Left Hand Brewing Company: Wake Up Dead Nitro (2018)

Left Hand Brewing Company: Wake Up Dead Nitro

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Special Notes: Carbonated with Nitrogen.

ABV: 10.2%

IBU: 45

Availability: Winter seasonal

@untappd says: 3.82/5

Happy New Year Windowsillers!

Did you ever wake up dead? I thought I did this morning, but it turned out I was just hungover from celebrating New Year’s Eve at Barcelona Wine Bar in Fairfield, CT. It’s something my wife and I have done a few times now, and it’s always a blast. We typically start with dinner at the restaurant, where they do pretty incredible Spanish-style tapas and entrees. Our favorite tapas are definitely the Sweet & Sour Chorizo & Figs and the Potato Tortillas and the very best entree is the Vegetable Paella. The best part? It’s attached to the Hotel Hi-Ho, so we just rented rooms. No drinking and driving. All drinking and partying!

Left Hand Brewing Company: Wake Up Dead Nitro label closeup
This is definitely a badass label design. Love it! (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

It’s the hotel that I have to thank for today’s Windowsill. You can even see the Barcelona Wine Bar sign in the background. Beautiful! As far as the beer? It’s a Nitro Imperial Russian stout from Left Hand Brewing Company named Wake Up Dead. It’s brewed with a slew of delicious malts, including Pale 2-row, Munich, Crystal, Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Black Barley and Flaked Oats. Magnum and US Goldings hops make up the rest.

I love Nitro everything. I don’t care if it’s coffee or beer. Today, it’s beer, and the creamy, cascading head from the nitrogen carbonation works beautifully with this stout. It’s chocolately with hints of dry fruit. I really loved it. Got my New Year’s Eve rolling! Plus, that can art is awesome! Hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve, and that your 2019 includes a lot of great beer—on a windowsill if possible!

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. Left Hand Brewing Company: Wake Up Dead Nitro (2018) . Happy New Year Windowsillers! . Did you ever wake up dead? I thought I did this morning, but it turned out I was just hungover from celebrating New Year’s Eve at Barcelona Wine Bar in Fairfield, CT. It’s something my wife, @jbeataetn, and I have done a few times now, and it’s always a blast. We typically start with dinner at the restaurant, where they do pretty incredible Spanish-style tapas and entrees. Our favorite tapas are definitely the Sweet & Sour Chorizo & Figs and the Potato Tortillas and the very best entree is the Vegetable Paella. The best part? It’s attached to the Hotel Hi-Ho, so we just rented rooms. No drinking and driving. All drinking and partying! . It’s the hotel that I have to thank for today’s Windowsill. You can even see the Barcelona Wine Bar sign in the background. Beautiful! As far as the beer? It’s a Nitro Imperial Russian stout from Left Hand Brewing Company named Wake Up Dead. It’s brewed with a slew of delicious malts, including Pale 2-row, Munich, Crystal, Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Black Barley and Flaked Oats. Magnum and US Goldings hops make up the rest. . I love Nitro everything. I don’t care if it’s coffee or beer. Today, it’s beer, and the creamy, cascading head from the nitrogen carbonation works beautifully with this stout. It’s chocolately with hints of dry fruit. I really loved it. Got my New Year’s Eve rolling! Plus, that can art is awesome! Hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve, and that your 2019 includes a lot of great beer—on a windowsill if possible! . ABV: 10.2%, IBU: 45, Winter seasonal availability . @untappd says: 3.82/5

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Lawson’s Finest Liquids: No Collusion

Lawson's Finest Liquids: No Collusion

Style: Whiskey barrel-aged Imperial Stout

Special Notes: Aged in Mad River Distillers’ “Hopscotch” Whiskey barrels.

ABV: 11.0%

IBU: N/A

Availability: No longer in production (brewed once)

@untappd says: 4.38/5

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.

Lawson's Finest Liquids: No Collusion label closeup
No fancy frills for this bottle. Just the facts, and the beer. (Credit: Martin Stezano / Beers on Windowsills)

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.

Head over to Instagram to like and follow me for more great craft beer!

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. Lawson’s Finest Liquids: No Collusion . 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 @itsmeitsbmd1085, and his new wife, had themselves a house warming party. Another good friend of the Windowsill, @sherk.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. . ABV: 11.0%, IBU: N/A, Limited availability (brewed once so far) . @untappd says: 4.38/5

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Other Half Brewing Co.: Space Soyez Sauce (Cocoa Nibs And Raspberries)

Other Half Brewing Co. and Zagovor Brewery: Space Soyez Sauce

Style: Red wine barrel-aged Imperial Stout

Special Notes: Aged with Ararat brandy-soaked staves, cocoa nibs and raspberries. Collaboration with Zagorov Brewery.

ABV: 12.0%

IBU: N/A

Availability: No longer in production

@untappd says: 4.25/5

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.

Other Half Brewing Co. and Zagovor Brewery: Space Soyez Sauce
Another classy bottle from Other Half. The contents inside were even better! (Credit: Martin Stezano / Beers on Windowsills)

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!

