A Year of Beer #24 - Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout 2008
Another part of our (hopefully) year-long video project, A Year of Beer. looking at the idea of beer and seasonality - how different styles of beer are more appropriate to different seasons, weathers, festivals and so on. There will also be a bit of beer and food matching thrown in because, hell, we love to eat as much as we love to drink.
This week: Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout 2008
If you'd like to subscribe to my video blog, and be informed when something new is uploaded, then please click here and sign up via the yellow "Subscribe" button. Go on, it'll be fun.
Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout 2008
I have to admit to starting out all wrong with this one. I had an idea that a 13% abv bourbon-barrel-aged stout would be firmly in the "extreme beer" camp. There nothing wrong with extreme beer, but it can be a bit tiring, and tiresome. They can be about which beer is biggest, hoppiest, strongest, most superlative. It's a bit like seeing who can piss further up the wall; it has it's place, but maybe it's not for public consumption. As Garrett Oliver says, anyone can make a beer big, but it has to be beautiful too.
So the long pauses in the video here are largely due to me trying to get my head around the fact that although this beer is undoubtedly big, it has a certain amount of grace to it as well. The huge blast of coffee, chocolate and bourbon that wafts out of the glass on pouring makes you think that you are going to get punched out cold with a ludicrously strong stout bumped into the stratosphere with a layer of vanilla oak and bourbon. But no; there is a real grace to this beer that catches you unawares. Sure, it's big, but crucially, it's balanced. The aromas and flavours of coffee, nuts, chocolate, vanilla, smoke, leather, prunes and even a little meatiness all float around, immensely complex and above all, graceful.
Now, I know that drinking a beer outside can be deceptive, and it's easy to lose nuances of flavour and aroma, especially on a cold night like this (it was -2 Centigrade when I took the movie), but even inside, relaxing with the family, the beer still had levels of elegance that surprised me. My partner, who doesn't really like that sort of thing, tried some and concurred that it was indeed delicious, and was surprised that it was actually as strong as it was.
This is a rare and expensive beer, but is really worth seeking out. It's been suggested as a cigar beer, but to be honest chocolate truffles are pretty damn good with it.