Thursday, November 13, 2008

Big Beer Night

Beer(s) of the night: Surly Darkness (2008) and Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (2007)

So I was seriously jonesin' for some Surly Darkness tonight and I discovered that my local craft beer bar, The Blue Nile, still has plenty to go around. Mark and I headed down there around 11:00, only to find out that it is Reggae night at the bar. Thankfully Al told the bouncers to waive the cover for us.

As loud as it was, Mark managed to regale me with tales about his recent trip to New York City. About halfway through our first pour, we looked around the bar and noticed that we were the only ones, out of roughly 100 people, to be drinking this most amazing beer. "Hell... more for us" we said.

Thankfully, Al still has plenty of kegs of Darkness tucked away so that we will imbibe on it's luscious nectar for the weeks to come.

All of this imperial stout talk got me to thinking... it's time I revisit one of my absolute favorites: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Sure... it's $20 for a 4pk of 12oz bottles, but the flavor experience is like no other. At 13%, it's the perfect nightcap, and as the brewer says "...I have yet to try a cigar that can stand up to it."

The nose presents massive aromas of dark, thick milk chocolate, toasted vanilla bean and loads of Bourbon Spice. It pours out of the bottle the consistency of 10W-30 motor oil, and black as the darkest moonless night. The body is thick and creamy, but is far from sticky or cloying. Initially on the tongue vanilla and bittersweet chocolate notes arrive. Along the way, notes of bourbon, smoke, charred oak and spice are found. The beer finishes remarkably smooth with a pleasant alcohol warmth that reminds you that it's a 13% beer you're drinking.

This is an absolutely massive beer that takes some time and thought, but is an amazing joy from start to finish.

The 2008 vintage arrives at Zipps tomorrow... and if you ask nicely, we may have some 2007 squirreled away as well.


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