Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout

Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout

Style: Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels

Special Notes: Grade A vanilla beans from Madagascar. The vanilla stout makes its return to the Bourbon County Brand release after several years off the roster.

Hops: Millenium

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

ABV: 14.9%

IBU: 60

Availability: Did I get the wrong one?

@untappd says: 4.57/5

Thought I was done with these on the sill, but surprise, surprise!

There’s only one thing better than scoring a specialty release beer on the day it hits stores: Getting one of the rare variants three days after it reaches shelves! Thanks to my good buddy, Brian, and a well-placed day off from my day job, I managed to snag the Goose Island Beer Company Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout from Ridgefield Wine & Spirits in Ridgefield, CT.

Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout
Got my bottle and headed back home! (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

I was driving around town after running some errands, when I got the word from Brian. I immediately drove to get some coffee—a little Nitro from Donut Crazy in Westport—and then made the roughly 30-minute drive to Ridgefield. Although the cashier temporarily put a fright in me by saying the system showed they didn’t have any left, she quickly asked the manager and he came out from the back with a bottle for me. I snagged the second-to-last one!

I will be reposting this once I taste it—probably some time in early 2019—but I was too proud of my find to not share it with you guys. Like the other Bourbon County Brand Stouts, this one is aged in bourbon barrels that are at least four years old. However, Goose Island’s brewers decided to add Grade A vanilla beans from Madagascar to the mix. The vanilla variant has been gone from the Bourbon County Brand release lineup for a number of years, but it’s back for 2018… and on my Windowsill.

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. Goose Island Beer Company: Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout (2018) . Thought I was done with these on the sill, but surprise, surprise! . There’s only one thing better than scoring a specialty release beer on the day it hits stores: Getting one of the rare variants three days after it reaches shelves! Thanks to my good buddy, @itsmeitsbmd1085, and a well-placed day off from my day job, I managed to snag the Goose Island Beer Company Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout from Ridgefield Wine & Spirits in Ridgefield, CT. . I was driving around town after running some errands, when I got the word from Brian. I immediately drove to get some coffee—a little Nitro from @donutcrazy in Westport—and then made the roughly 30-minute drive to Ridgefield. I snagged the second-to-last bottle! . I will be reposting this once I taste it—probably some time in early 2019—but I was too proud of my find to not share it with you guys. Like the other Bourbon County Brand Stouts, this one is aged in bourbon barrels that are at least four years old. However, Goose Island’s brewers decided to add Grade A vanilla beans from Madagascar to the mix. The vanilla variant has been gone from the Bourbon County Brand release lineup for a number of years, but it’s back for 2018… and on my Windowsill. . ABV: 14.9%, IBU: 60, Extremely limited availability . @untappd says: 4.57/5

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Goose Island Brewing Company: Bourbon County Brand Releases

Goose Island Beer Company: Bourbon County Brand Releases

Be vewwy, vewwy quiet. We’we hunting Bourbon County Brand stouts on the Windowsill today!

As a certified beer nerd, I have to do my best to get all those hard-to-find-brews, so… Yes. I hunted around town to bring home some Bourbon County Brand Stouts and its variants. This year, I was able to snag the 2018 Bourbon County Brand Stout, as well as the Bourbon County Brand Wheatwine and Bourbon County Brand Midnight Orange Stout flavors from Goose Island Beer Company. Although I haven’t tasted them, and won’t for a while, but I’m happy to add them to my collection. For this photo, I threw in the 2017 Bourbon County Brand Stout, which I bought last year, and the 2016 Bourbon County Brand Stout, which my good buddy Tom gifted me last year. You like?

Now, this release is not without controversy in the craft beer community. You see, back in 2011, the Chicago-based brewery was purchased… by Anheuser-Busch InBev. Yep… Big Beer. For many craft enthusiasts, this was the end of the Goose. No Big Beer will touch their lips, and so, no matter how good a Goose beer is, the Goose is dead to them. I respect that, but for me? If you take the time and care to make a beer like this, you’re still making craft. It’s craft supported by a giant corporation—the enemy of small batch and craft breweries everywhere—but it’s still a work of art. I still believe this beer is great, and I’ll continue to try to snag some every year… Big Beer or not.

What do you guys think? Should BCB lovers be ousted from the craft beer community? Or is it OK to lust after this quality stout every Black Friday? While you mull it over, check out some more information about the releases I’ve been able to score so far.

