Avery Brewing Company: The Czar (2013, Batch 12)

Avery Brewing Company: The Czar

Style: Imperial Stout

Special Notes:  German hops, English yeast, Imported malts and Rocky Mountain water

Hops: Hallertau

Malts: Chocolate, Special Roast, Black, Victory, 2-Row

Yeast: London Ale

ABV: 10.3% (when bottled)

IBU: 55

Availability: Good luck!

@untappd says: 4.07/5

Today, we have a bottle of Avery Brewing Company’s The Czar, an Imperial Stout… from 2013! I got this baby from my good friend Tom, who graciously gifted it to me for my birthday this past summer.

Not all of my beers are for drinking, but I still want to show them off, so we’re starting a new recurring series on the Windowsill. These won’t be reviews, just an exhibition of sorts. Let’s call it… Cellar on the Sill!

The wax-sealed top of the Czar bottle
That wax seal tells you all you need to know, right? (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

The Czar is part of Avery’s Dictator Series (along with the Maharaja Imperial IPA and the Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest), which was discontinued in 2017 (except for the Maharaja). It’s name, and the art on the label, is inspired by Russia’s last emperor, Nicholas II. Long story short, the House of Romanov ran Russia for over 300 years, until a guy named Vladimir Lenin came along and riled up the proletariat—that’s the working class—to the point of inciting a Karl Marx-inspired communist revolution.

Lenin wasn’t a fan of the Romanovs, and said specifically that Nicholas II was “the most evil enemy of the Russian people, a bloody executioner, an Asiatic gendarme…a crowned robber.” When the revolution hit, the Romanov family was gruesomely executed, ending the House of Romanov’s reign.

Tsar Nicholas II on the bottle label
Look at this mug. (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

Politics aside, the Czar is a pretty solid representation of Nicholas II. For one, it’s an Imperial Stout, which was essentially invented by British brewers in the late 17th century so that they could ship their stouts to then Russian dictator Peter the Great. It’s brewed with German Hallertau hops and English London Ale yeast, which fits into Nicholas II’s family tree, since he was first cousins with both England’s King George V (seriously, have you seen the resemblance?) and Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II. Royals gonna royal, I guess?

There’s more to this beer than a good name, though. I can’t give a full review until I try it, but from what I hear, it’s one of the better Imperial Stouts out there. I wonder how it has aged? Hopefully better than the 300-year Romanov family reign. I don’t need a revolution in my stomach!

Check out more great craft beer on my Instagram page!

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. Avery Brewing Company: The Czar (2013, Batch No. 12) . Not all of my beers are for drinking, but I still want to show them off, so we’re starting a new recurring series on the Windowsill… Cellar on the Sill! . Today, we have a bottle of Avery Brewing Company’s The Czar, an Imperial Stout… from 2013! I got this baby from my good friend @one_ill_tom, who graciously gifted it to me for my birthday this past summer. . The Czar is part of Avery’s Dictator Series (along with the Maharaja Imperial IPA and the Kaiser Imperial Oktoberfest), which was discontinued in 2017 (except for the Maharaja). It’s name, and the art on the label, is inspired by Russia’s last emperor, Nicholas II. Long story short, the House of Romanov ran Russia for over 300 years, until a guy named Vladimir Lenin came along and riled up the proletariat—that’s the working class—to the point of inciting a Karl Marx-inspired communist revolution. . Lenin wasn’t a fan of the Romanovs, and said specifically that Nicholas II was “the most evil enemy of the Russian people, a bloody executioner, an Asiatic gendarme…a crowned robber." When the revolution hit, the Romanov family was gruesomely executed, ending the House of Romanov’s reign. . Politics aside, the Czar is a pretty solid representation of Nicholas II. For one, it’s an Imperial Stout, which was essentially invented by British brewers in the late 17th century so that they could ship their stouts to then Russian dictator Peter the Great. It’s brewed with German Hallertau hops and English London Ale yeast, which fits into Nicholas II’s family tree, since he was first cousins with both England’s King George (seriously, have you seen the resemblance?) and Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II. Royals gonna royal, I guess? . There’s more to this beer than a good name, though. I can’t give a full review until I try it, but from what I hear, it’s one of the better Imperial Stouts out there. I wonder how it has aged? Hopefully better than the 300-year Romanov family reign. I don’t need a revolution in my stomach! . ABV: 10.3% (in 2013), IBU: 55, No longer available . @untappd says: 4.07/5

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Brewery Review: Athletic Brewing Company

Athletic Brewing Company beers

Non-alcoholic craft beer? Now I’ve heard everything… and tasted it, too, thanks to Athletic Brewing Company!

