It's that time of the year again, when Black Friday deals bleed into Thanksgiving and beer nerds from all over flock to Binny's Lincoln Park to try to get their hands on whatever bottles of Goose Island's Bourbon County Brand Stout they can. We caught up with Goose Island brewer Emily Kosmal—who came up with the winning combination for this year's Proprietor's variety—to try this year's lineup of rare brews, hear about her idea for this year's Proprietor's variant and get the lowdown on Black Friday.
If we had to pick a favorite from this year's lineup at first sip, we're probably going with Coffee Stout, made with Intelligentsia's Flecha Roja, that has a fruitiness we're super into. It ends deeper with nutty notes, making us think that this is one that even people who don't love coffee stouts will love.
We'd quickly follow that favorite with this year's Proprietor's. "I wanted to kind of stick to the flavors that are already in Bourbon County; and when I drink Bourbon County, it kind of reminds me of a cigar, cigar smoking, it's wintertime—it's cold. I want something that's warm. Something that warms my whole body," Kosmal says. "So the flavors that I chose—dark chocolate, chipotle—chocolate is very velvety, smokiness coming from the chipotle, a little bit of heat too, a smoke burn. I didn't want to throw anything that's completely out of left field, I wanted to enhance what's already naturally coming from the malt and the barrel."
Don't let the pepper flavor fool you, this is different from last year's variant by Di Rodriguez. "It's a different pepper than last year's, this year is chipotle, last year was guajillo. This year's is a little more smoky. A little more heat. Last year's wasn't looking for heat, more flavor," Kosmal said.
Original and Barleywine round out the pack, with original being an always-solid imperial stout with lots of smoke on the nose, a heavy body filled with a big chocolate taste. The Barleywine is nice and sweet with a lot of heat from the bourbon barrel. You can get your hands on a few tastes of vintage variants and 2016 variants this Wednesday to help you make up your mind:
- - Timothy O'Toole's at 5pm with vintage variants
- - Beer Bistro at 7pm with 2016 Proprietor's, Coffee, Barleywine and other vintages
- - Sheffield's at 7pm with 2016 Proprietor's, Coffee, Barleywine and other vintages
While all Chicagoland locations will have the full allotment of BCBS—two bottles of Bourbon County Brand Stout (the original variety) and one 16.9 ounce bottle of Barleywine, Coffee Stout and Proprietor's—available, the Lincoln Park store (1720 N Marcey St) will have the largest inventory and biggest celebration. Festivities start at 9am with swag bags for the first 200 people in line and mini breakfast burritos for the first 500. Intelligentsia will serve the same coffee found in this year's Coffee variant and Babycakes Gourmet food truck will serve fresh pancakes with barrel-aged maple syrup starting at 7am (yes, that early).
Other Binny's locations will not be handing out tickets, instead BCBS is available on a first come, first served basis.
Binny's will also have BCBS-branded snifters (Spiegelau, for the true glassware nerds) available for sale at all locations. Vintage bottles will also be available for sale—but no pricing details have been released about that as of now (more details on last year's release here). This year's vintage bottles will be available at the Lincoln Park location for those with a ticket. Ticketholders will get the chance to buy one 22 or 16.9 ounce bottle or two 12 ounce bottles of their choice. Check out the list of vintages:
- 2012 Bourbon County Brand Stout—12 ounces
- 2013 Bourbon County Brand Stout—12 ounces
- 2013 Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale—12 ounces
- 2013 Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout—12 ounces
- 2014 Bourbon County Brand Barleywine Ale—12 ounces
- 2014 Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout—12 ounces
- 2014 Bourbon County Brand Stout Proprietor's—22 ounces
- 2014 Bourbon County Brand Stout Vanilla Rye—22 ounces
- 2015 Bourbon County Brand Stout Regal Rye—16.9 ounces
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