Bourbon County Stout is something of a holy grail for craft beer fans. A winner of countless accolades including gold at the World Beer Cup, it is a rich, swirling black hole, packed full of so many flavours judges were forced to use new words to describe its taste when it first landed.
Clocking in at a flooring 11 to 15% ABV, it is brewed and aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels for nine to twelve months, and each annual batch is so sought after even the empty bottles end up finding buyers online.
Distribution of the small amount of Bourbon County Stout produced is usually kept to the US, but the beer is getting its first proper UK Black Friday launch in 2016. 100 bottles will be available at Clapton Craft Kentish Town in London on 25 November, and there are sure to be queues outside.
The company's brewmaster described this year’s edition, which has an RRSP of £20, as featuring “toffee and molasses, fresh tobacco and a bit of leather to go with the roast and barrel notes you are used to.”
“Goose Island’s connection to the UK goes back many years, starting literally with John Hall’s inspiration for creating the brewery back in 1988,” Mike Siegel, Lead Innovation Brewer at Goose Island Beer Co., added.
“We were one of the first U.S. craft breweries to send beer to the UK over a decade ago, including a very small amount of the very first bottlings of Bourbon County Stout.
“That beer’s tremendous popularity forced us to pull back the UK allotment to serve our great fans in the US, but now for the first time since then, we return Bourbon County Stout to the UK.
“As someone who has been to the UK over 10 times, and 4 times in the last two years, I couldn’t be more excited to share this beer with our great fans abroad. Cheers to you all!”
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