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Weekend Beer Buzz 11/25/2015

Happy Thanksgiving! Family, Friends, Football, Food, and don’t forget the Beer. There’s a large number of great events this week. From special tappings including BCBS and Russian River, to new bottle releases from Crooked Stave, Casey and TRVE and so much more.

Don’t forget to check this week’s Beer Hunter’s Report before heading out to get your shopping done. We realize there’s some major releases this week, but please be cool to each other. Some of the things we hear out in the field and the way people treat each other over a bottle of beer is sad. That said, there’s plenty of great people in our community paying it forward every day and we salute you guys (and gals too). The good far outnumber the bad and that’s why we enjoy putting our articles and coverage together for you every week. Thank you for that.

Lastly, there’s a lot of BCBS to go around this year. If you’re in the market, you shouldn’t have too much trouble tracking it down this weekend. We love it too, but don’t forget about the great things coming out from our local brewers. Station 26, Odd13, Comrade and Copper Kettle all have their own big barrel-aged stouts scheduled to release this weekend. Show them your support.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25rd, 2015

Falling Rock will tap 2014 Bourbon County Brand Stout, 2015 Bourbon County Brand Stout and 2015 Regal Rye Bourbon County Brand Stout on Wednesday at 5 PM. They’ll also have commemorative Goose Island glassware. Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO.

Crooked Stave will release Salvador Cybies on Wednesday evening. This is a brand new offering, described as a Dark Belgian Strong aged in Leopold Brothers Whiskey Barrels with Colorado Sour Cherries. This is a tap room only release, so don’t miss out.

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Find out more on this new release, along with next week’s Nightmare on Brett Sour Cherry release by clicking HERE. Crooked Stave at The Source is located at: 3350 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO.

  • Bourbon County Stout Tapping, Acorn, Denver, CO, 6:30 PM

Acorn will tap ’15 Bourbon County Brand Stout on Wednesday at 6:30 PM. They’ll also have ’15 Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout in bottles, along with Matilda and Sofie.

goose island bcbs

Acorn is located at The Source: 3350 Brighton Blvd, Denver, CO.

World of Beer will host the good people from Denver’s Call To Arms Brewing on Wednesday night. They’ll tap 10 beers at 6 PM. Look for Clintonian Pale Ale, Burkhalter Dunkelweizen, Gluten Powerful Belgian Wit, Amigos Borrachos Vienna Lager, Oats and Hose Oatmeal Porter, Freedom Fries Intercontinental Saison, Luntbier (Smoked Weissbier), Kiss From A Rose, Jarbonian Pilsner, and Beer Drinks You Baltic Porter. BOOM! This new brewery’s killing it right out of the gate and this a great chance to sample a variety of their beers all under one roof. World of Beer – Belmar is located at: 7260 W Alaska Dr, Lakewood, CO.

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

Declaration Brewing will tap “The Indentured Soul” American Barleywine on Thursday at 6 PM. This special Thanksgiving Day tapping is a big, bold, American-style Barleywine. Declaration Brewing is located at: 2030 S Cherokee St, Denver, CO.

Head to World of Beer’s Cherry Creek location and wrap up your Thanksgiving with some delicious Russian River brews. WoB will tap Pliny the Elder, Blind Pig, Damnation, Consecration and Temptation at 8 PM. Doors open at 6 PM. Tappings at 8 PM. World of Beer – Cherry Creek is located at: 660 S Colorado Blvd, Denver, CO.

Friday, November 27th, 2015

Skip the shopping and start the sampling on Friday as Parry’s Pizza Highlands Ranch will tap 7 Goose Island brews at 11 AM. This tasty lineup includes ’15 Bourbon County Brand Stout, ’15 Bourbon County Coffee, ’15 Bourbon County Barleywine, ’15 Bourbon County Regal Rye and more. As if that’s not enough, they’ll also release bottles of ’15 Bourbon County Rare! With only a handful of Rare cases coming to Colorado, this is an event you need to attend.

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Tick. Tick. Tick. Parry’s Highlands Ranch is located at: 9567 S University Blvd, Highlands Ranch, CO 80126.

