Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Goose Island Beer Company - Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout

Black Friday tends to be a day that people either dread or adore. Usually, I'm somewhere in the middle. While getting expensive things for not much money never sounds like a bad idea, things can turn in a hurry when you're stuck sardine-style in the electronics section at Target at 2am and some lady behind you seems to think that if she rams her cart into you repeatedly, you and everyone else in her way will magically disappear. Not that that's happened to me before or anything... Anyways, most Black Fridays there's something that gets the masses going. Whether it's the Xbox One, Furby or Tickle Me Elmo, there's something out there that everyone is going for. This year (for a lot of us, at least), it just happened to be a beer. Actually, make that plural.

Goose Island chose Black Friday this year for the release of their Bourbon County Brand line of stouts. Bourbon County Stout was last distributed to San Diego in 2010, back when I was just starting this blog. I tried it, reviewed it, and (luckily) saved a bottle for later, only years later realizing that I should have bought a case of it because it never came back. Now that Goose Island has been bought out by The Corporation Who Will Not Be Named, it's allowed them to focus on the production of their more limited releases like Bourbon County Stout. Luckily, that means that it's back in San Diego. And it brought friends.

Every year on the Bourbon County Stout line brings new additions (this year's big one is the Proprietor's Reserve) but the version that's been the star of the show for a while now is the Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout. Rated #4 in the Beer Advocate Top 250 List, it's the one that I've had my eye on for a while. I finally got my shot when a local bar announced they were going to have Black Friday bottle pours of Bourbon County Stout, Bourbon County Barleywine and Bourbon County Brand Coffee. In the history of driving to bars, I don't know if anyone has driven to a bar faster than I did to try this stuff. At #4, Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout.

Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout pours a viscous black color with just the slightest trace of a mocha colored head. The head doesn't last long, and you're left staring into the depths of what appears to be used motor oil. In a good way! I don't have the words to describe to you how good this beer smells. I just don't. "A-mother-freaking-mazing?" Too obvious. "One of the most delicious smells my nose has ever had the pleasure of meeting?" Not there yet. "Boner-inducing?" Getting there! Let's just say that if weird cave-dwelling animals that ate humans invaded the earth and were eating people dumb enough to wander into caves left and right and were smart enough to make their caves smell like this, I wouldn't be able to help myself. I'd be toast. That's how good this smells. The coffee aroma alone is worth the price of admission. It's dark, roasty and earthy and just explodes out of the glass. Beneath it I get some dark chocolate, wet earth, fudge, cocoa powder and some wet barrel notes.

The taste opens with a rich blend of espresso, heavily roasted dark coffee notes, bourbon and chocolate syrup. None of these really take the lead, but work in tandem Captain Planet-style to rock the hell out of your tastebuds. I've had a decent amount of barrel-aged beers that use coffee, but nothing I've had has used it as well as this. If you care to venture beyond the initial flavors of coffee, bourbon and chocolate, you'll find some caramel, chocolate cake and a slightly charred barrel note. A dry baking chocolate note shows up on the finish along with some mocha and burnt brownies. There's a slight dryness on the finish from the booze, but there's really nothing here that would lead you to believe that this beer is 13%+. It is going to be very hard for anything to top this beer. Thanks Goose Island, for the best Black Friday ever.

Final Grade: A+

Top 250 Beers Tasted: 133

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