[Day 1] Goose Island Bourbon County Stout

Yeah. You guessed it. MY FAVORITE BEER IN THE WORLD.

Considering this whole 12 Beers of Christmas thing is supposed to be about holiday and winter beers, I’m feeling pretty lucky that my favorite beer on earth just happens to be a winter release. It makes writing this “Day 1” post so much better.

Some of you may remember when I wrote about this beer last year. Even then I couldn’t begin to tell you how amazing it was, and I hadn’t even had it in over two years. In addition, I couldn’t find it in Seattle and was super bummed about it.

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Goose Island‘s Bourbon County Stout is the epitome of the bourbon barrel-aged beer. At nearly 15% abv, it might even kill you, but that’s ok because I swear it will be worth it.

And this year, I actually get to drink it again.

SOMUCHEXCITEMENTICAN’THANDLEIT!!!!

There is a bottle shop in West Seattle (The Beer Junction), and I have sort of made friends with the owner. Every year since I moved to Seattle I have asked him if he was going to get any Bourbon County. And every year he has regrettably told me no.

Until now.

This year, it happened.

Bourbon County was released in Seattle.

I almost died.

The best part of this story is that they got so few bottles that they didn’t even announce it on their Facebook page, which is where I had been looking. So when I went in on Monday and they didn’t have it, the guy told me to check back Tuesday or Wednesday because that was delivery day.

But I couldn’t go until Thursday. And it was gone. OH NOES!!!!

But then, like a beer angel, the guy behind the register comes around to the front holding a single 12oz bottle of Bourbon County Stout and presents it to me. He had put it behind the register just for me, knowing that I would be devastated if I didn’t get one. It was the last bottle for sale, he said.

I LOVE BEER PEOPLE THEY ARE AMAZING.

It’s kind of funny that I’m writing this post now, seeing as I haven’t even drunk my bottle of BCS yet. But I will. And you can be sure I will tell you all about it. For now, I will simply say the following:

This beer has singlehandedly made me feel joy, sadness, excitement, and depression. It has made me feel warm and fuzzy and wonderful inside, and has brought friends together in an effort to consume a 22oz bottle. It is the most wonderful beer in the world, released only at the most wonderful time of the year.

So, dear friends, Merry Christmas to you all. Find some friends and enjoy your favorite brew this holiday season. And fear not, when I get back to Seattle I will drink my Bourbon County and let you know all about the ecstasy that is barrel-aged beer.

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[Day 4] Fremont Brewing Bourbon Abominable

This post goes out to all the other bourbon barrel-aged brews out there. Way to go, bourbon. You’ve done well.

I would like to commend all bourbon barrel-aged beers for doing something super awesome. Barrel-aged beers are amazing, and bourbon is amazing, and together you are making beautiful magic.

BUT.

Fremont Brewing has got something on all of you. And no, it’s not that their beer is the best one out there (but it’s really, really good, don’t get me wrong). It’s that their barrel-aged beer comes out at the same time of year as the non-barrel-aged version (same beer) so you can try them side by side. And that is SO COOL.image[4]

Abominable Ale is Fremont Brewing’s annual winter release. It’s quite delicious. This is one of those truly hearty winter ales, the kind of beer where one of them is pretty much all you want. It’s rich, it’s thick, it’s creamy and roasty and malty and chocolatey. And ringing in around 8% abv, it’s a doozy.

But that is NOTHING compared to the barrel-aged version. Fremont Bourbon Abominable (affectionately referred to as B-Bomb) is like a punch in the face, but in the most positive way possible. It’s like you want to be punched in the face. But only by this beer. Because it feels so gooood.

Of course, like any barrel-aged beer, each vintage is slightly different depending on the barrels used, how long it’s aged, temperature, etc etc. But generally speaking, this beer is one of the best barrel-aged brews out there. (It has an overall rating of 98 on Beer Advocate. That is not easy to do.)

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I want to describe it to you, but I’m not sure I can. It’s so amazing. They’re taking an already-awesome beer (Abominable) and making it even more awesome by infusing it with bourbon flavor. It’s really rich, super creamy, very strong, warming, intense, sweet, flavorful, hearty. My god. On top of that, it’s like 11% abv, so you get really drunk and feel super warm and fuzzy inside when you drink it.

So, you should probably just drink it. They sell it all over the country now, as far as I’ve heard. So if you ever see a bottle shop with some strange 22oz bottles from Seattle, check it out. I swear it’s worth it.

Belgianfest 2013 (i.e. let’s get sloshed at 3pm)

I promised I would write about this, and so I shall. BELGIANFEST. Dear god. What an afternoon. (I say this in the most positive way possible. I will also warn you that I got incredibly drunk, so I neither have pictures nor am I certain any of this actually happened.)

Belgianfest, as the name probably suggests, is a Belgian-style beer festival. Emphasis on “style” there, because all of the breweries are from the Pacific Northwest. So there wasn’t any actual Belgian beer.

BUT IT WAS DELICIOUS.

The thing I love about this whole “style” business is that, as an American brewery, you can take whatever ingredients/aspects are necessary to that style and use them as you’re supposed to, but then you can do all kinds of other crazy shit!

For example, there was this one beer aged in Cabernet barrels?? I couldn’t figure out if it was wine or beer. And then there was this sour one with elderberries in it. I mean, maybe you can find this stuff in Belgium, but I’m perfectly happy to stay at home and drink it here. Because, as I mentioned previously, it’s freaking DELICIOUS. (Best beer of the day was a bourbon barrel-aged beer, which is no surprise given that my favorite beer in the world is this one.)

In addition to drinking, there was a lot of interesting people-watching that happened. We got accosted (multiple times, in fact) by an enormous (like, at least 6’6″) beer enthusiast, who at the end of the tasting session slurred heavily in our direction that “I’ll buy you drinks if that beer over there isn’t the best one here. Call me a liar.” (Side note: his also-enormous girlfriend also commented on the colors of my shirt waaaaay too enthusiastically.)

And then there was the PRETZEL SWEATER:

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I have yet to decide if this is completely ridiculous or completely INGENIOUS. Like, I’m sure she was never hungry. And we were drinking 45 ounces of 8%+ abv beers. So I guess it’s sort of brilliant, in a totally weird way.

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’d do it again. I think I might need to get there earlier next time, as I was unable to finish my 10 tasters before they shoved us out the door. But to be fair, I was really drunk at 4pm so I probably didn’t need to drink any more anyway.

Ah, day drinking. Livin’ the life.

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[Next time, on Christina’s drinking adventures: FREE WINE TASTINGS???]