Goose Island’s Bourbon County Brand Stout lineup hit shelves this fall with seven different expressions, including the return of the much-loved Coffee Stout, which has not been seen for five long years. At this point, I’m pretty sure you know how a coffee stout baby is born, but here’s some more backstory from Goose Island.
In 2010, we released the first-ever Bourbon County Stout variants and our Goose Island Bourbon County Coffee Stout has been a fan favorite ever since. For the first time since 2017, we brought back a coffee variant this year in partnership with our friends and neighbors Intelligentsia Coffee. Intelligentsia relies on Burundi for some of the cleanest, sweetest coffees in the world that ultimately complement the quality and tasting notes of Bourbon County Stout. The specific coffee blend combined with our Imperial Stout is called Turihamwe, which means “together”, and is a perfect tribute to all the hands that go into making it – from the female coffee farmers in Burundi that produced the blend, to our friends at Intelligentsia, the first brand we worked with on a variant back in 2010.
The beer pours a dark, almost reddish brown with a milk chocolate head. The aroma is more confection than coffee, with notes of nougat and chocolate syrup. The coffee component is well-roasted and slightly bitter, blending almost completely into the stout’s dark malt and baking chocolate profile. I’m torn between being impressed by the fusion of flavors but also wanting a more distinctly coffeelike character. The palate is rich and creamy with that big, classic Goose Island body that hugs the palate. The coffee is more evident on the palate but still uniquely well-integrated with an almost fruity sweetness to complement the more classic fudge and vanilla notes of the stout. The mid palate sees the biggest hit of coffee flavors, complete with the extracted acidity of a freshly pulled shot, but then transitions to a somewhat short finish with quickly fading notes of espresso, dark chocolate, and toasty malts. Despite the abbreviated conclusion, it’s still a winner.