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. Other Half Brewing Co.: Space Soyez Sauce (Cocoa Nibs And Raspberries) . 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. 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 @zagovorbrewery. 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-conditioned 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 mine at @deciccosbeer! . ABV: 12.0%, IBU: N/A, No longer in production . @untappd says: 4.25/5

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Perennial Artisan Ales: Fantastic Voyage (2018)

Perennial Artisan Ales: Fantastic Voyage

Style: Imperial Milk Stout

Special Notes: Brewed with coconut

ABV: 11.5% at bottling

IBU: N/A

Availability: Summer release

@untappd says: 4.11/5

Slide. Slide. Slippity slide… on the Windowsill today!

I’d like to thank the bartender/bottle shop guy at @deciccosbeer for recommending today’s Windowsill brew. He told me it would be delicious, and he did not lie. Have you guys been to DeCicco & Sons? There are a few locations in the Westchester County, NY area, but my go to is the location in Armonk. It’s your typical grocery store, but the craft beer selection is out of this world. Downstairs, there’s an entire row of fridges dedicated to cans. That’s all well and good, but the real main event is upstairs. That’s where the bottles live… not to mention an entire full service bar with food. Yep. A full bar inside a grocery store. Crazy! If you’re near the area, you have to visit!

Perennial Artisan Ales: Fantastic Voyage can
Come along. you know you want to! (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

The Fantastic Voyage is an imperial milk stout at hear—creamy and strong with a roasty base. The special ingredient is the “heap” of dried coconut that’s added in the whirlpool. Tastes like coconut, chocolate sweetness and loveliness. It’s a massively good beer from the St. Louis-based Perennial Artisan Ales. They’ve been around since September of 2011, but this was my first beer from them. I’m definitely thirsty for more.

Final review: If you have a chance to try this beer, do as the great Coolio once said to do: “Come on y’all, let’s take a ride / Don’t you say shit just get inside!”

Had to include this for you guys… It’s much better than Lakeside’s original jam… no disrespect meant!

Slide on over to Instagram to check this one out. Like and follow!

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. Perennial Artisan Ales: Fantastic Voyage (2018) . Slide. Slide. Slippity slide… on the Windowsill today! . I’d like to thank the bartender/bottle shop guy at @deciccosbeer for recommending today’s Windowsill brew. He told me it would be delicious, and he did not lie. Have you guys been to DeCicco & Sons? There are a few locations in the Westchester County, NY area, but my go to is the location in Armonk. It’s your typical grocery store, but the craft beer selection is out of this world. Downstairs, there’s an entire row of fridges dedicated to cans. That’s all well and good, but the real main event is upstairs. That’s where the bottles live… not to mention an entire full service bar with food. Yep. A full bar inside a grocery store. Crazy! If you’re near the area, you have to visit! . The Fantastic Voyage is an imperial milk stout at hear—creamy and strong with a roasty base. The special ingredient is the “heap” of dried coconut that’s added in the whirlpool. Tastes like coconut, chocolate sweetness and loveliness. It’s a massively good beer from the St. Louis-based Perennial Artisan Ales. They’ve been around since September of 2011, but this was my first beer from them. I’m definitely thirsty for more. . Final review: If you have a chance to try this beer, do as the great Coolio once said to do: “Come on y’all, let’s take a ride / Don’t you say shit just get inside!” . ABV: 11.5%, IBU: N/A, Summer release . @untappd says 4.11/5

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The Bruery: Bakery

The Bruery: Bakery

Style: Imperial Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels

Special Notes: Coconut and vanilla added

ABV: 13.0%

IBU: N/A

Availability: Year-rouns

@untappd says: 4.13/5

I’ve been hitting the bourbon barrel-aged stouts hard so far this month, but I might have to stop after today’s Windowsill brew. It’s unbelievably good!

Last week, I took a trip to Port Chester, New York for an eye doctor appointment. As I always do when I go to Port Chester, I stopped by Port Chester Beer Distributors—one of the best beer stores around. I went there with an intent to browse, but I ended up picking up a Founders Brewing Company CBS for my buddy Brian, a Barrel-Aged Ten Fidy from Oskar Blues Brewery and, at the recommendation of the PCBD guy, the Bakery by The Bruery. Best recommendation ever!

The Bruery: Bakery
Check out that beautiful label. (Credit: Martin Stezano/Beers on Windowsills)

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!

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. The Bruery: Bakery . I’ve been hitting the bourbon barrel-aged stouts hard so far this month, but I might have to stop after today’s Windowsill brew. It’s unbelievably good! . Last week, I took a trip to Port Chester, New York for an eye doctor appointment. As I always do when I go to Port Chester, I stopped by Port Chester Beer Distributors—one of the best beer stores around. I went there with an intent to browse, but I ended up picking up a @foundersbrewing CBS for my buddy @itsmeitsbmd1085, a Barrel-Aged TenFidy from @oskarnblues and, at the recommendation of the PCBD guy, the Bakery by @thebruery. Best recommendation ever! . The Bakery is an imperial stout aged bourbon barrels with coconut and natural vanilla flavor added. Bruery founder Scott Rue told @thefullpint 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! . ABV: 13.0%, IBU: N/A, Available year-round . @untappd says: 4.13/5

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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!

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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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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!

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!

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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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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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