub’s 1000th batch – he just needed inspiration. Then a chance encounter between Greg and Jim Beam’s legendary distiller, Booker Noe, led to Goose Island acquiring the barrels for what was to become the world’s first bourbon barrel aged beer.
Since then, the beer has become a local favorite and globally known beer – and still people line-up down the street for its Black Friday release in Chicago. We’re super excited about this year’s variants, and we hope you are too.
We are releasing eight variants this year:
The variants go on sale this Black Friday, November 23rd.
Bourbon County Brand Stout (ABV: TBD): Aged in 4+ year old Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels, the original bourbon barrel-aged stout tastes as good as when we first brewed it over 20 years ago. Flavors of cocoa, vanilla, caramel, almond, cherry, plus leather and tobacco flavors permeate this complex beer and deepen with each sip. As Brewmaster Jared Jankoski stated, “It ain’t broke, and we didn’t try to fix it.”
Reserve Bourbon County Brand Stout (ABV: 15.2%): The same base recipe as Bourbon County Original, but this beer is aged in 12-year old “Elijah Craig Barrel Proof” bourbon barrels. The bourbon from those barrels was awarded 2017 “Whisky of the Year” by Whisky Advocate, the top honor in the world of international whisky. Reserve is intended to showcase the nuances of a premium single source and highly sought-after bourbon.
Proprietor’s Bourbon County Brand Stout (ABV: TBD): This year’s Proprietor’s explores the broad spectrum of chocolate. Using a combination of dark chocolate and two types of cocoa nibs, this rich and decadent beer highlights the whole range of chocolate from smooth and silky milk chocolate flavors to deep and earthy dark chocolate.
Bourbon County Brand Wheatwine (ABV: 15.4%): Made from two-row and malted wheat, Bourbon County Brand Wheatwine makes its debut. As the first recipe to veer from the original Imperial Stout sinceBarleywine in 2013, Wheatwine displays a deep amber color, lighter than its counterparts and acts as a true medium to convey the characteristics of our 4+year old Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels. Wheatwine overflows with flavors of caramel, vanilla, butterscotch, and toffee.
Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout (ABV: 14.9%): This longtime favorite makes a long-awaited return to the Bourbon County roster. Utilizing whole grade A vanilla beans from Madagascar, Vanilla delivers on all the quintessential things fans love about this variant: aromatic vanilla, marshmallow, toffee, oak and floral notes highlighting the creamy mouthfeel and enhancing the chocolate flavors that are ingrained in Bourbon County.
Bourbon County Brand Bramble Rye Stout (ABV: TBD): For this variant we aged Bourbon County Stout in rye whiskey barrels, then added raspberry and blackberry juice and puree from Michigan and Washington. The process resulted in complex jammy fruit notes that are prominent but well-integrated with the caramel and chocolate flavors of the beer and spicy rye character from the barrels.
Bourbon County Brand Coffee Barleywine (ABV: TBD): Working with our friends at Intelligentsia, we flew down to Guatemala to source some of the world’s best coffee to use in the first-ever release of CoffeeBarleywine. A malt-forward English-style Barleywine, the beer aged in 4+ year oldHeaven Hill Bourbon barrels before we added La Soledad coffee beans right before packaging to impart a bold coffee aroma and flavor.
Bourbon County Brand Midnight Orange Stout (ABV: 14.9%): Brewer Oscar and Quality Analyst Paul created the concept for this new variant ofBourbon County. The result? Midnight Orange. They combined two things we love, orange and chocolate, taking Bourbon County into a new and exciting direction. While the chocolate compliments the Bourbon County base, the orange zest offers a point of contrast for a bold new flavor profile to delight Bourbon County fans and newcomers alike. With dual inspiration from a favorite childhood treat and an exquisite MexicanMocha, the bright orange aroma from fresh Spanish orange peel leads into a rich cocoa flavor.