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Collaboration Fest Announced – Tickets On Sale Today!

Tickets to the 3rd Annual Collaboration Fest will go on sale this morning at 10 AM. The event will return to Sports Authority Field on Saturday, March 19th, 2016 and will offer up more than 70 brand new, one-off brews, featuring two or more breweries.

This unique event is unlike any other beer fest thanks to the large amount of new beers being poured. There’s a large number of brewers in attendance, often enthusiastically sharing the stories behind the beers and giving some insight into why they brewed it and how they decided to work together.

A quick glance over this year’s lineup (see below) and you’ll notice it’s not only packed with local favorites like TRVE, Dry Dock, Ska and Avery, but also features some exciting guests from across the country, such as Three Floyds, Wicked Weed, Pizza Port, Fat Head’s, Dogfish Head, Stillwater, Evil Twin, Green Flash and more.

Another great event from the Colorado Brewers Guild and Imbibe. Snag your tickets today. Past Collaboration Fest coverage, including brew days and festival highlights, can be found HERE.

Collaboration Fest Returns For Its Third Year on March 19th 
Tickets on go sale November 24 to America’s most creative beer festival 

DENVER – Nov. 23, 2015 – Representing the most creative minds in the craft beer industry, the third annual Collaboration Fest will bring brewers from around the world together to brew one-time-only beers. Collaboration Fest will take place on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High (1701 Bryant St. Denver CO 80204), and serves as the official  kick-off to Colorado Craft Beer Week. 

“Each Collaboration beer is created as a fusion of two or more brewery personalities,” said PJ Hoberman of Imbibe Events. “The recipe formulation is then developed through multiple meetings and email chains. All parties then join forces to brew and put the final touches of the project together. The one thing in common between all of the Collaboration beers is that at least one CBG brewery is involved.” 

Imbibe Events and the Colorado Brewers Guild (CBG) hosted the first Collaboration Fest in March 2014. Collaboration gives brewers the opportunity to brew with people they respect, create a narrative behind the beer, and make a beer that they normally would not. Each beer is created with a unique background story, often illustrating the relationships between the brewers themselves. Leading up to the festival Imbibe and the CBG will be sharing these stories via multiple platforms. 


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Crooked Stave Announces Two New Bottle Releases

Crooked Stave’s about to release two great new beers, just in time for the holiday season. On Wednesday, November 25th, head over to The Source to snag your bottles of Salvador Cybies. This brand new release is a Dark Belgian Strong aged in Leopold Brothers Whiskey Barrels with Colorado Sour Cherries.

Come back on Wednesday, December 2nd to pick up bottles of Nightmare on Brett Sour Cherry. For this one, Crooked Stave took their biggest, baddest, boldest brew and added 3,000 lbs of Colorado Sour Cherries, resulting in a sweet, funky, fireside sipper.

Read on for more details and we’ll see you in line at The Source!

Crooked Stave Announces the Next Two Bottles Releases with a Never Before Released Barrel-aged Sour with Cherries

Denver, Colo. – November 23rd, 2015 – Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project announces it’s next two releases leading in to the month of December. Salvador Cybies – a brewery first time release, will be available in the taproom on November 25th starting at 5pm and Nightmare on Brett Sour Cherry which will be released in bottles on December 2nd at the Crooked Stave taproom starting at 5pm.

About the beers:

Salvador Cybies is our “Crooked Stave” take on a Dark Belgian Strong brewed in hommage of my Siberian Husky that I had through my 20’s.  A dear member of my family and our early brewing team, Cybies had many nicknames. Salvador Cybies being one of them, this version was aged in well used Leopold Brothers American Small Batch Whiskey barrels with Sour Cherries harvested from the Colorado western slope. Like man’s favorite companion, this beer is worth snuggling up to, maybe with the fire place lit and relaxing after a great day.

