If you guys recall from last year, I managed to track down every single Bourbon County Brand Stout release from Goose Island Beer Company. This year, with that hunt out of my system, I decided not to go all-out crazy on Black Friday, setting my sights on the regular release and two variants—the Brand Café de Olla Stout and the Brand Mon Chéri Stout.
According to Goose Island, the Café de Olla is inspired by the traditional Mexican beverage of the same name. They added coffee beans and cold coffee to regular BCBS and then added cassia bark, orange peel and panela sugar to make it even better. The Mon Chéri, meanwhile, is billed by the brewery as a “love letter from our brewer, Quinn, to his wife who loves cherries.” It’s made with Balenton and Montmorency cherries with a bit of brown sugar added for flavor.
Thankfully, my local Total Wine in Norwalk, CT had everything I wanted! They also had the Bourbon County Wheatwine, but I decided to save myself $25 and just stick to the ones I had my heart set on. That being said, I do get my bonus in a couple of weeks…perhaps the hunt will be back on then?
Are you guys on the hunt for this year’s releases? Let me know in the comments below!
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A month later, I got a random DM from my good buddy, @bedwetr7 aka Josh. He had seen in my Instagram stories that I was hoping to score a Proprietor’s—a story I had posted mostly as a shot in the dark—and he’d answered my call.
Josh contacted me saying that he’d bought one with me in mind, if I was interested in a trade. All Josh wanted was some Trillium brews. I was pretty shocked. The Proprietor’s goes on Ebay for tons of money, after all. To get an offer for a fair amount of brews was great. Thankfully, I don’t live prohibitively far away from either Trillium location, and I’m always looking for a reason to go to them. I asked Josh to cellar my stout for a month while I planned a road trip to Canton. Two Saturdays ago, I went (you’ve been seeing the fruits of that trip for the last 9 days). A week later, I shipped out his beers, and he shipped me mine.
Last night, I got my end of the trade, and completed the greatest beer hunt of my Windowsill’s young life. So, what makes the Proprietor’s so special? Every year, Goose Island makes a special version of their Bourbon County Brand Stout for the ones they consider “the adventurous beer lovers who responded so favorably to our first batch of Bourbon County Brand Stout in the early 90s, and who loyally, year after year, share our passion for bourbon barrel-aged stout.”
The Proprietor’s is always the best of the best, made with unique ingredients from the rest and a special recipe put together by Brian LaGro. For 2018, the magic word is chocolate. It uses a combination of dark chocolate and two kinds of cocoa nibs. It’s rich, decadent and includes all the chocolate flavors, from “silky milk chocolate” to “deep and earth dark chocolate.”
Head over to Instagram to see this one it all its glory. Make sure you follow Beers on Windowsills for more great beer!
My day started out super cold. I arrived at Two Roads at about 8:05 AM, and it was 22 degrees. As advertised, tickets for the bottles went on sale at 9:00 AM sharp. I bought my five tickets, paid and got myself some coffee and a sausage, egg and cheese from the 744 Express Food Truck in the parking lot, and headed to my car. The nice part about the way Two Roads does their releases is that once you have your tickets, you’re all set with your guaranteed beer. I was able to snag the tickets and then go home and do a couple of errands. When I was ready, I went back to pick up the bottles.
When I came back, I was ushered to the big glass doors at the back of the taproom, and down the stairs into the actual brewing area, where tables were set up with all of the bottles of Igor’s Dream. I quickly went table to table, got my bottles—I put them into the free big bottle tote bag that Two Roads handed out to everyone who bought bottles—and went out the back door and back to my car. Easy as pie!
I haven’t tried any of the beers yet, but I couldn’t wait to show them to you guys. I’ll do a full review of the Igor’s Dream if and when I pop them open.
Check out more photos of the versions on my Instagram page!
Sometimes, collusion amongst friends leads to very good beer.
Despite the fact that today’s beer is named No Collusion, it’s very much a product of collusion… without the deceptive part of the word’s meaning, though. It comes from a partnership between Vermont’s Lawson’s Finest Liquids (makers of the Sip of Sunshine) and Mad River Distillers (a Vermont-based maker of fine spirits).
The process is detailed on the bottle, but just in case you can’t read it, it’s basically this: First, they started with Mad River’s “Hopscotch” Vermont Whiskey barrels. After the whiskey was emptied, Lawson’s filled those barrels with a maple imperial stout. One year later, the barrels were tapped and the beer inside was harvested for sale.
The next collusion that led this beer to my Windowsill, is one amongst friends. My good buddy Brian, and his new wife, had themselves a house warming party. Another good friend of the Windowsill, Alex, brought this bottle to the party and shared it with all of the guests. Collaboration at its finest, all around!