We’re doing something very different with the windowsill today—a brewery intro unlike any other we’ve done before. Athletic Brewing Company in Stratford, CT opened its taps in 2018, and is owned by Bill Shufelt. What’s so special about this place? Well, what Athletic does is very unique. Nobody else on the entire East Coast does it, and only two other places in the entire United States. What is it? Non-alcoholic craft beer!

Some of you may have stopped reading, but those of you who haven’t must be as curious as I was when I heard about this place. All of my memories of non-alcoholic beer are basically of O’doul’s (“What beer drinkers drink when they’re not drinking beer”)… awful.

Athletic is different. Shufelt was about to get married, and wanted to improve his life through health and fitness. Too many weekend nights drinking led to too many hangovers and unhealthy meals, which didn’t vibe too well with his demanding financial career. He cut the booze and never went back to it, but still enjoyed going to bars and hanging out. Unfortunately, there was not a lot for him to drink in a lot of public places. One thing led to another, and here we are.

When I heard about his brewery (thanks to the gang at @203local), I reached out via DM and Bill Graciously agreed to send me some beers to sample. When I got their package, I was very impressed. Bill sent me three different beers: The Upside Dawn Golden Ale (3 cans), the Run Wild IPA (3 cans) and the Local Harvest IPA (6 cans). The packaging was lovely, and even included stickers and other information about the beer and brewery.

All that matters is the taste though, right? Especially if the beer isn’t going to wow you with a hefty ABV. Well, here are my thoughts. This is the best, and most well-crafted, non-alcoholic beer I have ever tasted. Here’s how the beers did, for me.

Upside Dawn Golden Ale

Athletic Brewing Company: Upside Dawn
The Upside Dawn golden ale from Athletic Brewing Company. (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

ABV: <0.5%

IBU: 15

Calories: 50

Tasting Notes: The Upside Dawn was light and crisp with some good floral aromas.

Availability: Year-round

Run Wild IPA

Athletic Brewing Company: Run Wild
The Run Wild IPA. (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

ABV: <0.5%

IBU: 35

Calories: 70

Tasting Notes: The Run Wild was hoppy and had some good IPA qualities with a nice bitter finish.

Availability: Year-round

Local Harvest IPA

Athletic Brewing Company: Local Harvest IPA
The local harvest seasonal IPA. (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

ABV: <0.5%

IBU: N/A

Calories: N/A

Tasting Notes: The Local Harvest IPA is a fall seasonal from Athletic. It, too, was pretty hoppy and had some interesting flavor.

Availability: Fall seasonal

All that being said, as well-crafted as these beers were—considering that they can’t rely on the alcohol content for sales, I would argue that what they’re doing is harder than “normal” brewing—it’s not for me. The concept of the “beer without a buzz” is not something I’ll probably ever truly be into. Also, although the beers had some solid flavor, that too doesn’t compare to a “regular” IPA or Golden Ale. I love everything Athletic has done, and I will cheer them on from afar and wish Bill well with his company, though.

If you want to drink beer, but want a healthier option that won’t get you drunk, definitely check these guys out. They’re local, and they’re doing great work. Cheers!

Head over to Instagram to check this out right now!

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. Brewery Review: Athletic Brewing Company . Athletic Brewing Company in Stratford, CT opened its taps in 2018, and is owned by Bill Shufelt. What’s so special about this place? Nobody else on the entire East Coast does what they do, and only two other places in the entire United States. What is it? Non-alcoholic craft beer! . Some of you may have stopped reading, but those of you who haven’t must be as curious as I was when I heard about this place. All of my memories of non-alcoholic beer are basically of O’doul’s (“What beer drinkers drink when they’re not drinking beer”)… awful. Athletic is different. Shufelt was about to get married, and wanted to improve his life through health and fitness. Too many weekend nights drinking led to too many hangovers and unhealthy meals, which didn’t vibe too well with his demanding financial career. He cut the booze and never went back to it, but he still loved beer. Athletic was born. . I reached out via DM and Bill Graciously agreed to send me some beers to sample. He sent me three different beers: The Upside Dawn Golden Ale (3 cans), the Run Wild IPA (3 cans) and the Local Harvest IPA (6 cans). The packaging was lovely, and included stickers and other information about the brewery. . All that matters is the taste though, right? Especially if the beer isn’t going to wow you with a hefty ABV. Here are my thoughts. This is the best, and most well-crafted, non-alcoholic beer I have ever tasted. The Upside Dawn was light and crisp with some good floral aromas. The Run Wild was hoppy and had some good IPA qualities with a nice bitter finish. The Local Harvest IPA is a fall seasonal from Athletic. It, too, was pretty hoppy and had some interesting flavor. . All that being said, as well-crafted as these beers were—considering that they can’t rely on the alcohol content for sales, I would argue that what they’re doing is harder than “normal” brewing—it’s not for me. The concept of the “beer without a buzz” is not something I’ll probably ever truly be into. . If you want to drink beer, but want a healthier option that won’t get you drunk, definitely check these guys out. They’re local, and they’re doing great work. Cheers!