Nightmare on Brett Sour Cherry is this years first of a few fruited Dark sours to be released. Aged with over 3,000 lbs of Colorado sour cherries, this batch of Nightmare really strikes a balance of chocolatey roast coffee notes and cherry pie characteristics all wrapped into one giant sip. We really didn’t know what we would get when we aged our biggest sour beer with even more sour cherries, but the result was strikingly complex without too much acidity!

Make sure to check out our facebook page for more announcements and all the bottle releases still to come!


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By: Mark Robinson

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American Craft Beer Radio Kicks Off Holiday Season With Annual Holiday Beer Bash

The blustery winter weather may have reared its ugly head last week, luckily American Craft Beer Radio was there with the perfectly timed 3rd annual Holiday Beer Bash to kick off the holiday season.

This year’s installment was once again held at Wings Over the Rockies in the Lowry neighborhood, which has become a favorite venue among festival goers. (Look for Festivus there in just a few weeks!) Fighter jets, missiles, an X-Wing, and more, make for a fun backdrop at a beer festival. I know the 5-year-old in each of us was ecstatic!

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Dry Dock Brewing set the stage with an array of winter warmers from their Signature Series of Barrel-Aged beers. This was an excellent opportunity to taste the entire series side-by-side without the fuss of hunting down bottles all over town.

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The Double Coffee Porter variant somehow kept finding its way into our glass throughout the night. Chocolate covered coffee beans dipped in whiskey pretty much sums up that beer. Delish!

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For those who refuse to let summer go (that includes us), Coda Brewing was pouring their GABF medal winning Sleepyhead Passionfruit Kolsch. If you’re a passionfruit fiend, you have to go on the hunt and enjoy one on an unseasonably warm day. Such a crisp beer with a big-time passionfuit punch.

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Lost Highway Brewing was offering their Longest, Wickedest Wit which featured just the right combination of coriander spice, lemon esters and wheat taste in the finish. This was a fantastic example of the style, with everything in balance. It all makes sense that they’d hit a Belgian-style homerun bearing in mind their close association with the great Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe.

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Aside from the fun beers on display, the VIP portion of the fest included some tasty bites. A favorite of the night was the braised short rib from The Summit Steakhouse. Juicy and savory while falling apart in your mouth, it was safe to say that the extended cook time lead to it’s perfection.

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Wynkoop’s Day Of Darks Warms Up The Weekend

The seasons are changing, and with temperatures dipping below 20° for the first time this Fall, the Day of Darks at Wynkoop Brewing Co. couldn’t have come at a better time.

For four hours on Saturday afternoon, Wynkoop shut down their entire upstairs bar and pool hall to support men’s health. This year they aligned with Movember for their annual celebration of all dark beers, with dozens of Colorado breweries joining in on the fun!

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Wynkoop provided some delicious chocolate and dessert treats to pair with the beers and help cleanse thirsty palates.

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While all of the beers being offered were from the dark side, they spanned a variety of styles, from Hoppy to Sour, with an emphasis on Barrel-Aged. There were some really great beers from across the state. Here’s just a few highlights:

Loveland Aleworks had their outstanding Imperial Stout, pouring alongside a Bourbon Barrel-Aged version of the same beer.
Boggy Draw out of Sheridan was pouring Darth Vapor, an awesome Pumpkin Porter.
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TRVE never ceases to amaze. Owner Nick Nunns was pouring bottles of Winter Zephyr, and it is just a little piece of dark sour heaven. Or hell, if that’s your thing.
-Broomfield’s Wonderland Brewing poured their big, roasty Black IPA, weighing in at a hefty 8% ABV.
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Great Divide had a sneaky vertical of Hibernation. ’11, ’12, ’13, and ’15. Fun fact: Hibernation is GD’s longest running beer.

Read more »

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Cerebral Brewing Is Ready To Blow Your Mind

This weekend will be Denver’s first opportunity to get a taste of the delicious offerings from Cerebral Brewing. Nestled on the fringe of the City Park and Congress Park neighborhoods, Cerebral will be open 3-11pm on Friday, Noon-11pm on Saturday and Noon-10pm on Sunday.

Sean Buchan, Chris Washenberger and Dan McGuire are the masterminds behind the new brewery. Sean and Chris both have extensive home brewing experience, while Dan will offer his expertise on the business side.

