Over the years the Bourbon County line from Goose Island has been no stranger to the reviewers here at Tenemu. Over the last six years we have reviewed 13 different variants of the famous Bourbon County line and today I am going to make it 14. I am well aware of the history and the stigma surrounding Goose Island and the sale to Anheuser-Busch InBev, but for the sake of today’s review, I am going to put all of that aside and focus on what is inside the bottle. For me personally, some of the early BCBS releases were some of my favorites at the time but it has been a while since I have picked up a BCBS bottle.
Today’s review is the County Fog variant which is the classic Bourbon County Brand Stout recipe with Earl Grey tea, black tea as well as clover honey additions. It is a nod to London Fog the classic tea that is served with a frothy milk and vanilla syrup.
This was one of seven BCBS variants released this year:
- Bourbon County Stout 2020
- Bourbon County Kentucky Fog Stout 2020
- Bourbon County Special #4 Stout 2020
- Bourbon County Caramella Wheatwine Ale 2020
- Proprietor’s Bourbon County Stout 2020
- Birthday Bourbon County Stout 2020
- Anniversary Bourbon County Stout 2020
The beer pours somewhere between the darkest brown and black with a frothy chocolate milk colored made up of a sea of tiny bubbles. The head retention is impressive considering the style as it sticks around for a couple of minutes fading to a halo that lasts the length of the pour. The first thing that jumps out at me on the aroma is milk chocolate and honey. As I dive deeper the bourbon barrel comes through in the form of oak and vanilla. I am not a big tea drinker so I am guessing that led to me picking out the more traditional stout aromas first but the tea is there if you look for it. Overall, the aroma comes off sweet with an almost marshmallow-like quality.
The mouthfeel on the first sip is surprisingly creamy and soft and the carbonation is reminiscent of a nitro beer but with a nice prickle of CO2. The sweet character I get on the nose is foreshadowing what is to come in the taste. Honey is highly fermentable, but it is still very noticeable on the flavor as I take my first sip. I get a lot of the classic BCBS notes I would expect, but the beer takes a bit of a left turn when the tea shows up. Again let me reiterate that I am not a normal tea drinker but it is a unique flavor that hits me with a bang. As I try to pick apart and analyze the components I get hints of orange peel, anise and an herbal note. The finish is more sticky honey and tea that lingers for a while. The alcohol is pretty well hidden considering it is 14.1 percent ABV but it is there after the sip to help dry out the finish a bit.