In one of the year’s most anticipated beer releases, Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout variants have been revealed. Each year beer geeks across the country try to predict the variants before Goose Island makes a formal announcement, and this year is sure to impress. Even more, this year there is a huge praise for Bourbon Country’s unique packaging.
Excerpt from Esquire, July 30, by Aaron Goldfarb
Goose Island’s release of Bourbon County Brand Stout is always one of the top beer highlights of the year (I wrote thoroughly about this last November). But even bigger than the release is the speculation, with beer geeks taking to message boards trying to predict what the even rarer variant releases will be for the season.
“When we, the brewers, come up with the new variants each year,” Mike Siegel, Goose Island’s Brewery Innovations Manager told me, “a) we want to be excited and b) we want to get the people excited.”
I think “the people” will be very excited when they hear what will comprise this November’s astonishing six releases. In addition to the regular yearly batches of Bourbon County Brand Stout, Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout (this year produced with Intelligentsia Nicaraguan “Los Delirios” beans), and Bourbon County Brand Barleywine, three variants will make their first ever appearances: Regal Rye, and Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout.
But the variants aren’t the only surprises in store. Of note, slightly more Bourbon County Brand Stout (about 10% more) will enter the marketplace this year. Overall, though, the total barrel amounts stayed about the same as last year, with some 4500 whiskey casks getting filled last July.
Packaging and format size is changing too. The old 12- and 22-ounce bottles (as well as four-packs) have been scrapped in favor of a uniform 16.9-ounce format across the board. The bottles themselves have also been upgraded to a custom-made vessel that Goose Island has been designing for over a year, one which necessitated completely upgrading their bottling line. This stunning bottle is unlike anything I’ve seen in the industry, with embossed lettering on the glass instead of a typical front label, and the necessary labeling moved to the neck and back.
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