Daylight saving time is right here, its unwelcome baggage full of 5 p.m. sunsets and a possible gross sales pitch for breweries. Darkish days deserve darkish beers. It’s advertising and marketing magic for imperial stouts, these boozy heavyweights swinging haymakers stuffed with espresso and cocoa, decadent sips for cranking our inside thermostats. And fall’s most ballyhooed bruisers are Goose Island’s Bourbon County stouts, an annual custom that dates again to the early ’90s.

Again then, Goose Island flouted conference by getting older an imperial stout in freshly emptied bourbon barrels. The spirited method was groundbreaking then, however right now it’s well-trod floor. Bourbon barrel–aged stouts are bought by breweries small and massive, making it robust to face out within the boozy darkness.

Goose Island is making an attempt exhausting to distinguish in 2020. The corporate’s slate of Bourbon County variants numbers seven deep, beginning with the flagship. It’s seasoned in assorted bourbon barrels from Wild Turkey, Buffalo Hint, and Heaven Hill, a fudgy vanilla deal with.

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It’s strong stuff, wealthy and scrumptious in all of the anticipated metrics. However that’s desk stakes for this class of beers. Breweries should constantly up the ante, be it in rarity or taste, to draw consideration and bank cards. Goose Island caters to the pay-any-price collector set with varieties aged in barrels that contained Outdated Forester Birthday and W.L. Weller bourbons, two of right now’s extra sought-after manufacturers. However, the Proprietor’s launch is impressed by spumoni and tastes like Maraschino cherries and the promise of future cavities.

My style buds are biased, although. I care neither for sweetness nor the cinnamon, caramel, and apple flavors of the wheat wine known as Caramella. I do love espresso, mainlining chilly brew and cortados all morning, priming me for Particular #4 and its injection of Intelligentsia Espresso and maple syrup. It was fairly good, but additionally fairly by the guide. Espresso. Beer. It’s a match made in our anticipated concept of heaven.

As a substitute, I’d want to endlessly meander via the marvelous miasma of Kentucky Fog. It seeks taste inspiration contained in the London Fog, an Earl Gray–infused latté bought at Starbucks. The bourbon-barreled stout is mixed with clover honey and Earl Gray and black teas. There’s a sweetly floral perfume, shiny with lemon and grapefruits and balanced by honey, a strapping stout that drinks nimble and stylish, a sumo wrestler with the flexibility to powerlift and pirouette.

Kentucky Fog is the dreamiest stout I’ve sipped all 12 months, proof that darkness may be mild and pleasant. This variant will go well with everybody to a tea.

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