Monday, February 9, 2009
TBG Drinks: Bourbon County Brand Stout
Brewed By: Goose Island Beer Company
Brewed In: Chicago, Illinois
Type: Imperial Stout
What They Say: "A liquid as dark and dense as a black hole with thick foam the color of a bourbon barrel. The nose is an intense mix of charred oak, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and smoke. One sip has more flavor than your average case of beer. It overpowers anything in the room."
Website: Don't be fooled by the unimaginative main page with its barren "events" section and infinitesimal reference to Goose Island's line of soft drinks. The links are actually interesting. The "Goose Island Beers" tab takes you to their food/beer selector; a step-by-step guide through their beer crafting process or the origin of the brand. There's also a "Chicago Guide" tab that serves as a one-stop (albeit, oversimplified) resource for fans who may want to visit the Goose Island brewery in the Windy City.
Why I Picked It: About a month ago, I received a most orgasmic e-mail from "JPinAZ" who graciously thought of me while still basking in Bourbon County's afterglow. These days, my cocktail of choice is Maker's Mark on the rocks or anything mixed with Knob Creek, so the bourbon n' beer connection was a no-brainer. And, let me tell you, the story of sending my wife on an obscure beer run is a blog post all its own.
Presentation (5): The Goose Island logo loops around the neck of the bottle and is really the only distinctive presenting piece. The words "Bourbon County Brand Stout" are crammed into the middle of a descriptive quote (in much smaller text) from the brewmaster, giving the look a misplaced newspaper headline within the body of the story. It actually works, since stouts don't need no fancy-dan superfluities. 4
Originality (5): I'm pretty sure this was my first ever stout. I've since learned that the union of beer with bourbon ("the brownest of the brown liquors!") barrels isn't exactly a new idea. Still, my bias to all things bourbon skews my view a bit here. 3
Body (10): Thick, viscous and f'n glorious. It pours with a thin, coffee-colored head that almost instantly dissipates. I'm told that there are much denser stouts out there, but for my money, there's something to be said for striking a balance between strong mouthfeel and motor oil. 10
Taste (10): I've read some other reviews that bitch about the pronounced bourbon-osity here, which leads me to believe some of these beer snobs should get off the internet, climb out of their mother's basements/home breweries and embrace the awesome of other alcoholic beverages. The bourbon flavor IS strong and that's a good thing. The dark chocolate, molasses and oak give way to an amazing vanilla finish. 10
Efficiency (10): Therein lies the rub. Here in San Diego, it's only sold in packs of four 12 oz. bottles. For $20. And, at five dollars a bottle – ounce for ounce – that's borderline ballpark/airport pricing for a brew that lacks poundability and is an automatic .08 breath test. If ever there was a beer that would live up to that "pop rocks and Coca-Cola" myth, it's this one. 2
Versatility (10): OK, this is not a versatile beer. That said, for stout virgins, it's not a bad way to get indoctrinated. And, I dare say that stout vets can appreciate it, too. A good fit for the sampler (in moderation) or the snob. 4
Grade: 33 (out of 50) – Good beer
The above format has been lifted with permission from That Beer Snob Guy.