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Springdale Barrel Room: ¡Parcha!

Springdale Beer: ¡Parcha!

Style: Oak barrel-aged Saison/Farmhouse Ale

Special Notes: Passion fruit juice added. Aged in oak barrels for six months.

ABV: 5.4%

IBU: N/A

Availability: Rotating

@untappd says: 3.91/5

Passion fruit on the Windowsill? Oh yeah!

Who knew the passion fruit had such an interesting backstory? First of all, the name comes from the fact that it’s one of the many species of passion flower. In the 1700s, the plant was named by missionaries in Brazil who were trying to convert natives to Christianity. It was also known as “flor das cinco chagas,” which means “flower of the five wounds.” It was specifically used to teach the natives about the crucifixion of Christ.

Springdale Beer: ¡Parcha!
An upside down exclamation point? ¡Español! (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills

In Portuguese, it’s known as the maracuyá, which comes from a Guarini word meaning “nursery for flies.” Sounds kind of gross, no? In the Dominican Republic, it’s known as chinola, which originates from China, which is where the orange originated (they’re similar looking). Finally, in some other Spanish speaking countries, it’s known as parcha… which is where the name for today’s beer, from the Springdale Barrel Room, comes in!

The ¡Parcha! Is a nice little concoction that I am pretty passionate about (see what I did there?). Springdale took a saison, added passion fruit juice to it, and then aged the entire thing in oak barrels for six months. The resulting brew is a little more tart than most saisons, almost like a wild ale. That being said, the sweetness from the passion fruit provides some solid balance of sweet and sour. Aside from the sweetness, the passion fruit flavor really stands out, unlike some other passion fruit beers I’ve had. Pretty enjoyable bottle of parcha infused ¡Parcha!

Head over to Instagram to check this one out!

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. Springdale Barrel Room: ¡Parcha! . Passion fruit on the Windowsill? Oh yeah! . Who knew the passion fruit had such an interesting backstory? First of all, the name comes from the fact that it’s one of the many species of passion flower. In the 1700s, the plant was named by missionaries in Brazil who were trying to convert natives to Christianity. It was also known as flor das cinco chagas, which means “flower of the five wounds.” It was specifically used to teach the natives about the crucifixion of Christ. . In Portuguese, it’s known as the maracuyá, which comes from a Guarini word meaning “nursery for flies.” Sounds kind of gross, no? In the Dominican Republic, it’s known as chinola, which originates from China, which is where the orange originated (they’re similar looking). Finally, in some other spanish speaking countries, it’s known as parcha… which is where the name for today’s beer, from the Springdale Barrel Room, comes in! . The ¡Parcha! Is a nice little concoction that I am pretty passionate about (see what I did there?). Springdale took a saison, added passion fruit juice to it, and then aged the entire thing in oak barrels for six months. The resulting brew is a little more tart than most saisons, almost like a wild ale. That being said, the sweetness from the passion fruit provides some solid balance of sweet and sour. Aside from the sweetness, the passion fruit flavor really stands out, unlike some other passion fruit beers I’ve had. Pretty enjoyable bottle! . ABV: 5.4%, IBU: N/A, Rotating availability . @untappd says: 3.91/5

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Two Roads Brewing Company: 20 Ton Ale (2018)

Two Roads Brewing Company: 20 Ton Ale

Style: Blonde Barleywine

ABV: 13.0%

IBU: N/A

Availability: Rotating

@untappd says: 4.2/5

Can my Windowsills withstand 20 tons worth of barleywine?

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I decided to use our cheat day (as it relates to diet, not… whatever you’re thinking) to get some pizza and drink some craft beer. I’d heard that PizzaCo, in Stratford, CT, had really great pies and a solid selection of crafty goodness, so we decided we’d go there to kill two birds with one stone.

When we got there, the pizza looked awesome, and the beer menu was on point. There was, however, one problem: it turned out they were directly across the street from one of my favorite breweries—Two Roads Brewing Company. As they say, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Our plans changed immediately. We decided to take our pies to go and saddled up to the Two Roads tasting room bar to eat it. Best of both worlds!

