Traditional recipes

There’s Still Time to Stock Up on 2017’s Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, And You Should

There’s Still Time to Stock Up on 2017’s Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, And You Should

For beer geeks, the day after Thanksgiving is a lot more than Black Friday; it’s the day when Chicago based Goose Island releases its Bourbon County Stout, one of the most prized brews produced by any American brewery. This year, the company released six varieties of its stout, a thing of cultish devotion for its legions of fans (a seventh, reserve barleywine, was produced but not released). And after trying a few of those expressions, we strongly advise you to seek as many of these out if you can, because supplies are starting to wear thin.

If you’re a BCS newbie, we suggest you start with the original barrel-aged stout. Available nationwide, this rich, dark, and dense beer has plenty of charred oak flavor from its time in an unrinsed bourbon barrel, along with lots of chocolate, vanilla, and caramel.

“You don’t need a whole lot of frills in order to make a standout stout, and the 2017 Original Bourbon County Brand Stout proves just that,” The Daily Meal’s resident beer aficionado (and Entertain Editor) Carolyn Menyes wrote after sampling it. “It pours a midnight oil black, leaving only a small trace of a light brown head. The flavors are just as smooth as the pour, with rich notes of dark chocolate and raisin, but don’t think it’s sweet; it finishes with just a hint of smoke to help balance out the richness. At over 14 percent, this is a sipping beer, but it’s a fine beer to savor as the nights get longer and colder.”

Three other varieties are available nationwide as well: coffee brand barrel aged stout, barleywine, and blueberry almond Northwoods stout. The coffee stout is brewed with a heavy dose of Black Cat Espresso from their friends at Intelligentsia Coffee, and it has a slightly lower alcohol content but plenty of flavor from the coffee. The barleywine is aged in second-use Kentucky bourbon barrels, contains 14.4 percent alcohol, and has notes of tobacco, vanilla, and some heat from the bourbon. The Northwoods stout is brewed with almond extract and blueberries, lending it a subtle blueberry flavor as well as hints of marzipan and chocolate.

We had the opportunity to sample two other Bourbon County Stouts: the Reserve Brand stout, available only in Chicago and Kentucky; and the bananas Foster-inspired Proprietor’s, only available in Chicago. The Reserve is aged in 11 year-old Knob Creek bourbon barrels, and it has many of the same flavor elements of the original stout, but with an added depth and complexity from the 11 year-old barrels (the other varieties are aged in 5 to 7 year-old barrels). There’s lot of deep, rich chocolate, vanilla, and caramel, and it’s truly spectacular. The Proprietor’s is brewed with banana, cinnamon, and almonds with the flavors of bananas Foster as an inspiration, and all of those elements definitely come through on the palate, giving it a slightly sweet nuttiness that makes it a perfect dessert beer.

2017’s Bourbon County Stouts are everything you hope they’ll be: big, bold, deep, dark, rich, and full of flavor. Stock up while supplies last, and share them with friends during the holiday season.


Consistency, Quality, Conspiracy

We hadn’t been following this story particularly but when Tom Cizauskas Tweeted about it, it caught our attention. First, it prompted us to think, ‘Huh… Isn’t the idea that when breweries get taken over by AB-InBev their quality control is meant to get better, their beer more consistent?’ (It’s a standard component of the ‘I’m glad about this take-over’ stance.)

In a sense, that is true: listening to the Good Beer Hunting podcast where Goose Island revealed their findings (this is kind of an advertorial but still informative and nicely done) it’s obvious that there is more money for laboratory work now than there might have been pre-takeover.

And it’s not as if these issues started with the AB-InBev takeover in 2011 — there were problems in 2010, too — but, still, it seems weird that this problem, and our own little run in with (pleasingly) infected Goose Island IPA, should have happened in the last couple of years, when everything ought to be running like a machine.

(BTW, we later heard from a pub manager in the UK who said he had an entire case of Brett-y Goose Island IPA and arranged, via a contact supplied by Michael Kiser at Good Beer Hunting, for him to despatch a bottle to the US for testing, but it never got sent. So you’ve only got our word on this one and we might be wrong.)

The discussion on Twitter prompted this suggestion from Sam Tierney, who is a brewer at Firestone Walker:

only way to eliminate the possibility wth BA beer is pasteurization. Likely they move in that direction now.

