Daylight saving time is right here, its unwelcome luggage filled with 5 p.m. sunsets and a possible gross sales pitch for breweries. Darkish days deserve darkish beers. It’s advertising magic for imperial stouts, these boozy heavyweights swinging haymakers crammed with espresso and cocoa, decadent sips for cranking our inside thermostats. And fall’s most ballyhooed bruisers are Goose Island’s Bourbon County stouts, an annual custom that dates again to the early ’90s.
Again then, Goose Island flouted conference by getting old an imperial stout in freshly emptied bourbon barrels. The spirited strategy was groundbreaking then, however at the moment it’s well-trod floor. Bourbon barrel–aged stouts are bought by breweries small and large, making it robust to face out within the boozy darkness.
Goose Island is attempting arduous to distinguish in 2020. The corporate’s slate of Bourbon County variants numbers seven deep, beginning with the flagship. It’s seasoned in assorted bourbon barrels from Wild Turkey, Buffalo Hint, and Heaven Hill, a fudgy vanilla deal with.
It’s strong stuff, wealthy and scrumptious in all of the anticipated metrics. However that’s desk stakes for this class of beers. Breweries should persistently up the ante, be it in rarity or taste, to draw consideration and bank cards. Goose Island caters to the pay-any-price collector set with varieties aged in barrels that contained Outdated Forester Birthday and W.L. Weller bourbons, two of at the moment’s extra sought-after manufacturers. Then again, the Proprietor’s launch is impressed by spumoni and tastes like Maraschino cherries and the promise of future cavities.
My style buds are biased, although. I care neither for sweetness nor the cinnamon, caramel, and apple flavors of the wheat wine referred to as Caramella. I do love espresso, mainlining chilly brew and cortados all morning, priming me for Particular #4 and its injection of Intelligentsia Espresso and maple syrup. It was fairly good, but additionally fairly by the e-book. Espresso. Beer. It’s a match made in our anticipated thought of heaven.
As a substitute, I’d favor to endlessly meander by way of the marvelous miasma of Kentucky Fog. It seeks taste inspiration contained in the London Fog, an Earl Gray–infused latté bought at Starbucks. The bourbon-barreled stout is mixed with clover honey and Earl Gray and black teas. There’s a sweetly floral perfume, vivid with lemon and grapefruits and balanced by honey, a strapping stout that drinks nimble and stylish, a sumo wrestler with the power to powerlift and pirouette.
Kentucky Fog is the dreamiest stout I’ve sipped all yr, proof that darkness might be mild and pleasant. This variant will go well with everybody to a tea.
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