Coming Soon: Bourbon County Brand Varietals

Friday afternoon I was in the back room watching TV when I heard the dogs going off; a minute later Tanya poked her head in and said there was someone at the door for me. That was a little unnerving as solicitors do not usually ask for someone by name; when I came to the door there was a gentleman holding a black gift bag. He handed me his iPhone and asked me to sign the screen; when I did he handed me the bag. As soon as I held the bag I knew it had to be beer; when I pushed the decorative paper aside I saw I had received three bottles of the 2015 Bourbon County Brand Stout varietals. So, how did that happen?

Last month I was invited to a private Goose Island tasting of the new Bourbon County releases, which was to be held at the Surly Goat. Since I really enjoy the entire Bourbon County series and I have yet to go to Surly Goat, I jumped at the opportunity. Now, I have to admit, they were doing 45 minute sessions and I was not sure how anyone could drink six variations of Bourbon County in 45 minutes but I was up for the challenge. As the date approached I read what I could since we were supposed to get a chance to meet and speak with some of their brewers and I wanted to have a clue ahead of time. Unfortunately, there ended up being a scheduling conflict so the event was canceled. To make up for the inconvenience they sent me a few bottles; I got the Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, Bourbon County Brand Stout and Proprietor’s Bourbon County Brand Stout.

Since this is not really a beer “review” site, and I would have written as much about the experience of the tasting as the beer itself; combined with the fact that I did not want to rush into drinking the brews as I have other beers that need to be consumed first, I will provide my observations about the 2015 Bourbon County Brand varietals.

The first, most obvious change is the bottle; it is a lot bigger having increased from 12 oz to 16.9. When I was researching I discovered they will not be doing 4-packs this year, I presume that is the reason for the change. While I am not sure what the new pricing will be, you will be getting more per bottle.

Along with the bigger bottle comes a bigger label and while this may not be a good thing, Goose Island put it to good use. I went to a wine festival a few years ago and came across a winery that included, on every label, what you should see, smell and taste. The power of suggestion is very strong and I thought this was an amazing idea that every winery and craft brewery should consider. The labels of the new Bourbon County varietals do this to a certain extent with comments like, “Intense aromas of charred oak, vanilla, caramel & smoke” on the BCBS; and “Stout aged in bourbon barrels with maple, toasted pecans & guajillo peppers added” on the Proprietor’s bottle to give the drinker an idea of what to expect.

The final observation was the bottle caps have changed. I can make some guesses on why but that is all they would be. It probably makes economical sense to have one bottle cap design for all your beers instead of having one for each style.

Anyway, I look forward to trying these and if you want to hear what my thoughts are on the individual beers you will have to follow my Untappd page since that is where I do my beer reviews. Since I did not get to meet with the Goose Island reps I will have to presume that we will see the Bourbon County Brand varietals hitting shelves here around Thanksgiving. It was supposed to be a Black Friday thing but after last year, I am not sure how close to that schedule they are sticking. Cheers!

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