&mdash Sam Tierney (@intothebrew) May 27, 2016

(‘BA’ means barrel-aged in this context.)

There’s the seed of a conspiracy theory for those inclined to think that way: ‘False flag, man! Blame the bugs and bacteria to justify The New World Order! Wake up and smell the mind control drugs!’ (To be clear, we’re definitely not ascribing that view to always rational Mr Tierney.) Introduce a pragmatic solution to one problem and, before you know it, everything is pasteurised and filtered and thus, some would argue, neutered. That is, after all, basically what happened with British keg bitter from the 1950s to the 1970s, isn’t it?

Then, while we’re on conspiracy theories, another thought occurred to us: if you were a disgruntled brewery employee wouldn’t it be really easy to introduce bugs, bacteria and wild yeast to the process at various stages? How do you search a brewer for concealed bacteria on their way on and off the premises? Sniffer dogs? Decontamination chambers? And, as with the classic prawns in the radiator revenge, you could be long gone before your tampering ever became evident.

(One final bracketed disclaimer in a post that is mostly just bracketed disclaimers: we’re obviously not suggesting this has ever actually happened, and definitely not that we think it happened in this specific case, about which we have absolutely no knowledge beyond what we’ve read and heard in the pieces linked above.)


Consistency, Quality, Conspiracy

We hadn’t been following this story particularly but when Tom Cizauskas Tweeted about it, it caught our attention. First, it prompted us to think, ‘Huh… Isn’t the idea that when breweries get taken over by AB-InBev their quality control is meant to get better, their beer more consistent?’ (It’s a standard component of the ‘I’m glad about this take-over’ stance.)

In a sense, that is true: listening to the Good Beer Hunting podcast where Goose Island revealed their findings (this is kind of an advertorial but still informative and nicely done) it’s obvious that there is more money for laboratory work now than there might have been pre-takeover.

And it’s not as if these issues started with the AB-InBev takeover in 2011 — there were problems in 2010, too — but, still, it seems weird that this problem, and our own little run in with (pleasingly) infected Goose Island IPA, should have happened in the last couple of years, when everything ought to be running like a machine.

(BTW, we later heard from a pub manager in the UK who said he had an entire case of Brett-y Goose Island IPA and arranged, via a contact supplied by Michael Kiser at Good Beer Hunting, for him to despatch a bottle to the US for testing, but it never got sent. So you’ve only got our word on this one and we might be wrong.)

The discussion on Twitter prompted this suggestion from Sam Tierney, who is a brewer at Firestone Walker:

only way to eliminate the possibility wth BA beer is pasteurization. Likely they move in that direction now.

&mdash Sam Tierney (@intothebrew) May 27, 2016

(‘BA’ means barrel-aged in this context.)

There’s the seed of a conspiracy theory for those inclined to think that way: ‘False flag, man! Blame the bugs and bacteria to justify The New World Order! Wake up and smell the mind control drugs!’ (To be clear, we’re definitely not ascribing that view to always rational Mr Tierney.) Introduce a pragmatic solution to one problem and, before you know it, everything is pasteurised and filtered and thus, some would argue, neutered. That is, after all, basically what happened with British keg bitter from the 1950s to the 1970s, isn’t it?

Then, while we’re on conspiracy theories, another thought occurred to us: if you were a disgruntled brewery employee wouldn’t it be really easy to introduce bugs, bacteria and wild yeast to the process at various stages? How do you search a brewer for concealed bacteria on their way on and off the premises? Sniffer dogs? Decontamination chambers? And, as with the classic prawns in the radiator revenge, you could be long gone before your tampering ever became evident.

(One final bracketed disclaimer in a post that is mostly just bracketed disclaimers: we’re obviously not suggesting this has ever actually happened, and definitely not that we think it happened in this specific case, about which we have absolutely no knowledge beyond what we’ve read and heard in the pieces linked above.)


Consistency, Quality, Conspiracy

We hadn’t been following this story particularly but when Tom Cizauskas Tweeted about it, it caught our attention. First, it prompted us to think, ‘Huh… Isn’t the idea that when breweries get taken over by AB-InBev their quality control is meant to get better, their beer more consistent?’ (It’s a standard component of the ‘I’m glad about this take-over’ stance.)