Two Roads Brewing Company: 20 Ton Ale
In case you wanted more of the backstory, it’s all on the back! (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on windowsills)

The 20 Ton Ale is one of the beers off Two Roads’ “Beers from the Vault” menu (and part of their Road Less Traveled series), but they also had bottles in the retail shop, which is where I picked this one up. Things got a little out of hand on Thanksgiving, and my friend Mike and I uncorked it and fired it up. It’s a blonde barleywine, which means you know it has some heft to it (12% ABV). It’s hopped aggressively with Northwest hops and made with heirloom malts. Overall, it was pretty tasty. Oh, and it’s named after the 20 ton crane that adorns the middle of Two Roads’ century-old building.

Love good Connecticut craft beer? Check out my Instagram page now.

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. Two Roads Brewing Company: 20 Ton Ale (2018) . Can my Windowsills withstand 20 tons worth of barleywine? . A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I decided to use our cheat day (as it relates to diet, not… whatever you’re thinking) to get some pizza and drink some craft beer. I’d heard that @pizzacostratfordct had really great pies and a solid selection of crafty goodness, so we decided we’d go there to kill two birds with one stone. . When we got there, the pizza looked awesome, and the beer menu was on point. There was, however, one problem: it turned out they were directly across the street from one of my favorite breweries—@tworoadsbrewing. As they say, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Our plans changed immediately. We decided to take our pies to go and saddled up to the Two Roads tasting room bar to eat it. Best of both worlds! . The 20 Ton Ale is one of the beers off Two Roads’ “Beers from the Vault” menu (and part of their Road Less Traveled series), but they also had bottles in the retail shop, which is where I picked this one up. Things got a little out of hand on Thanksgiving, and @dasmiguel and I uncorked it and fired it up. It’s a blonde barleywine, which means you know it has some heft to it (12% ABV). It’s hopped aggressively with Northwest hops and made with heirloom malts. Overall, it was pretty tasty. Oh, and it’s named after the 20 ton crane that adorns the middle of Two Roads’ century-old building. . ABV: 12.0%, IBU: N/A, Limited availability . @untappd says: 3.67/5

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Evil Twin Brewing: Bible Belt

Evil Twin Brewing: Bible Belt

Style: Imperial Stout

Special Notes: Aged on coffee, vanilla, chillies and cacao

Hops: Columbus

ABV: 13.0%

IBU: N/A

Availability: Rotating

@untappd says: 4.2/5

Clearing out the archives for Stout Season on the Windowsill!

Today’s Windowsill brew is one of the reasons I love craft beer. If you follow my site, you know I love the Jesus series of stouts from Evil Twin Brewing. You also know that Bomb! by Prairie Artisan Ales is the reason I started drinking craft beer. Now what do you think I did when I heard that Evil Twin and Prairie were collaborating on a beer that was, essentially a mix of the two? Well, I damn near had a heart attack, and then I went out and snagged a can of their collaboration, Bible Belt.

As I mentioned, the recipe for this amazing stout begins with Evil Twin’s Even More Jesus imperial stout. It’s an amazing, chocolaty, thick, fudge-like, ooey, gooey, stick-to-your-ribs stout—one of the best out there. Once that’s ready, those crazy sons of bitches add all the same spices and extras—aging the brew on coffee, vanilla, chillies and cacao—that go into the Bomb! stout. Is your mouth watering yet? Mine for sure is. The best part of all, in my opinion, is that the tag team of Prairie and Evil Twin brought in a third partner, just to brew it all… Westbrook Brewing Co.

What an amazing triple threat of craft brewers, and what an incredible resulting brew. Bible Belt, baby!

Check out my Instagram page for more awesome brews from Evil Twin!

Avery Brewing Company: Tweak (2017) Batch #4

Avery Brewing Company: Tweak

Style: Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels

Special Notes:  Coffee added, and aged for four months in bourbon barrels.

Hops: Columbus

Malts: Special B, Roasted Barley, Black, Aromatic, 2-Row

Yeast: Westmalle Belgian Ale

ABV: 16.0%

IBU: 65

Availability: Good luck!

@untappd says: 4.42/5

All of my BCB hunting had me tweaking for a barrel-aged stout!

All week long, I’ve been hunting and collecting the Goose Island Bourbon County Brand releases, knowing that I probably won’t get to taste their bourbon barrel-aged goodness until at least January. That seeking built up a thirst for something barrel-aged, chocolaty and with the consistency of motor oil… Delicious, 16% ABV motor oil.