Sean, a Physical Therapist, and Chris, a microbiologist, will spearhead the brewing operations. They plan to brew beers that will perfectly pair with the changing seasons. Think light, sessionable beers in the Summer and bold, roasty stouts in the Winter.

The space is bright and open, serving as a nice change of pace from the many dimly lit beer halls around town. There’s a patio in front that will likely be standing room only through the winter until our famed Denver patio weather returns next Spring. The bar area has clean lines and large shelves that are filled with books on history, skeletons modeling brew gear and some friendly house plants.

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There are four long tables, each highlighting a different ingredient in beer: water, grain, yeast, and hops. Samples of the ingredients are encapsulated in the tabletops with descriptions of how they’re used in the beer making process. It really is a welcoming environment.

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Cerebral is brewing on a 10 barrel system and this weekend, you’ll be able to try 6 of their beers on tap. I was able to preview 5 of them, with a Belgian-style Sessionable Saison set to be tapped soon.

Here’s the opening day beer lineup:

Muscle Memory – American Pale Ale – 4.2% ABV, 45 IBUs
Known Entities – English Brown Ale – 5.2% ABV, 30 IBUs
Rare Trait – American IPA – 5.2% ABV 60 IBU
Dark Galaxie – Oatmeal Milk Stout – 4.9% ABV 35 IBU
Germ Theory – Gose – 3.3% ABV 5 IBU

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Weekend Beer Buzz 11/19/2015

I have a funny feeling things are about to get nuts around town. I heard Christmas music on the way into work this morning, my phone’s blowing up with Bourbon County chatter and Black Friday’s only a week away, meaning holiday shoppers and Christmas lights are coming. There’s no escape. This could prove to be a very busy holiday season.

There’s plenty to talk about in beer land for the upcoming weekend. Anniversary parties, beer fests and another giant Beer Hunter’s Report highlight this week’s rundown. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Station 26 will tap Shiso Chinook on Thursday. Come out and enjoy a cold brew and food from Meatball. Station 26 Brewing Co. is located at: 7045 E 38th Ave, Denver, CO 80207.

We Love, Love, Love Chef & Brew. Get ready for a fun evening where local chefs are teamed up with local brewers to dish out some fun and delicious pairings. This year’s attending breweries include Great Divide, Elevation, Trinity, Crooked Stave, Comrade, Strange, Former Future and many more. They’ll be working alongside some of the area’s best chefs from restaurants like Acorn, The Rackhouse, Stoic & Genuine, Rebel, First Draft and others. Tickets start at $65. You won’t regret attending Chef & Brew, so grab your tickets and munch your way through the night. Last year’s coverage can be found HERE. EXDO Event Center is located at: 1399 35th St, Denver, CO.

Friday, November 20th, 2015

On Friday, Parry’s Pizza Castle Rock will host the 10th installment of their Liberate Yourself From Crappy Beer Fest. Beginning at 11 AM, look for Ballast Point – Dorado, Green Flash – Green Bullet, Coronado – Idiot IPA, Breckenridge – Barrel Aged 471 and maybe a few additional treats they’ve got hidden up their sleeve. Parry’s Castle Rock is located at: 5650 Allen Way, Castle Rock, CO 80108.

  • Menu Update, Comrade Brewing, Denver, CO, Noon

Comrade will tap Honeyman the Fifth: R&D IPA on Friday at Noon. Here’s the full menu for the weekend.

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Comrade Brewing is located at: 7667 E Iliff Ave, Suite F, Denver, CO 80231.

Spangalang will tap their GABF Gold Medal winning Table Beer on Friday. They’ll also release some new brews, including an American Stout, English Old Ale, and a Belgian Tripel brewed in collaboration with Revelation Cat and Birrificio Argo. Tapping at Noon, live music at 5:30 PM. Spangalang Brewery is located at: 2736 Welton St, Denver, CO.