2016 Bourbon County Brand Stout

Goose Island Beer Company: 2016 Bourbon County Brand Stout
Goose Island Beer Company: 2016 Bourbon County Brand Stout. (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

Style: Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels

Special Notes: Aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels that are at least 4 years old.

Hops: Millennium

Malts: 2-Row, Black Malt, Caramel, Chocolate, Munich 10, Roasted Barley

ABV: 13.8%

IBU: 60

Availability: No longer in production.

@untappd says: 4.55/5

2017 Bourbon County Brand Stout

Goose Island Beer Company: 2017 Bourbon County Brand Stout
Goose Island Beer Company: 2017 Bourbon County Brand Stout (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

Style: Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels

Special Notes: Aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels that are at least 4 years old.

Hops: Millennium

Malts: 2-Row, Black Malt, Caramel, Chocolate, Munich 10, Roasted Barley

ABV: 14.1%

IBU: 60

Availability: No longer in production.

@untappd says: 4.49/5

2018 Bourbon County Brand Stout

Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Stout
Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Stout (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

Style: Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels

Special Notes: Aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels that are at least 4 years old.

Hops: Millennium

Malts: 2-Row, Black Malt, Caramel, Chocolate, Munich 10, Roasted Barley

ABV: 14.7% or 15.2%

IBU: 60

Availability: Limited… like go now!

@untappd says: 4.51/5

2018 Bourbon County Brand Midnight Orange Stout

Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Midnight Orange Stout
Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Midnight Orange Stout (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

Style: Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels

Special Notes: Spanish orange zest and chocolate added. It’s the first time fruit zest has been part of the recipe. Aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels that are at least 4 years old.

Hops: Millennium

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

ABV: 15.2%

IBU: 60

Availability: Even more limited… Why are you still reading?

@untappd says: 4.29/5

2018 Bourbon County Brand Wheatwine Ale

Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Wheatwine Ale
Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Wheatwine Ale (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

Style: Wheatwine Aged in Bourbon Barrels

Special Notes: The Wheatwine Ale is making its debut in 2018 as the first of the Bourbon County Brand brews to deviate from the imperial stout recipe since the Barleywine debuted back in 2013. Aged in Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels that are at least 4 years old.

Hops: Pilgrim

Malts: 2-Row, White Wheat

ABV: 15.4%

IBU: 60

Availability: Even more limited… Why are you still reading?

@untappd says: 4.17/5

2018 Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout

Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout
Goose Island Beer Company: 2018 Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

Style: Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels

Special Notes: Grade A vanilla beans from Madagascar. The vanilla stout makes its return to the Bourbon County Brand release after several years off the roster.

Hops: Millenium

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

ABV: 14.9%

IBU: 60

Availability: Did I get the wrong one?

@untappd says: 4.57/5

You might as well check them out on my Instagram page, too!

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. Goose Island Beer Company: Bourbon County Brand Releases (2018) . Be vewwy, vewwy quiet. We’we hunting stouts on the Windowsill today! . As a certified beer nerd, I have to do my best to get all those hard-to-find-brews, so.. Yes. I hunted around town to bring home some Bourbon County Brand Stouts and its variants. This year, I was able to snag the original, as well as the Wheatwine and Midnight Orange flavors from Goose Island Beer Company. Although I haven’t tasted them, and won’t for a while, but I’m happy to add them to my collection. For this photo, I threw in the 2017 BCB Stout, which I bought last year, and the 2016 BCB, which my good buddy @one_ill_tom gifted me last year. You like? . Now, this release is not without controversy in the craft beer community. You see, back in 2011, the Chicago-based brewery was purchased… by Anheuser-Busch InBev. Yep… Big Beer. For many craft enthusiasts, this was the end of the Goose. No Big Beer will touch their lips, and so, no matter how good a Goose beer is, the Goose is dead to them. I respect that, but for me? If you take the time and care to make a beer like this, you’re still making craft. It’s craft supported by a giant corporation—the enemy of small batch and craft breweries everywhere—but it’s still a work of art. I still believe this beer is great, and I’ll continue to try to snag some every year… Big Beer or not. . What do you guys think? Should BCB lovers be ousted from the craft beer community? Or is it OK to lust after this quality stout every Black Friday?

