We are entering the season of Bourbon County Stout, when Goose Island Beer Co. brings their celebrated and iconic stout (in various disguises) to Los Angeles. Brewmaster Brett Porter was recently in Los Angeles to show off a couple of the beers in the BCS line-up before their major unveiling later this month.
Brew & You spent time with Porter and learned his rules for making Bourbon County Stout such a desired beer.
1. The Chicago Weather: The heat and cold of the Windy City work in concert to make the barrels expand and contract, exerting pressure on the liquid that helps it soak up more barrel character.
2. Barrel Quality: Goose Island primarily uses Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels and makes sure that those barrels are used at their peak efficiency.
3. Time: The beer stays put in the barrel for around a year to impart the maximum flavor
4. Base Beer: Porter thinks the Imperial Stout that goes into the barrels is a bit non-descript which allows for flavors to be added without diminishing the original beer flavor.
I also learned many other interesting factoids about Bourbon County:
• The first batch way back in 1992 was only two barrels and was only aged in barrels for 100 days. And no, no one lined up in advance to get any.
• The Coffee for the BCS-Coffee is brewed in the brewery and concentrated to double strength to deliver that coffee taste.
• Fans have driven from as far as New Hampshire and West Virginia to wait in line to purchase a bottle (or more).
• The boil for this beer lasts up to 4 1/2 hours compared to a typical 1 to 2 hours for other beers.
• Goose Island now has as many wine barrels as they do bourbon barrels.
• Vanilla BCS returns this year due to customer demand with a combination of Madagascar and Mexican vanilla.
Your Beer of the Week is expensive. I am not going to lie to you. Cascade Brewing from Portland, Oregon, is an acknowledged master of sour beers. Many a Los Angeles Craft Beer Fan has made the pilgrimage north to enter their House of Sours. Their 2014 Gose is a German wheat beer that is slightly soured and is then spiced with coriander and Sel Marin de Noirmoutier sea salt. Tart and spicy at the same time. It is a great Thanksgiving beer.
Now that the baseball is finally over, it is time to head to Staples Center for basketball and hockey. Your Homework this week is to check out the Goose Island Beer Co. presence on the main concourse near section 108. Just like the Clippers not being a laughingstock, the craft choices are no laughing matter now. Matilda, Sofie, Goose Island Honkers, Goose Island 312 Pale, Goose Island Urban Wheat, Goose Island IPA, Goose Island Rambler Red IPA (Seasonal) are all available. They will be pricier than outside the arena in the real world, but that Kobe Bryant contract ain’t gonna pay for itself.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.