Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout: Brings everyone together on Black Friday!

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

For most people across the USA, Black Friday means insane lines and shoppers violently jumping over each other to get that flat-screen TV, gaming system or the new cool toy on the cheap. However for the craft beer community the day after Thanksgiving means its time for the annual release of Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout. The hardcore beer geeks camp out in 30 degree weather for a chance to pick up Goose Island's Bourbon County Stout and the variants. This year, BCBS came in regular, coffee, barleywine, proprietor's, and vanilla which hasn't been released in four years. I am what one would classify as one of the hardcore beer geeks so I drove a few hours and camped out in hopes of obtaining BCBS.

I arrived a few hours early and felt a sense of out doormeness (yea I know it's not a word but it works) as I waited in the windy cold. Yes, my feet did kinda go numb a few times but nothing a car heater or propane heater can't fix right? Eventually other craft beer lovers showed up and with awesome beer and space heaters. Everyone was cool, laid back, super nice and before you knew it a bottle share broke out. At this point everyone started to bring out bottles of beers I've only dreamed about. Armed with my trusty snifter I drank my way through enough whales to make any geek beer jealous with envy. Getting a chance to chat it up with geek beers truly passionate about craft beer was awesome and definitely made for a special BCBS Black Friday release.
I won't sugar coat the event as yes there were mules (people in line simply to obtain more beer for other beer geeks trying to get around the beer limit) and a Nordstrom shopping joke was told by someone (this was later worked out and everyone is cool now).The bottle limit that started at a case each was cut down to 3, 4 packs due to the huge number of people that showed up (in the neighborhood of 300+ people). These things like any other Black Friday event are bound to happen but didn't affect things much and a great time was had overall. I have to admit the bottle share was just as fun as getting to pick up a few packs BCBS at the end of the day.

The event overall was a success and after all was said and done I came to the thought about the magnitude of the event. It was a great sight to see as I stood number 1 in line looking out into the sea of craft beer geeks there for the same reason as me. The thought of one beer bringing so many walks of life together is a beautiful thing. Just like sporting events craft beer can have a very diverse fan base that brings the 21+ to senior citizens out to enjoy a fine crafted brew with stories of their adventures hunting and drinking beers from all over the world.

The next time you're at a major whale (really rare hard to find beer) release take a few minutes and chat it up with your fellow craft beer drinker you never know what you may have in common, what beer they might have to share ,tell you about or trade. I've been all over enjoying craft beer and have run into some great beer geeks and experienced some great moments such as receiving a bottle of Cigar City's Hunahpu (Thank you again Gus you rock!!!) What I'm getting at is certainly enjoy the great beer but also enjoy the moment as well because beer was created for enjoyment right, so remember to have fun. As always you can catch me on Beer Advocate and Ratebeer under name Ohiobeer29 or on twitter at @ohiobeer29, or here on HomebrewTalk as Ohiobeer29, to trade beer stories, reviews and thoughts on the next great beer to look out for.
I decided a couple of years ago to no longer chase and wait... if I find it later, I find it...
I do this and was found around 13th in a 90 minute line for Boulevard's Crown Town Ale about a week ago. This was a very limited release brewed by Boulevard (KC) for the Royals making it to the World Series this year. Struck up a conversation with a guy 2 people in front of me and we now have a new source for farm fresh eggs.
BCS had no line but my local bottle shop only got in TWO cases so limits were 2 bottles pp. I had SWMBO go in and get 2 bottles once I got back to the car so only ended up with a single 4 pack.
Before you know it the KBS line will be here!
Hype machine has taken control. The "whale" is no such thing, just another bourbon barrel stout. A company releases an outrageously priced beer and people line up before the store opens just to have a chance at getting some. Do you feel a little dirty after the whole thing? This guy on the tube "don't drink beers" explains it better than I can.
I agree with the 3 dudes above me, 100% hype. I've had BCBS a few times and it was good, but is it 'wake up at 2am to be able to get the best deal' good? Absolutely not. As for 'whales', this is the reason people find the craft beer world so annoying and abrasive. You are waiting in line for a beer that you can seriously get at BevMo the night it's released., as fun as it is to wait at Ramirez Liquor at 2 or 3 in the morning in East LA. I understand that there are flavors that you can't get anywhere else, but man it's just not worth it for what amounts to bragging rights.

Also, is it just me or is this a pretty pointless article. I mean it's a nice story all, but the story is: got up early on Black Friday, waited in line for hours, met some people, got beers, FIN. Am I missing the point of the article?
Wow there seems to be a lot of haters posting on here for some reason. Not sure why you all deem it even worth your comment if all you have to say is negative feedback towards OP. I was in the line mentioned in the article, and I fully agree that the bottle share and meeting other great people was just as exciting as actually buying the beer we were all there for. For some reason I always thought the HBT community was an exception to what some other sites are becoming in terms of beer community, clearly I am wrong.
BrewerJack - the point of the article is to share a story. Its weird you seem to be taking offense to someone sharing a story, i.e. being SOCIAL on a SOCIAL network.
If you don't like the beer, that's fine. Not sure why its necessary to blast beer that other people love. I certainly don't go out there and put down beers that I don't like, or that I don't covet as much as other people do.
I just feel cheated because I thought the article was going to be about Snoop Dogg endorsing Goose Island. You have to admit there is an uncanny resemblance.
@Roadie Crown Town wasn't an extremely limited release. Most stores didn't set a limit and people were hoarding it by the case, alot of which wound up on CraigsList for people trying to cash in on it for $75-100 a bottle.
I stopped by that Kahn's location the previous night at 10:30 and found 3 people in line. Decided to go home, nap, eat, shower and came back to ~24 people at midnight. Was not worth it IMO. I find it annoying when people mule, hoard, and oversell on craigslist/beercellar with these releases. Went home and brewed a cherry vanilla porter. Events like this are what drives me further into homebrewing.
Nice article on an event. Would like to see more of a tie in to homebrewing given the name of the site and forum is "Homebrewtalk". Were homebrews shared? What were they? Recipes?
Sorry, but I can't get past GI being ABInBev. I spend lots of time in Chicago, but unless I can't avoid it at a bar that has only macros, I try not to support megabrewers.
I have been a positive part of many great beer sharing experiences, at micros and nanos all over the country. Beer lovers are pretty cool folks. But the tactics of ABInBev are deplorable and I prefer to not have my $$$ go that way.