In a sense, that is true: listening to the Good Beer Hunting podcast where Goose Island revealed their findings (this is kind of an advertorial but still informative and nicely done) it’s obvious that there is more money for laboratory work now than there might have been pre-takeover.

And it’s not as if these issues started with the AB-InBev takeover in 2011 — there were problems in 2010, too — but, still, it seems weird that this problem, and our own little run in with (pleasingly) infected Goose Island IPA, should have happened in the last couple of years, when everything ought to be running like a machine.

(BTW, we later heard from a pub manager in the UK who said he had an entire case of Brett-y Goose Island IPA and arranged, via a contact supplied by Michael Kiser at Good Beer Hunting, for him to despatch a bottle to the US for testing, but it never got sent. So you’ve only got our word on this one and we might be wrong.)

The discussion on Twitter prompted this suggestion from Sam Tierney, who is a brewer at Firestone Walker:

only way to eliminate the possibility wth BA beer is pasteurization. Likely they move in that direction now.

&mdash Sam Tierney (@intothebrew) May 27, 2016

(‘BA’ means barrel-aged in this context.)

There’s the seed of a conspiracy theory for those inclined to think that way: ‘False flag, man! Blame the bugs and bacteria to justify The New World Order! Wake up and smell the mind control drugs!’ (To be clear, we’re definitely not ascribing that view to always rational Mr Tierney.) Introduce a pragmatic solution to one problem and, before you know it, everything is pasteurised and filtered and thus, some would argue, neutered. That is, after all, basically what happened with British keg bitter from the 1950s to the 1970s, isn’t it?

Then, while we’re on conspiracy theories, another thought occurred to us: if you were a disgruntled brewery employee wouldn’t it be really easy to introduce bugs, bacteria and wild yeast to the process at various stages? How do you search a brewer for concealed bacteria on their way on and off the premises? Sniffer dogs? Decontamination chambers? And, as with the classic prawns in the radiator revenge, you could be long gone before your tampering ever became evident.

(One final bracketed disclaimer in a post that is mostly just bracketed disclaimers: we’re obviously not suggesting this has ever actually happened, and definitely not that we think it happened in this specific case, about which we have absolutely no knowledge beyond what we’ve read and heard in the pieces linked above.)


Consistency, Quality, Conspiracy

We hadn’t been following this story particularly but when Tom Cizauskas Tweeted about it, it caught our attention. First, it prompted us to think, ‘Huh… Isn’t the idea that when breweries get taken over by AB-InBev their quality control is meant to get better, their beer more consistent?’ (It’s a standard component of the ‘I’m glad about this take-over’ stance.)

In a sense, that is true: listening to the Good Beer Hunting podcast where Goose Island revealed their findings (this is kind of an advertorial but still informative and nicely done) it’s obvious that there is more money for laboratory work now than there might have been pre-takeover.

And it’s not as if these issues started with the AB-InBev takeover in 2011 — there were problems in 2010, too — but, still, it seems weird that this problem, and our own little run in with (pleasingly) infected Goose Island IPA, should have happened in the last couple of years, when everything ought to be running like a machine.

(BTW, we later heard from a pub manager in the UK who said he had an entire case of Brett-y Goose Island IPA and arranged, via a contact supplied by Michael Kiser at Good Beer Hunting, for him to despatch a bottle to the US for testing, but it never got sent. So you’ve only got our word on this one and we might be wrong.)

The discussion on Twitter prompted this suggestion from Sam Tierney, who is a brewer at Firestone Walker:

only way to eliminate the possibility wth BA beer is pasteurization. Likely they move in that direction now.

&mdash Sam Tierney (@intothebrew) May 27, 2016

(‘BA’ means barrel-aged in this context.)

There’s the seed of a conspiracy theory for those inclined to think that way: ‘False flag, man! Blame the bugs and bacteria to justify The New World Order! Wake up and smell the mind control drugs!’ (To be clear, we’re definitely not ascribing that view to always rational Mr Tierney.) Introduce a pragmatic solution to one problem and, before you know it, everything is pasteurised and filtered and thus, some would argue, neutered. That is, after all, basically what happened with British keg bitter from the 1950s to the 1970s, isn’t it?