When you need a good stout, you can’t go wrong with Colorado’s Avery Brewing Company. They’ve been putting out incredible beer since 1993, and today’s beer is no different. The Tweak has a backstory as interesting as its recipe. Avery has a famous stout they used to brew called Mephistopheles’ Stout (I had a bottle from 2007 on the Windowsill earlier this year). It’s a hefty whopper of a stout, indeed. What better to make a hefty stout better than to barrel age it?

Avery Brewing Company: Tweak
I knew this beer would kick my ass, but damn! (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

That’s where the Tweak comes in… sort of. It was first brewed under a different name, Meph Addict. As you can imagine, that name did not come without controversy. It sounded like something Walter White would be concocting, and not a craft brewery. The decision was made to change the name to Tweak, which is still a Methamphetamine reference… if you want to get technical.

That being said, this beer was pretty awesome. It’s aged for four months in bourbon barrels, resulting in a viscous, oily, boozy and chocolatey stout, with really great notes of coffee, to boot. I’m so glad I picked it up. It really hit the spot, and damn near knocked me on my ass!

Head over to Instagram to see more great barrel-aged stouts on Windowsills!

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. Avery Brewing Company: Tweak (2017) Batch #4 . All of my BCB hunting had me tweaking for a barrel-aged stout! . All week long, I’ve been hunting and collecting the Goose Island Bourbon County Brand releases, knowing that I probably won't get to taste their bourbon barrel-aged goodness until at least January. All that seeking built up a thirst for something barrel-aged, chocolaty and with the consistency of motor oil… Delicious, 16% ABV motor oil. . When you need a good stout, you can’t go wrong with Colorado’s Avery Brewing Company. They’ve been putting out incredible beer since 1993, and today’s beer is no different. The Tweak has a backstory as interesting as its recipe. Avery has a famous stout they used to brew called Mephistopheles’ Stout (I had a bottle from 2007 on the Windowsill earlier this year). It’s a hefty whopper of a stout, indeed. What better to make a hefty stout better than to barrel age it? . That’s where the Tweak comes in… sort of. It was first brewed under a different name, Meph Addict. As you can imagine, that name did not come without controversy. It sounded like something Walter White would be concocting, and not a craft brewery. The decision was made to change the name to Tweak, which is still a Methamphetamine reference… if you want to get technical. . That being said, this beer was pretty awesome. It’s aged for four months in bourbon barrels, resulting in a viscous, oily, boozy and chocolatey stout, with really great notes of coffee, to boot. I’m so glad I picked it up. It really hit the spot, and damn near knocked me on my ass! . ABV: 16.0%, IBU: 65, Rotating availability . @untappd says: 4.42/5

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Goose Island Beer Company: Bourbon County Brand Reserve (2018)

Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Reserve Stout

Style: Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels

Special Notes: Aged in 12-year-old Elijah Craig Barrel Proof bourbon barrels.

Hops: Millenium

Malts: 2-Row, Black Malt, Caramel, Chocolate, Munich, Roast Barley

ABV: 15.2%

IBU: 60

Availability: Good luck!

@untappd says: 4.63/5

One last hunt on the Windowsill!

One thing beer hunting has taught me, it’s to never give up. This beer is proof that it pays to keep working the internet and the phones when you’re trying to track down specialty brews. Being that I don’t want to pay over $100 or more for the Chicago-only Proprietor’s Stout (that’s what “empty” bottles are selling for on Ebay), the acquisition of this 2018 Bourbon County Brand Reserve brings to an end my hunt for this year’s BCBs from Goose Island Beer Company. It was a fun ride, too!

Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Reserve Stout
Look at this silver sensation… (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

How did I get the 2018 Reserve? I went back to a watering hole that had previously been emptied—the East Side Grocery on 2nd between 74th and 75th. Knowing they were expecting another shipment, I called them Thursday afternoon, and they graciously held me a bottle. Store policy dictated that I also had to buy another flavor in order to get the 2018 Reserve, which I suppose is fair enough. I ended up deciding on another bottle of the regular Bourbon County Brand Stout, which was the cheapest option available. Good to have another one for cellaring anyway, right?

I have to give yet another shout out to Windowsill Hero, Kristena, who once again saved me a 30-block trek to the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She actually also saved me from not getting the 2018 Reserve at all. As it turns out, through what I assume is a miscommunication, when she got to the store, they didn’t have my bottle held, and claimed to never have heard of any Kristena. Did she give up? No! Like any true Windowsiller, she—in her own words—caused a scene until they “magically found” one last bottle behind the counter. She made the clerk so nervous that he had to call the owner… twice! Anyway, she bought it, and delivered it to my desk the next day. Hero! It’s good to have friends who enjoy a good treasure hunt!

Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Reserve Stout Box
You know it’s quality because of all the paragraphs. (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

The difference between the 2018 Reserve and the 2018 regular is all in the barrels. The recipe for both beers is exactly the same. Same malts, same hops, same aging time. Other than the packaging—how cool is that box and the silver label?—the only distinction between the two is that the 2018 Reserve is aged in 12-year-old Elijah Craig Barrel Proof bourbon barrels. The Elijah Craig won whiskey of the year from Whisky Advocate, which is basically the top prize in the industry. I bet it’s gonna be smooth. I hope so, anyway… it was pricey!

Anybody want to send me the Proprietor’s Stout? Lol. Worth a shot, I think!

Once again, head over to Instagram to like and follow!

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Goose Island Beer Company: Bourbon County Brand Reserve (2018) . One last hunt on the Windowsill! . One thing beer hunting has taught me, it’s to never give up. This beer is proof that it pays to keep working the internet and the phones when you’re trying to track down specialty brews. Being that I don’t want to pay over $100 or more for the Chicago-only Proprietor’s Stout (that’s what “empty” bottles are selling for on Ebay), the acquisition of this 2018 Bourbon County Brand Reserve brings to an end my hunt for this year’s BCBs from Goose Island Beer Company. It was a fun ride, too! . How did I get the 2018 Reserve? The East Side Grocery on 2nd between 74th and 75th. Knowing they were expecting another shipment, I called them Thursday afternoon, and they graciously agreed to hold me a bottle. . I have to give yet another shout out to Windowsill Hero, Kristena, who once again saved me a 30-block trek to the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She actually also saved me from not getting the 2018 Reserve at all. As it turns out, through what I assume is a miscommunication, when she got to the store, they didn’t have my bottle held, and claimed to never have heard of any Kristena. Did she give up? No! Like any true Windowsiller, she—in her own words—caused a scene until they “magically found” one last bottle behind the counter. She made the clerk so nervous that he had to call the owner… twice! Anyway, she bought it, and delivered it to my desk the next day. Hero! It’s good to have friends who enjoy a good treasure hunt! . The difference between the 2018 Reserve and the 2018 regular is all in the barrels. Other than the packaging—how cool is that box and the silver label?—the only distinction between the two is that the 2018 Reserve is aged in 12-year-old Elijah Craig Barrel Proof bourbon barrels. The Elijah Craig won whiskey of the year from Whisky Advocate, which is basically the top prize in the industry. I bet it’s gonna be smooth. I hope so, anyway… it was pricey! . Anybody want to send me the Proprietor's Stout? Lol. Worth a shot, I think! . ABV: 15.2%, IBU: 60, Availability? Good luck! . @untappd says: 4.63/5

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Goose Island Beer Company: Bourbon County Brand Bramble Rye Stout (2018)

Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Bramble Rye Stout

Style: Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout

Special Notes: Additions of blackberry and raspberry juice and pureé

Hops: Columbus

Malts: 2-Row, Caramel, Chocolate, Debittered Black, Munich, Roast Barley, Rye

ABV: 12.7%

IBU: 60

Availability: Extremely limited availability

@untappd says: 4.27/5

I’m still hunting down the BCB releases for my Windowsill!

BeerMenus saves the day again! I sat down to eat my lunch today, which gave me an opportunity to search for more places around my office that might be carrying Goose Island Beer Company’s 2018 Bourbon County Brand releases. Again, I hit upon a local shop with several of the variants, including the Bramble Rye Stout! The place, Malt & Mold-Gramercy on 2nd Ave between 21st and 22nd, is a small shop that sells two basic things: Craft beer (the Malt part of the name) and Cheese (the Mold part of the name). I’d never heard of it, but it ended up being pretty awesome. Check out the beer and cheese gift baskets they do!

Malt & Mold refrigerator full of Bourbon County Brand releases
Just a portion of the Bourbon County Brand releases I found at Malt & Mold. (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

As any good hunter knows, if you have the chance to get your prey, you take it. I called up Malt & Mold to confirm that they, indeed, had the Bramble Rye, and had them hold me a bottle. I gathered my heavy jacket (it’s cold out there in these NYC streets), and my hat, and started the roughly 24-block-walk. I hustled all the way, making it basically in 20 minutes. I couldn’t browse long because I had to get back to the office, but the little I did see was pretty impressive. Lots of solid craft beer, including what looked like the remnants of several cases of the BCB releases and even the 2018 Founders CBS (You’ll be mine soon, horse). In short order, I picked up the bottle from behind the counter and paid for it. I returned to work feeling great… the thrill of the successful hunt! I may or may not have changed the lyrics to “Bamboleo” by the Gypsy Kings to “Bramble-eyo.” Reports of that are, and will remain, forever unconfirmed.

Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Bramble Rye Stout
Don’t worry, I didn’t drink it at the office! (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

The Bramble Rye is a little bit different than the other BCB stouts. First of all it’s aged in rye whisky barrels, rather than the traditional bourbon barrels used for the other variants. Secondly, Goose Island brewed this one with additions of blackberry and raspberry—in both juice and pureé form. The fruity stout is something I haven’t been able to taste too often, but I’m excited to crack this one open, and soon.

What’s your favorite variant so far? What has been the toughest to track down?

Check this one out on Instagram right now! You can also see the other variants!

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. Goose Island Beer Company: Bourbon County Brand Bramble Rye Stout (2018) . I’m still hunting down the BCB releases for my Windowsill! . @beermenus saves the day again! I sat down to eat my lunch today, which gave me an opportunity to search for more places around my office that might be carrying Goose Island Beer Company’s 2018 Bourbon County Brand releases. Again, I hit upon a local shop with several of the variants, including the Bramble Rye Stout! The place, @maltandmold on 2nd Ave between 21st and 22nd, is a small shop that sells two basic things: Craft beer (the Malt part of the name) and Cheese (the Mold part of the name). I’d never heard of it, but it ended up being pretty awesome. . As any good hunter knows, if you have the chance to get your prey, you take it. I called up Malt & Mold to confirm that they, indeed, had the Bramble Rye, and had them hold me a bottle. I gathered my heavy jacket (it’s cold out there in these NYC streets), and my hat, and started the roughly 24-block-walk. I hustled all the way, making it basically in 20 minutes. I couldn’t browse long because I had to get back to the office, but the little I did see was pretty impressive. Lots of solid craft beer, including what looked like the remnants of several cases of the BCB releases. In short order, I picked up the bottle from behind the counter and paid for it. I returned to work feeling great… the thrill of the successful hunt! . The Bramble Rye is a little bit different than the other BCB stouts. First of all it’s aged in rye whisky barrels, rather than the traditional bourbon barrels used for the other variants. Secondly, Goose Island brewed this one with additions of blackberry and raspberry—in both juice and pureé form. The fruity stout is something I haven’t been able to taste too often, but I’m excited to crack this one open, and soon. . What’s your favorite variant so far? What has been the toughest to track down? . ABV: 12.7%, IBU: 60, Limited availability . @untappd says: 4.27/5

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Goose Island Beer Company: Bourbon County Brand Coffee Barleywine (2018)

Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Coffee Barleywine

Style: English Style Barleywine Aged in Bourbon Barrels

Special Notes: Finca La Soledad coffee from Guatemala.

Hops: Pilgrim

Malts: 2-Row, C-120, Caracrystal wheat, Dark Chocolate, Superior Pale

ABV: 15.1%

IBU: 60

Availability: Super limited availability

@untappd says: 4.3/5

Another day, another BCB release hunted down!

As the great Beatles song says, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Every good beer hunter knows that sometimes you have to rely on the eyes, ears and hell sometimes even the feet and money of your buddies to get those rare brews. That’s how I ended up getting my hands on this bottle of the 2018 Bourbon County Brand Coffee Barleywine from Goose Island Beer Company.

I have the luxury of working in Midtown Manhattan—ok it’s not always a luxury—with access to an entire city’s worth of craft beer. A quick search on BeerMenus revealed the existence of a little bodega named the East Side Grocery, on 2nd Avenue, between 74th and 75th on the Upper East Side. Not only did the site say the grocery had the Bourbon County Brand Stout, it also said they’d gotten the Barleywine, the Bramble Rye Stout AND the BCBS Reserve. Say what?

Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Coffee Barleywine
Another day, another Bourbon County Brand release at my desk. (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to make the 30-block walk. Rather than give up, I did some digging and found a friend that lived near the store. Kristena didn’t know she was going to be a Windowsill hero when she woke up yesterday, but she stepped up to the challenge and, although the bodega was out of the Reserve and the Bramble Rye, she snagged me the Coffee Barleywine on her way home!

The exciting part about this beer is that it’s the first ever Bourbon County Coffee Barleywine release. It’s a traditional, malt forward English-style Barleywine aged in 4+ year old Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels. Goose Island worked with Chicago’s Intelligentsia Coffee, flying all the way to Guatemala to source some of the world’s best coffee—Finca La Soledad. I’ve never had a coffee barleywine before, and I can’t wait to try it!

Pop over to Instagram to see our other 2018 Bourbon County Brand Releases. Make sure you like and follow!