Dry Dock will tap a Wassail Saison for this week’s Firkin Friday. This is their L’Escaut Saison with juices, spices and berries. Tapping set for Friday at 3 PM. Dry Dock Brewing is located at: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014. 303-400-5606.

Falling Rock will tap several special kegs from New Holland on Friday afternoon. Look for Dragon’s Milk, Reserve w/ Toasted Chilis, Reserve w/ Coffee and Chocolate, Reserve w/ Raspberry and Reserve Triple Mashed. Come by for a rare chance to try these beauties on tap. Falling Rock Tap House is located at: 1919 Blake St, Denver, CO.

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

Winter’s coming. Time to embrace those big stouts and hearty dark brews. Wynkoop’s here to help, with their annual Day of Darks beer festival. Enjoy dark beers from more than two dozen breweries, including Avery, Call to Arms, Fiction, Great Divide, Liquid Mechanics, Ratio, TRVE, host brewery Wynkoop and plenty more.

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Proceeds will go to Movember Foundation, benefiting men’s health. Chocolates and chocolate desserts will be available to pair with your unlimited samples. Tickets are $40. Wynkoop Brewing is located at: 1634 18th St, Denver, CO.

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goose island bcbs

Colorado Readies For Bourbon County Release

It’s that time of year again. Friends, Family, Feasts and Bourbon County Brand Stout (BCBS). On Friday, November 27th, Goose Island will launch the 2015 Bourbon County lineup both in bottles and kegs. This year’s Black Friday release will feature 6 different beers. In addition to the ever popular Bourbon County, we welcome back Bourbon County Coffee, and Barleywine. New to the mix this year are Regal Rye, a new version of Rare and a new blend of Proprietors.

But what will we see here in Colorado? AB’s told us that we’ll see 5 out of the 6 beers. (Sorry, but Proprietor’s is limited to Chicago as a thank you to Goose Island’s hometown fans.) Denver beer fans can go nuts and seek out all 5 beers. That’s right, we’ll see all variants around town. Up in Loveland, look for BCBS and Rare. Those down South towards Colorado Springs and up in select mountain resort towns should watch for Barleywine. Everyone else throughout the state should look for BCBS.

The line has been rebranded for 2015 and packaged in 16.9 oz (500 mL) bottles. 4-packs are a thing of the past. Each bottle will be sold individually, with a new label around the neck.

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Here’s a closer look at each beer.

Bourbon County Brand Stout (BCBS). 13.9% ABV. The classic Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout.

BI Tasting Notes – Very well done this year. Oak, chocolate, vanilla. I hope to drink a lot of ’15 BCBS.

Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout. 12.4% ABV. This year’s batch was brewed with Intelligentsia’s Nicaraguan “Los Delirios” coffee beans.

BI Tasting Notes – Oh man, this already looks like a personal favorite from the ’15 offerings. Bold, dark, roasted coffee notes all throughout. Breakfast beer.

Bourbon County Barleywine. 12.5% ABV. Now in its 3rd year, this English-style Barleywine is a blend of Barleywine aged in Bourbon Barrels and Barleywine aged in former BCBS barrels.

BI Tasting Notes – Seem to be missing my notes here, so I’ll share a few words from the Goose Island sell sheet. “The intricacies of the previous barrel denizens – oak, charcoal, hints of tobacco and vanilla, and that signature bourbon heat – are all present in this beer.”

Regal Rye Bourbon County Stout. 13% ABV. This is a completely new variant. The base beer was first aged in Heaven Hill and Jim Beam Rye Whiskey Barrels that were later blended together in a stainless steel tank and blended with fresh, tart Michigan cherries, Luxardo cocktail cherries and blackberry juice from Washington state. A dash of sea salt was added at the end.

BI Tasting Notes – After sipping on Rare and Coffee, this came off as a little odd at first, but ultimately proved to be a nice change of pace. It’s obviously very sweet, tart and fruit heavy at the moment. The sea salt is a bit hidden and should come out more as the beer warms, ultimately adding a subtle dryness to the beer. I’d love to revisit in 6-12 months as the fruit blends and smooths out a bit more.

