THE VICE BLOG calls it “one of my absolute favorite brews around”. THE BREW CLUB says, “It’s a special beer and should be tried by anyone looking to push their beer experience envelope to the limits!”. Some dude on Beer Advocate says, “I got notes of toffee and vanilla, some highly complex lacing on the glass, and a nutty oakiness that was more precious to me than anything since Darklord Day”. What’s everyone yakety-yakking about? Why, GOOSE ISLAND BOURBON COUNTY STOUT, of course. This beer has the pundits heaving their collective bosom in amazement at the oaky, inky, nutty, bourbony, jumbo-sized ABV in the little teeny 12-ounce bottle. I decided to do battle with this killer stout on Friday night, and herein lies my report.
GOOSE ISLAND are already studs in our book, just based on the MATILDA and the 312 URBAN WHEAT we’ve enjoyed from them previously. When in Chicago, it’s Goose Island for us. Well, that and THREE FLOYDS, and all the other ones that are good from thataway. BOURBON COUNTY STOUT was super high on the hypometer, however, and I just had to check it out. First off – yeah, it’s good. I popped the cap, poured it, and whammo – just the best whiff of vanilla I’ve had since the Woolworth’s counter after the sock hop. The beer is completely jet black, with zero head rentention. Very still…..a little creepy…….like it’s challenging you. Wow, that’s a sweet beer. Jesus, that’s almost too sweet. I’m getting a little smoke in the aftertaste, but contrary to what I’m read & been told, this isn’t “more bourbon than beer” – alas, it’s “more candy than beer”. Don’t get me wrong – I like candy – and this is the good stuff. Caramel, vanilla, and 13% alcohol by volume. Whew. Currently the 40th ranked beer in the entire world on Beer Advocate. I liked it just fine, and may have another one day, but if I’m going to go for some big-ass whomper of a stout, I’m pulling for THE ABYSS or SERPENT’S STOUT instead. 7/10.