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. Continue reading
These photos are from the 2014 Bourbon County Black Friday release which was held at Bar 225 which is inside Whole Foods Venice. This is the second year that Goose Island’s annual event included the Los Angeles area market, which is most likely a direct result of the 2011 purchase of Goose Island by Anheuser-Busch InBev back in 2011. While the Brewers Association immediately downgraded Goose Island from being considered craft due to this change of ownership, I have yet to meet more than a handful of people that have turned their noses at their Bourbon County Brand Stout (BCBS). In my personal opinion, the merger has not changed much except now BCBS is now available locally.
When I was approached to cover the event, I immediately accepted for several reasons. I guess the most obvious was that I can always use the work, followed closely by the fact that I now knew I would be able to score some of the latest release without having to drive around town trying to find someone that still had it in stock. Apparently no one was supposed to sell it before Black Friday but rumor has it some locations were selling [out of] their stock on the day before Thanksgiving. The third reason was that it seems that over the past year or two I have met several people in the craft beer industry that included Whole Foods Venice on their resume. I have come to realize that not all Whole Foods are created equal so I looked forward to seeing what the Venice location had to offer with their Bar 225.
I had forgotten who it was that told me they had worked at Whole Foods Venice and was pleasantly surprised that one of them was Drew Murphy, the manager of Bar 225, whom I had done some work for back in February. Goose Island Brand Ambassador Raul Moran was there assisting in pouring flights consisting of several high octane brews carrying the Goose Island name for those that were there for more than the purchase of whatever Bourbon County brews they could get their hands on. Continue reading