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Evil Twin Brewing: Imperial Biscotti Chili Hazelnut Break

Evil Twin Brewing: Imperial Biscotti Chili Hazelnut Break

Special Ingredients: Biscotti, Hazelnut, Chili Peppers

ABV: 11.5%

IBU: N/A

Availability: Rotating

Who needs a break? A break from beer? Not me!

The “Break” series is one of Evil Twin Brewing’s ongoing series. From donuts to biscotti to maple bourbon to raspberry, the series has some of the best experimental stouts I’ve ever had. For me, the “Jesus” series still wins out, but I also haven’t had a Break that I’ve disliked. Definitely love what Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø is doing with his recipes!

The Imperial Biscotti Chili Hazelnut Break is a big time stout that packs a ton of punch, with incredible flavors of roasted Italian hazelnut, vanilla and even a hint of chili pepper. Got all that? Can I get a hell yeah? I loved this brew. From the upfront sweetness and creaminess to the nice little heat from the chilies on the finish, it was on point. Also, it was 11.5%, so you know I really did need a break after I had it. Pair it with some Nutella crepes for desert!

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Two Roads Brewing Company: Bière De CT

Two Roads Brewing Company: Bière De CT

Yeast: Uniquely sourced from the brewery hop yard

Special Ingredients: Honey from estate beehives

ABV: 7.6%

IBU: N/A

Availability: Limited

@untappd says: 3.85/5

Nothing like some locally sourced ingredients on the Windowsill!

Some breweries brag about using locally sourced ingredients. Two Roads Brewing Company took it a step further with today’s brew. The Bière De CT isn’t brewed with honey from just any local farm. It’s brewed with honey from the brewery’s very own estate beehives. The yeast is also sourced at Two Roads’ own hop yard! It’s part of their “Beers from the Vault” menu, so ask for it at the bar when you visit the brewery, which I did over the weekend.

Now for the actual review. The Bière De CT is, as you may have guessed, an ale brewed with honey! It came in one of those fancy bottles with the cork—the bartender offered to let me keep it, but I bought another bottle to go at the shop, so I didn’t—and the honey aroma powered its way into my nose. The flavor followed suit, and the extensive carbonation made it a pretty amazing experience. My wife and I both really loved it, and I can’t wait to drink that take home bottle, too!

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Pine Island Brewing: Oatmeal Crème Stout

Pine Island Brewing Company: Oatmeal Crème Stout

Malts: Black Malt, Flaked Oats, Maris Otter

Special Ingredients: Lactose

ABV: 5.0%

IBU: 35

@untappd says: 3.85/5

Are you pining for a good, light stout? Well here you go!

Pine Island Brewing, located in Pine Island, NY, opened its taps in October of 2015. Former CPA, and avid homebrewer, Mike Kraai is behind the relatively new brewery’s recipes. One very cool thing of note about the tap room… it’s located in a renovated firehouse. It’s definitely on my list of breweries to visit when I head up to the Hudson Valley area.

The Oatmeal Crème Stout is Pine Island’s winter seasonal. It’s creamy and smooth from beginning to end, as an oatmeal stout should be. Very malty too, as it’s brewed with Maris Otter, Black Malt, Flaked Oats and added Lactose. I tend to like my stouts a lot heftier than this one—it’s only 5%—but the Oatmeal Crème had some solid flavor. Very tasty!

Thanks to @bklyndena718 for picking this one up for the Windowsill!

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Southern Tier Brewing Company: Warlock

Southern Tier Brewing Company: Warlock

Special Ingredients: Pumpkin, Pumpkin spice

ABV: 8.6%

IBU: 40

Availability: Limited seasonal

@untappd says: 3.97/5

It’s Halloween times 2! Did you get some good candy tonight?

Why pumpkins and candy on Halloween? We’re going back to those crazy Celts again for this one. It seems they loved carving faces into veggies as part of their harvest celebrations. Also in need for light, they started putting candles inside, too. Spooky and useful! These were eventually named Jack O’Lanterns by the Irish, who had a legend about a farmer named Jack who had made a bargain with the devil. When those immigrants arrived in America and found the land to be full of pumpkins, it was the natural choice for carving.

Now, let’s talk about the Warlock. I’ve had a lot of pumpkin beers in my day—typically ales—but this was my very first pumpkin stout. It was brewed to “enchant your palate,” and as a counterpoint to Southern Tier Brewing Company’s Imperial Pumking. It’s part of the breweries “Blackwater Series,” a more experimental series of brews that includes some of STBC’s most famous beers. The Warlock is huge on roasted malts with really good pumpkin and pumpkin spice notes that i loved. Also, that glass fit the entire 750 ml… so I only had one beer!