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. Goose Island Beer Company: Bourbon County Brand Coffee Barleywine (2018) . Another day, another BCB release hunted down! . As the great Beatles song says, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Every good beer hunter knows that sometimes you have to rely on the eyes, ears and hell sometimes even the feet and money of your buddies to get those rare brews. That’s how I ended up getting my hands on this bottle of the 2018 Bourbon County Brand Coffee Barleywine from Goose Island Beer Company. . I have the luxury of working in Midtown Manhattan—ok it’s not always a luxury—with access to an entire city’s worth of craft beer. A quick search on @beernenus revealed the existence of a little bodega named the East Side Grocery, on 2nd Avenue, between 74th and 75th on the Upper East Side. Not only did the site say ESG had the BCBS, it also said they’d gotten the Barleywine, the Bramble Rye Stout AND the BCBS Reserve. Say what? . Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to make the 30-block walk. Rather than give up, I did some digging and found a friend that lived near the store. @kmagrips didn’t know she was going to be a Windowsill hero when she woke up yesterday, but she stepped up to the challenge and, although the bodega was out of the Reserve and the Bramble Rye, she snagged me the Coffee Barleywine on her way home! . The exciting part about this beer is that it’s the first ever Bourbon County Coffee Barleywine release. It’s a traditional, malt forward English-style Barleywine aged in 4+ year old Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels. Goose Island worked with Chicago’s Intelligentsia Coffee, flying all the way to Guatemala to source some of the world’s best coffee—Finca La Soledad. I’ve never had a coffee barleywine before, and I can’t wait to try it! . ABV: 15.1%, IBU: 60, Super limited availability . @untappd says: 4.3/5

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Founders Brewing Company: Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS) (2017)

Founders Brewing Company: Canadian Breakfast Stout (CBS) (2017) on the Windowsill

Special Ingredients: Coffee, Chocolate

Special notes: Barrel Aged

ABV: 11.7%

IBU: 45

Availability: Once per year

@untappd says: 4.54/5

This was a great weekend to get the CBS on the Windowsill!

From one craft-questionable barrel-aged stout on the sill to another, we move onto today’s brew… The world renown Canadian Breakfast Stout from Founders Brewing Company. Why do I call it craft-questionable? Because, in December 2014, Founders sold a 30% stake of its company to the Mahou-San Miguel Group. MSMG is a Spanish brewery that opened its taps in 1890 and is, today, the biggest producer of beer in Spain. Since the Brewers Association rules state that a brewery cannot be more than 25% owned by a macro-brewery and still be considered craft beer, Founders lost its certification.

Founders Brewing CBS Bottle
Legend has it that the Mountie always gets his man… (Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

Like with the Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stouts, my opinion on Founders is clear: if you make great beer, I’m gonna drink it. Because I have a friend that used to work for Founders, I’ve been exposed to a lot of their beer. I have very rarely been disappointed. The CBS is one of the finest stouts I’ve ever tasted. What Founders did was take its legendary Breakfast Stout and age it not just in bourbon barrels, but bourbon barrels that had previously housed maple syrup. The coffee, chocolate, maple and bourbon flavors mix together to make an absolutely amazing brew. I don’t care who owns 30% of the CBS, I’m loving 100% of it.

Check this one out on Instagram, now!

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. Founders Brewing Company: Canadian Breakfast Stout (2017) . This was a great weekend to get the CBS on the Windowsill! . From one craft-questionable barrel-aged stout on the sill to another, we move onto today’s brew… The world renown Canadian Breakfast Stout from Founders Brewing Company. Why do I call it craft-questionable? Because, in 2014, Founders sold a 30% stake of its company to the Mahou-San Miguel Group. MSMG is a Spanish brewery that opened its taps in 1890 and is, today, the biggest producer of beer in Spain. Since the Brewers Association rules state that a brewery cannot be more than 25% owned by a macro-brewery and still be considered craft beer, Founders lost its certification. . Like with the Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stouts, my opinion on Founders is clear: if you make great beer, I’m gonna drink it. Because I have a friend that used to work for Founders, I’ve been exposed to a lot of their beer. I have very rarely been disappointed. The CBS is one of the finest stouts I’ve ever tasted. What Founders did was take its legendary Breakfast Stout and age it not just in bourbon barrels, but bourbon barrels that had previously housed maple syrup. The coffee, chocolate, maple and bourbon flavors mix together to make an absolutely amazing brew. I don’t care who owns 30% of it, I’m loving 100% of it. . ABV: 11.7%, IBU: 45, Available once per year . @untappd says: 4.54/5

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