Then, while we’re on conspiracy theories, another thought occurred to us: if you were a disgruntled brewery employee wouldn’t it be really easy to introduce bugs, bacteria and wild yeast to the process at various stages? How do you search a brewer for concealed bacteria on their way on and off the premises? Sniffer dogs? Decontamination chambers? And, as with the classic prawns in the radiator revenge, you could be long gone before your tampering ever became evident.

(One final bracketed disclaimer in a post that is mostly just bracketed disclaimers: we’re obviously not suggesting this has ever actually happened, and definitely not that we think it happened in this specific case, about which we have absolutely no knowledge beyond what we’ve read and heard in the pieces linked above.)


Consistency, Quality, Conspiracy

We hadn’t been following this story particularly but when Tom Cizauskas Tweeted about it, it caught our attention. First, it prompted us to think, ‘Huh… Isn’t the idea that when breweries get taken over by AB-InBev their quality control is meant to get better, their beer more consistent?’ (It’s a standard component of the ‘I’m glad about this take-over’ stance.)

In a sense, that is true: listening to the Good Beer Hunting podcast where Goose Island revealed their findings (this is kind of an advertorial but still informative and nicely done) it’s obvious that there is more money for laboratory work now than there might have been pre-takeover.

And it’s not as if these issues started with the AB-InBev takeover in 2011 — there were problems in 2010, too — but, still, it seems weird that this problem, and our own little run in with (pleasingly) infected Goose Island IPA, should have happened in the last couple of years, when everything ought to be running like a machine.

(BTW, we later heard from a pub manager in the UK who said he had an entire case of Brett-y Goose Island IPA and arranged, via a contact supplied by Michael Kiser at Good Beer Hunting, for him to despatch a bottle to the US for testing, but it never got sent. So you’ve only got our word on this one and we might be wrong.)

The discussion on Twitter prompted this suggestion from Sam Tierney, who is a brewer at Firestone Walker:

only way to eliminate the possibility wth BA beer is pasteurization. Likely they move in that direction now.

&mdash Sam Tierney (@intothebrew) May 27, 2016

(‘BA’ means barrel-aged in this context.)

There’s the seed of a conspiracy theory for those inclined to think that way: ‘False flag, man! Blame the bugs and bacteria to justify The New World Order! Wake up and smell the mind control drugs!’ (To be clear, we’re definitely not ascribing that view to always rational Mr Tierney.) Introduce a pragmatic solution to one problem and, before you know it, everything is pasteurised and filtered and thus, some would argue, neutered. That is, after all, basically what happened with British keg bitter from the 1950s to the 1970s, isn’t it?

Then, while we’re on conspiracy theories, another thought occurred to us: if you were a disgruntled brewery employee wouldn’t it be really easy to introduce bugs, bacteria and wild yeast to the process at various stages? How do you search a brewer for concealed bacteria on their way on and off the premises? Sniffer dogs? Decontamination chambers? And, as with the classic prawns in the radiator revenge, you could be long gone before your tampering ever became evident.

(One final bracketed disclaimer in a post that is mostly just bracketed disclaimers: we’re obviously not suggesting this has ever actually happened, and definitely not that we think it happened in this specific case, about which we have absolutely no knowledge beyond what we’ve read and heard in the pieces linked above.)


Consistency, Quality, Conspiracy

We hadn’t been following this story particularly but when Tom Cizauskas Tweeted about it, it caught our attention. First, it prompted us to think, ‘Huh… Isn’t the idea that when breweries get taken over by AB-InBev their quality control is meant to get better, their beer more consistent?’ (It’s a standard component of the ‘I’m glad about this take-over’ stance.)

In a sense, that is true: listening to the Good Beer Hunting podcast where Goose Island revealed their findings (this is kind of an advertorial but still informative and nicely done) it’s obvious that there is more money for laboratory work now than there might have been pre-takeover.

And it’s not as if these issues started with the AB-InBev takeover in 2011 — there were problems in 2010, too — but, still, it seems weird that this problem, and our own little run in with (pleasingly) infected Goose Island IPA, should have happened in the last couple of years, when everything ought to be running like a machine.

