The Baltimore Sun’s Rob Kasper asks for people’s nominees for 2008 beer of the year, with Rob staying local and suggesting Clipper City Winter Storm, Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter and Brewer’s Art Resurrection. For me it’s Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout. Here’s how brewer Greg Hall describes it:
I really wanted to do something special for our 1000th batch at the original brewpub. Goose Island could have thrown a party. But we did something better. We brewed a beer. A really big batch of stout—so big, the malt was coming out of the top of the mash tun. After fermentation, we brought in some bourbon barrels that aged the stout. One hundred days later, Bourbon County Stout was born. A liquid as dark and dense as a black hole with thick foam the color of a bourbon barrel. The nose is an intense mix of charred oak, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and smoke. One sip has more flavor than your average case of beer. It overpowers anything in the room. People have even said it’s a great cigar beer. But I have yet to try a cigar that can stand up.
I haven’t tried it with a cigar, but it really is an amazing beer. It’s thick as tobacco spit (in a good way), with the bubbles just barely there at the edge of the glass. Incredible flavor and 13% abv. It won’t be available much longer, but if you love big, dark beers and can still find it on shelves it’s definitely worth checking out.
In other beer news, 2008 ended on a good note for those of us who lament the growing nanny state. The big brewery-funded Portman Group backed down from its allegations that Orkney Skull Splitter Ale sported a “violent” label and that BrewDog’s Punk IPA, Riptide, and Hop Rocker were also inappropriate. Skull Splitter’s an old favorite and Punk IPA’s a solid ale too, so I’m glad to see they fought back and preserved their brands.