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Southern Tier Brewing Company: Rum Barrel Aged Pumking (2017)

Southern Tier Brewing Company: Rum Barrel Aged Pumking

Special Ingredients: Pumpkin

ABV: 9.5%

IBU: 25

Availability: Yearly, but not this version

@untappd says: 4.03/5

Part I of our Halloween Two-fer is on the Windowsill right now!

According to History.com, Halloween evolved from the ancient Celtic holiday of Samhain. It was celebrated from October 31 until November 1 to welcome in the end of the harvest and the beginning of the “darker half” of the year. Starting in the 8th century, November first became All Saints Day, and the night before became also known as All Hallows Eve… eventually Halloween. Somehow along the lines, candy, pumpkins and scary ghouls and goblins got involved too. Makes sense to me!

If you know me and my Windowsill, you know we love us some barrel-aged goodness. Because it’s Halloween, you know we have to come hard with a Pumpkin ale. Thanks to Southern Tier Brewing Company, I’m able to do both with one glorious ale—their Rum Barrel Aged Pumking. Last Halloween, we had the original Pumking. The barrel-aged version knocks that one out of the water. I loved how the booziness blended with the pumpkin. So perfect for the holiday!

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Trillium Brewing Company (w/ Cloudwater Brew Co.): Exchange Student

Trillium Brewing Company and Cloudwater Brew Co.: Exchange Student

Hops: Citra, Galaxy

Malt: White Wheat, Pilsner Malt, Flaked Wheat

ABV: 8.5%

IBU: N/A

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

@untappd says: 4.18/5

Tree House last week… Trillium this week?!

Last September, I stumbled upon a collaboration release on my trip to Trillium Brewing Company’s Fort Point location. Lo and behold, when I visited this past September, another collab release was on the docket. This one was with Manchester, England’s Cloudwater Brew Co. Although I’ve seen Cloudwater all around the internet, I hadn’t yet tried anything of theirs. Glad I’m able to cross them off the list!

The Exchange Student isn’t just a collaboration of breweries, it’s also a collaboration of two separate styles. What the two breweries did was brewing a traditional German hefeweizen and a double IPA—styles familiar to the respective collaborators—and then blending them after fermentation. The result was a nice blending of fruity, juicy and hoppy flavors that was really pleasant for all my senses.

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Tree House Brewing Company: Bright (Citra)

Tree House Brewing Company: Bright with Citra

Hops: Citra

ABV: 7.8%

IBU: N/A

Availability: Rotating

@untappd says: 4.37/5

It’s gonna be a Bright (Citra), Bright (Citra), sunshiny day on the Windowsill!

I like when a brewery has the confidence in its recipes to not worry about playing around with them. Knowing the malt base for the Bright series is solid, Tree House Brewing Company has released several varieties of this (mostly) single-hop brew. Several months ago, I was lucky enough to try the Mosaic version, and there have also been others: Nelson, Simcoe & Amarillo, Galaxy, Baby Bright (a more session-able Bright) and the BBBright (a hopped up version of the Mosaic original).

Today, we have another of the Brights on the sill—the Citra. Like the others, it’s created with a simple malt bill and fermented with ale yeast. Like most Citra brews, this Bright is all about the citrus aromas and flavors. Orange juice, grapefruit, tangerine… you name it. Soft finish with decent bitters from the hops. Really bright and delicious!

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Tree House Brewing Company: Doppelgänger

Tree House Brewing Company: Doppelgänger

Hops: Mosaic, Amarillo

ABV: 8.2

IBU: 88

Availability: Rotating

@untappd says: 4.51/5

Still going strong with Tree House Week on the Windowsill!

Once upon a time, Tree House Brewing Company made a beer called the Alter Ego, an American IPA brewed with Mosaic and Amarillo hops. It was a very solid IPA, but it needed to be “doubled” up to an Imperial version.

That’s where the Doppelgänger comes in. More Mosaic. More Amarillo. Kettle and dry hopped. More deliciousness, too. It’s juicy, dank, citrusy and mean. You’ll definitely want more than one. So good! Make sure you try this one, the Alter Ego and the even more hopped up version… The Doubleganger.

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