To most folks across the country, Black Friday means stampedes of ravenous shoppers violently climbing over one another to get the best deals on flat-screen TVs, gaming consoles and the hottest new holiday items. In the craft beer community, however, the day after Thanksgiving is reserved for something far more significant: the annual release of Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout, the first mass-marketed, bourbon barrel–aged beer, and still one of the most coveted rare bottles around.
As popular as barrel-aged beers have become recently, it's hard to imagine that the trend can trace its origins to this single brewery just over 20 years ago. But it was as recently as 1992 when Goose Island changed the barrel-aged beer game by aging its flagship stout in casks of used Jim Beam barrels.
Geographic proximity to Kentucky's finest distilleries naturally plays a role in Goose Island's successful barrel-aging program, but the brewery's native climate is actually even more of a factor. "We let the warehouse run to Chicago temperatures," Porter explains. "That's what makes Bourbon County Stout as good as it is. It's the Chicago weather — cold winters, followed by hot humid summers — that causes the staves in our bourbon barrels to bring in and then force out liquid, and that's where the flavor comes from."
To the novice drinker, all the madness surrounding Bourbon County might seem a little much. But consider the history and heritage going into every release.
About Grit & Grain
Goose Island’s nine part Grit & Grain video series takes you through every detail of our iconic and highly coveted Bourbon County Brand Stout. From the loggers who provide lumber for each bourbon barrel stave, to the distillers themselves, this series will reveal a unique cast of characters and locations while informing viewers on what it really takes to get Bourbon County Brand Stout fully prepared for Black Friday.
About Goose Island
Founded in Chicago in 1988, Goose Island is one of the most successful craft breweries in the Midwest and produces some of the most popular, and award winning, beers in the U.S. Since 1989, Goose Island beers have won a variety of awards at acclaimed beer events including the World Beer Championships, World Beer Cup, European Beer Star, World Expo of Beer and the Great American Beer Festival (GABF). For more information, visit www.gooseisland.com.
About BCS Black Friday Releases
This is the seventh year Goose Island is releasing Bourbon County Brands on Black Friday to the public. In 2014, at the release event in Chicago, more than 700 people lined up to experience the Bourbon County phenomena firsthand. In 2015, with special Black Friday events in additional cities featuring unique collaborations with local artisans from coffee roasters to donut makers, the company expects for attendance to be at an all-time high.
This year’s BCS varietals include: Bourbon County Brand Stout, Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout in partnership with Intelligentsia, Bourbon County Brand Barleywine and Proprietor’s Bourbon County Brand Stout.
First crafted in 1992, Goose Island’s BCS has paved the way for the art of aging beer in bourbon barrels, and is widely considered the standard of excellence for this specialty craft beer category.