Bourbon County Rare. 14.8% ABV. ’15 Rare spent 2 years aging in 35-year-old Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels. Heaven Hill Master Distiller Denny Potter said the barrels got lost in the mix of their inventory of more than 1 Million barrels. When they stumbled across the lost barrels 2 years ago, they were nearly empty and in bad shape. Goose Island was happy to nurse the barrels back to life and bring out the flavors locked away in the wood.

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BI Tasting Notes – Complex, yet dangerously smooth. Bourbon, chocolate, vanilla. Ready to drink now.

A limited amount of Rare will be coming to Colorado and despite the hefty price tag ($60+), we expect it to sell out quickly. Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to attend Rare Day at Goose Island’s Barrel House. Click HERE for more on our visit and a closer look at this unique and delicious beer.

Proprietor’s Bourbon County. 14% ABV. First launched in 2013, this Chicago-only release is a different beer every year. This time around the base BCBS went into Bourbon Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup Barrels. From there, it was blended with raw pecans and guajillo peppers.

BI Tasting Notes – While it doesn’t stack up to the inaugural ’13 release, which was loaded with toasted coconut and reminiscent of a Samoa cookie, the ’15 is still pretty darn delicious. Super sweet up front and could probably use some time to let the flavors meld together a bit more. The peppers are subtle and really only noticeable in the finish and as the beer warms. Hit up your midwest trading partner for one.

*Sadly, this will not be distributed outside of Chicago, IL.

So don’t freak out just yet. These beers are coming to Colorado and most stores plan to release their allocations on Friday, November 27th. We’re not in the habit of telling you specific stores, release times, bottle limits, etc. That’s on you. Beer is meant to be fun and part of that fun is being able to hunt down that beer on your own. To help put you at ease, our GI contact said Denver is “getting more of BCS this year than ever before and hosting numerous events throughout the cities Wednesday and Friday”.

If you’re seeking out BCBS on tap, look for special tappings at Parry’s Pizza – Highlands Ranch, Falling Rock Tap House, The Cheeky Monk and others.

It’s a wonderful time to be a beer drinker. Have fun and good luck!

By: Mark Robinson

beer hunter's report

Beer Hunter’s Report 11/18/2015

Every week, Scott puts his ear to the bottle, takes to the streets and seeks out all the new brews hitting the better bottle shops around town. You’ll find his Beer Hunter’s Report posted here every Wednesday. Any last-minute additions can be found in Thursday’s Weekend Beer Buzz.

  • The annual Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout Black Friday release will prove to be an excellent post-Thanksgiving event this year. Colorado is expected to get all the variants (except Prop). Some stores already know their allocations, and we expect details to be released soon. Look for details at your favorite liquor stores and beer bars soon! Here at Brewtally Insane, we believe in the thrill of the hunt, so we won’t be announcing details on when/where/how…just go hunting yo! Have fun and best of luck! In the meantime, click HERE to enjoy our Rare Day coverage and check back later this week when we announce details on this year’s BCBS variants.
  • Utopias 2015 hit last week and is most likely all gone by now (update: there’s still a few stragglers out there).
  • Avery Pump[KY]n also started to hit late last week, look for more this week.
  • Stone Xocoveza Mocha Stout is hitting now. Also, 4 Hands/Bale Breaker/Stone Sorry Not Sorry IPA is hitting now. Look for Enjoy By 12.25.15 and enjoy an almost-too-old IPA on Christmas day!
  • BA Yeti is hitting some stores.
  • Crooked Stave L’Brett d’Cherry is a delicious masterpiece that is also dropping hard.  Motif is also hitting.
  • Almanac Farmer’s Reserve Blueberry is back.
  • Prairie Christmas Bomb returns for the season.
  • Mikkeller Spontan Mango and Spontan Watermelon
  • Joseph James from Nevada is rumored to be hitting the state soon.
  • Dogfish Head Higher Math and Pennsylvania Tuxedo will hit someday.
  • Southern Tier Choklat?
  • Alpine Pure Hoppiness is supposed to hit nationwide, in 6-packs. wat.
  • Dry Dock Bligh’s Barleywine‘s glorious annual release is December 3! W00t!
  • Avery Vanilla Bean Stout releases from the brewery on December 13th! Yay!
  • La Cumbre is being rumored to come soon…details soon.

