Bourbon County Brand Stout: Do You Collect or Criticize?


NOTE: This blog was originally published on Nov. 25, 2017. This year, we'll be spending less time going out to pick up any BCBS and variants, being that most of the variants won't be hitting our state due to the ABV being higher than 15 percent. We plan on making one stop this year – but won't tell you where, because we don't want to diminish our chances of picking up a few bottles this year. For now, you can read on how we felt about the BCBS love it or hate it phenomenon that happens every year.

It’s funny to see how people react in the beer world, at least here in North Carolina, when Black Friday rolls around.

It's the annual release of Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout and its variants.

You have some craft beer loyalists who will drop some form of an F Bomb saying how InBev owns Goose Island and they’d rather spend their money on something else … until they’re at their next bottle share when a bottle of Coffee Stout or Proprietor’s pops open. … but you didn’t buy it, right?

Related Story: Bottle Shares: The Do's. The Do Not's. And when do you consider yourself an alcoholic?

I prefer buying locally from my state, with so many great breweries from the mountains to the coast, but I still collect beers from all over the U.S. And that’s what I do with BCBS on the day after Thanksgiving. 

You have some that set their day on who is getting the beer first and scoping out Total Wine distances. Total Wine at 8 a.m. Bottle Rev at 9 a.m. Another Total Wine at 10 a.m. BottleMixx at 11 a.m. Greenway at 3 p.m. Hop Yard at 5 p.m. And so on, and so forth. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’m just too old to be hunting down beer.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not a fan of InBev and its practices, and I was one that voiced some opinions on the collard green stank of the Wicked Weed buyout earlier this year. But I didn’t let that stop me from going out this past Friday to look for a beer that I enjoy drinking.

My only alert came around 10:30 a.m. as I was at our local grocery store, and a friend text me. “Are you at home? Total Wine off Capital has around 6 cases of BCBS.” Since I was 5 miles away I thought to myself – why not go get a few? By the time I showed up, the 6 cases was down to 9 bottles. We picked up six.

I figured last years debacle with the tainted bottles filled with Lactobacillus acetotolerans was just that – a rare debacle. There were two ways to test that. One was to head to Greenway Beer & Wine, where owner Annette Henson had 2017’s BCBS on draft, as well as 2016 BCBS and the Northwoods Stout (with flavors of blueberry and almond). They all tasted good. And while I was there, she still had a few tickets left, so I picked up a ticket and purchased 4 more. The other was to crack open a bottle, which we did at the end of the night. No tainted beer this year.

So I’m good with 10 bottles – a couple bottles going to a friend who picked me up some of Mother Earth’s Silent Night variants and some Java BA Ten Fidy. I didn’t get any of the barleywine variants that were sold this year – but have no doubt I’ll be able to sample one sometime.

Dilly. Dilly!