(BTW, we later heard from a pub manager in the UK who said he had an entire case of Brett-y Goose Island IPA and arranged, via a contact supplied by Michael Kiser at Good Beer Hunting, for him to despatch a bottle to the US for testing, but it never got sent. So you’ve only got our word on this one and we might be wrong.)

The discussion on Twitter prompted this suggestion from Sam Tierney, who is a brewer at Firestone Walker:

only way to eliminate the possibility wth BA beer is pasteurization. Likely they move in that direction now.

&mdash Sam Tierney (@intothebrew) May 27, 2016

(‘BA’ means barrel-aged in this context.)

There’s the seed of a conspiracy theory for those inclined to think that way: ‘False flag, man! Blame the bugs and bacteria to justify The New World Order! Wake up and smell the mind control drugs!’ (To be clear, we’re definitely not ascribing that view to always rational Mr Tierney.) Introduce a pragmatic solution to one problem and, before you know it, everything is pasteurised and filtered and thus, some would argue, neutered. That is, after all, basically what happened with British keg bitter from the 1950s to the 1970s, isn’t it?

Then, while we’re on conspiracy theories, another thought occurred to us: if you were a disgruntled brewery employee wouldn’t it be really easy to introduce bugs, bacteria and wild yeast to the process at various stages? How do you search a brewer for concealed bacteria on their way on and off the premises? Sniffer dogs? Decontamination chambers? And, as with the classic prawns in the radiator revenge, you could be long gone before your tampering ever became evident.

(One final bracketed disclaimer in a post that is mostly just bracketed disclaimers: we’re obviously not suggesting this has ever actually happened, and definitely not that we think it happened in this specific case, about which we have absolutely no knowledge beyond what we’ve read and heard in the pieces linked above.)


Consistency, Quality, Conspiracy

We hadn’t been following this story particularly but when Tom Cizauskas Tweeted about it, it caught our attention. First, it prompted us to think, ‘Huh… Isn’t the idea that when breweries get taken over by AB-InBev their quality control is meant to get better, their beer more consistent?’ (It’s a standard component of the ‘I’m glad about this take-over’ stance.)

In a sense, that is true: listening to the Good Beer Hunting podcast where Goose Island revealed their findings (this is kind of an advertorial but still informative and nicely done) it’s obvious that there is more money for laboratory work now than there might have been pre-takeover.

And it’s not as if these issues started with the AB-InBev takeover in 2011 — there were problems in 2010, too — but, still, it seems weird that this problem, and our own little run in with (pleasingly) infected Goose Island IPA, should have happened in the last couple of years, when everything ought to be running like a machine.

(BTW, we later heard from a pub manager in the UK who said he had an entire case of Brett-y Goose Island IPA and arranged, via a contact supplied by Michael Kiser at Good Beer Hunting, for him to despatch a bottle to the US for testing, but it never got sent. So you’ve only got our word on this one and we might be wrong.)

The discussion on Twitter prompted this suggestion from Sam Tierney, who is a brewer at Firestone Walker:

only way to eliminate the possibility wth BA beer is pasteurization. Likely they move in that direction now.

&mdash Sam Tierney (@intothebrew) May 27, 2016

(‘BA’ means barrel-aged in this context.)

There’s the seed of a conspiracy theory for those inclined to think that way: ‘False flag, man! Blame the bugs and bacteria to justify The New World Order! Wake up and smell the mind control drugs!’ (To be clear, we’re definitely not ascribing that view to always rational Mr Tierney.) Introduce a pragmatic solution to one problem and, before you know it, everything is pasteurised and filtered and thus, some would argue, neutered. That is, after all, basically what happened with British keg bitter from the 1950s to the 1970s, isn’t it?

Then, while we’re on conspiracy theories, another thought occurred to us: if you were a disgruntled brewery employee wouldn’t it be really easy to introduce bugs, bacteria and wild yeast to the process at various stages? How do you search a brewer for concealed bacteria on their way on and off the premises? Sniffer dogs? Decontamination chambers? And, as with the classic prawns in the radiator revenge, you could be long gone before your tampering ever became evident.

(One final bracketed disclaimer in a post that is mostly just bracketed disclaimers: we’re obviously not suggesting this has ever actually happened, and definitely not that we think it happened in this specific case, about which we have absolutely no knowledge beyond what we’ve read and heard in the pieces linked above.)