By: Scott Steigerwald

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Goose Island Introduces 2015 Bourbon County Lineup At Rare Day Event

Goose Island is just over a week away from launching their 2015 Bourbon County lineup. They’ll once again launch Bourbon County, along with all 5 of this year’s variants on the Friday after Thanksgiving, commonly referred to as Black Friday.

On Friday, November 13th, Goose Island gave a few lucky fans the opportunity to attend Rare Day, a unique event featuring bottle sales of the Rare variant, the chance to try more than a dozen different Bourbon County beers, live music and a few additional surprises, all set in Goose Island’s Barrel Warehouse in Chicago. Those looking to attend Rare Day had to enter a lottery that was open for a week in early-October. 700 winners were chosen from the nearly 75,000 entries. The lucky winners were able to purchase 2 tickets to one of two sessions for Rare Day.

The actual Rare Bourbon County variant spent 2 years aging in 35 year old Heaven Hill Bourbon barrels. Heaven Hill Master Distiller Denny Potter said the barrels got lost in the mix of their inventory of more than 1 Million barrels. When they stumbled across the lost barrels 2 years ago, they were nearly empty and in pretty rough shape. Goose Island was happy to nurse the barrels back to life and eager to bring out the flavors locked in the wood.

Our Rare Day began in line at Goose Island’s Taproom on Fulton St. The few hundred attendees gathered in a line that ran down the block and wrapped around the building.

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We patiently made our way to the entrance, checked in for our passes (pictured above) and were given the chance to purchase up to 3 bottles of Rare. The beer comes in a 16.9 oz bottle, packaged inside a wooden box and runs $60 / bottle. Despite the high price tag, we didn’t see anybody purchase anything less than the 3 bottle limit.

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Once we had our bottles secure, it was time to hop on the Goose bus for a short ride over to their Barrel House. Not normally open to the public, it was a rare glimpse inside the magical building. We walked in and were immediately greeted with a pour of Rare in a commemorative glass.

The Barrel House is massive. 130,000 sq ft of space to age and experiment. It’s a bit overwhelming. Fortunately, we had 3 hours to explore, taste and enjoy.

With presentations by Goose Island Brewer Jared Jankoski, Heaven Hill Master Distiller Denny Potter, live music by the Black Oil Brothers, food trucks and so much great beer to try, time seemed to fly by.

Here’s the beer lineup:

  • 2015 Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout
  • 2015 Bourbon County Brand Stout
  • 2015 Bourbon County Coffee Stout
  • 2015 Bourbon County Barleywine
  • 2015 Regal Rye Bourbon County Stout
  • 2015 Proprietors Bourbon County Stout
  • 2014 Bourbon County Brand Stout
  • 2014 Bourbon County Coffee Stout
  • 2014 Bourbon County Barleywine
  • 2014 Vanilla Rye Bourbon County Stout
  • 2014 Proprietors Bourbon County Stout

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Click below for a short video as we made our way into the warehouse.

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There was a mystery station that poured two different beers and continually changed as kegs ran out. This was a major highlight of the day, featuring some fun vintage tappings, including Cherry Rye, Baudoinia, Templeton Rye, Vanilla and others.

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2015 Rare (l, m), pictured with 2010 Rare (r).

Truly an amazing day. Many thanks to the Goose Island staff on pulling off such a fun and well run event. We loved every minute of it.

For those here in Colorado looking to pick up bottles of Bourbon County, your day is almost here. Black Friday is coming and we’re told all of this year’s Bourbon County and variants, with the exception of Proprietors (only released in Chicago), will be sold locally. If you’re looking to purchase bottles, good luck on your hunt. We’ll post more details later this week. If you’d rather sample, head to Parry’s Pizza for a special day of BCBS tappings, including the release of a few Rare bottles. Either way, you’re going to love this year’s release.


By: Mark Robinson

Photography: Patti Robinson

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