Back in 1992, for the 1,000th batch of Goose Island beer, the brewer Greg Hall, wanted to create something unique, a one-off beer. What resulted was the brewery’s first bourbon barrel-aged stout.
“At the time, we thought we’d never make it again,” says Hall, who left Goose Island in 2011.
As it happens, Goose Island is still making bourbon barrel-aged stouts 30 years later. It all began at a fortuitous dinner that put Hall next to Booker Noe, the legendary master distiller and grandson of Jim Beam. That chance meeting spurred the idea to age Goose Island stout in a bourbon barrel.
Over the last 30 years, the release of new Goose Island Bourbon County stouts has become somewhat of a spectacle, with people camping out to be the first to buy it big. Each year, the pressure is undoubtedly on Goose Island to make something memorable—once again. In past years, they’ve made bourbon barrel-aged stout variants flavored with Earl Grey tea, chipotle chilis, and blueberry juice (just not together). One of 2021’s stouts brought to mind strawberry ice cream bars. When it comes to pushing what a bourbon barrel-aged stout can be, 2022 is no different.
“We think about Bourbon County Stout every day of the year, and I hope this year’s releases show that.” says Mike Siegel, senior innovation manager at Goose Island.
This year, Goose Island has seven new releases that celebrate 30 years of making bourbon barrel-aged stout and push the process in seven new ways. From old favorites to tropical flavors, here’s the list of 2022 Bourbon County stouts you need to get your hands on.
Goose Island Bourbon County Stout
Every year, Goose Island returns to the recipe for the first Bourbon County Stout from 1992. This year, the imperial stout is aged and blended from empty bourbon barrels used by Heaven Hill, Four Roses, Wild Turkey, and Buffalo Trace distilleries. Goose Island says you can expect flavors of vanilla, dark chocolate, toffee, molasses, almond, and dried fruit.
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