What else can I say about this beer? It was so good, that I couldn’t stop thinking about it for a few days! I still remember it fondly! Chocolatey, mapley, whiskey goodness. Although, I must say, I didn’t realize it was aged in whiskey barrels until I saw the label. The beer itself was ultra smooth. The rest of the night got away from us a bit (Bourbon County and Pumking made appearances), but the Lawson’s really stuck in my mind. Incredible. I really hope they decide to make more some day.
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The Windowsill is simply out of this world for Stout Season today!
Have you guys heard about the Russian Revolution? No, not the Communist one back in 1917 that I covered in my post about The Czar from Avery Brewing Company. I’m talking about the Russian craft beer revolution! Back in 2014, the Russian currency collapsed, making many things unaffordable for the Russian people. One of those things was foreign beer. But, from a tragedy, arose a great thing. When they couldn’t afford to get outside craft beer, many Russian people just decided to make their own. Over the last five years or so, the Russian craft industry has boomed, and there are now over 100 craft breweries in the country. That boom is partially why we got today’s Windowsill brew—the Space Soyez Sauce.
Back in 2015, Brooklyn’s Other Half Brewing Co. teamed up with Moscow’s Zagovor Brewery. Zagovor is the Russian word for “conspiracy,” and the brewery bills itself as a provider of “craft beer from the deep end of the Moscow underground.” There’s no conspiracy behind today’s beer, though. It’s phenomenal.
I can honestly say that the Space Soyez Sauce is one of the more unique beers I’ve ever tried in my life. The base beer is a really solid imperial stout, but the two breweries put out three other varieties as well. All three varieties are aged in red wine barrels with Ararat brandy-soaked birch staves thrown in for good measure. One of them went to market just like that, but the other two are special. One is also aged on cherries and vanilla. The one I got, that you see in the photos, is aged on raspberries and cocoa nibs. I love nibs!
This variant is phenomenal. Every flavor is palatable. The rich chocolate, the red wine notes and the raspberries all shine through. The base stout is also quality, smooth and delicious despite the high ABV. When i first poured, the lack of thick head kind of made me pause, but the nose and flavor knocked it out of the box for me. Sadly, it’s not in production anymore, so you’ll have to dig to find it. I got my Space Soyez Sauce at Decicco & Sons!
You know what to do—check it out on Instagram! Follow, like and tell your beer-loving friends!
For the first time ever, we’ve got a wine on the Windowsill today!
How did we get here? It’s a quick story, really. A few days ago, I received a follow from Exitus Wine. I was intrigued by their product, so I followed back and reached out to see if they would send me a sample to try and review for you Windowsillers. To my surprise, they responded right away and asked me for my address, so that they could send me something. Very cool!
So, what is Exitus wine? It’s a blend of Zinfandel, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon that is fermented in American stainless steel. What makes it special, and what caught my eye to begin with, is that it’s then aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels for three months. Are you intrigued yet?
The brand was launched in 2018 by O’Neill Vintners & Distillers, family-owned and operated wine producer based in California. They own several nationally-known brands of wine and spirits, and the bourbon-barrel aged win is their next foray. Exitus is the latin word for departure, which is a bit of a metaphor for what this wine is. It bucks tradition. As Exitus boasts, it’s wine without rules.
I’ll be the first to admit that my knowledge of wine is extremely limited. There’s a reason I do Beers on Windowsills, and never—until now—Wines on Windowsills. That being said, I actually liked this wine. I didn’t get a ton of bourbon in the flavor, although I did get some subtle notes of it, but it was pretty fruity and tasty. One thing, it was very dry. I’m not typically a big dry wine kind of guy, but I liked it. This is a terrible review, I know! But I thought this company treated me very graciously, and I wanted to shout them out, and tell you guys to try their product if you’re interested. I enjoyed it… in all of my wine ignorance.
The Bakery is an imperial stout aged bourbon barrels with coconut and natural vanilla flavor added. Bruery founder Scott Rue told The Full Pint that macaroons inspired this brew. Said Rue, “Macaroons bring back nostalgic feelings for me. As a kid, I would beg my Mom to buy them and devour them in one sitting. In college, my girlfriend (now wife) would buy fresh, chocolate-dipped macaroons from the campus coffee shop, which further fueled my appreciation for the dessert.”
So, did Rue do it right? Hell yes. I definitely taste what he was going for in the Bakery. I think the first word that comes to mind when I think of this brew is creamy. Super creamy. It’s also got some really good sweetness and, although you can taste the bourbon barrel character in it, the boozyness is not at all overpowering. This is how you barrel age a stout. So good!
Head over to Instagram to check this one out right now!
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?
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!
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? 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!
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!
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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!
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.
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!