Consistency, Quality, Conspiracy

We hadn’t been following this story particularly but when Tom Cizauskas Tweeted about it, it caught our attention. First, it prompted us to think, ‘Huh… Isn’t the idea that when breweries get taken over by AB-InBev their quality control is meant to get better, their beer more consistent?’ (It’s a standard component of the ‘I’m glad about this take-over’ stance.)

In a sense, that is true: listening to the Good Beer Hunting podcast where Goose Island revealed their findings (this is kind of an advertorial but still informative and nicely done) it’s obvious that there is more money for laboratory work now than there might have been pre-takeover.

And it’s not as if these issues started with the AB-InBev takeover in 2011 — there were problems in 2010, too — but, still, it seems weird that this problem, and our own little run in with (pleasingly) infected Goose Island IPA, should have happened in the last couple of years, when everything ought to be running like a machine.

(BTW, we later heard from a pub manager in the UK who said he had an entire case of Brett-y Goose Island IPA and arranged, via a contact supplied by Michael Kiser at Good Beer Hunting, for him to despatch a bottle to the US for testing, but it never got sent. So you’ve only got our word on this one and we might be wrong.)

The discussion on Twitter prompted this suggestion from Sam Tierney, who is a brewer at Firestone Walker:

only way to eliminate the possibility wth BA beer is pasteurization. Likely they move in that direction now.

&mdash Sam Tierney (@intothebrew) May 27, 2016

(‘BA’ means barrel-aged in this context.)

There’s the seed of a conspiracy theory for those inclined to think that way: ‘False flag, man! Blame the bugs and bacteria to justify The New World Order! Wake up and smell the mind control drugs!’ (To be clear, we’re definitely not ascribing that view to always rational Mr Tierney.) Introduce a pragmatic solution to one problem and, before you know it, everything is pasteurised and filtered and thus, some would argue, neutered. That is, after all, basically what happened with British keg bitter from the 1950s to the 1970s, isn’t it?

Then, while we’re on conspiracy theories, another thought occurred to us: if you were a disgruntled brewery employee wouldn’t it be really easy to introduce bugs, bacteria and wild yeast to the process at various stages? How do you search a brewer for concealed bacteria on their way on and off the premises? Sniffer dogs? Decontamination chambers? And, as with the classic prawns in the radiator revenge, you could be long gone before your tampering ever became evident.

(One final bracketed disclaimer in a post that is mostly just bracketed disclaimers: we’re obviously not suggesting this has ever actually happened, and definitely not that we think it happened in this specific case, about which we have absolutely no knowledge beyond what we’ve read and heard in the pieces linked above.)


Consistency, Quality, Conspiracy

We hadn’t been following this story particularly but when Tom Cizauskas Tweeted about it, it caught our attention. First, it prompted us to think, ‘Huh… Isn’t the idea that when breweries get taken over by AB-InBev their quality control is meant to get better, their beer more consistent?’ (It’s a standard component of the ‘I’m glad about this take-over’ stance.)

In a sense, that is true: listening to the Good Beer Hunting podcast where Goose Island revealed their findings (this is kind of an advertorial but still informative and nicely done) it’s obvious that there is more money for laboratory work now than there might have been pre-takeover.

And it’s not as if these issues started with the AB-InBev takeover in 2011 — there were problems in 2010, too — but, still, it seems weird that this problem, and our own little run in with (pleasingly) infected Goose Island IPA, should have happened in the last couple of years, when everything ought to be running like a machine.

(BTW, we later heard from a pub manager in the UK who said he had an entire case of Brett-y Goose Island IPA and arranged, via a contact supplied by Michael Kiser at Good Beer Hunting, for him to despatch a bottle to the US for testing, but it never got sent. So you’ve only got our word on this one and we might be wrong.)

The discussion on Twitter prompted this suggestion from Sam Tierney, who is a brewer at Firestone Walker:

only way to eliminate the possibility wth BA beer is pasteurization. Likely they move in that direction now.

&mdash Sam Tierney (@intothebrew) May 27, 2016

(‘BA’ means barrel-aged in this context.)

There’s the seed of a conspiracy theory for those inclined to think that way: ‘False flag, man! Blame the bugs and bacteria to justify The New World Order! Wake up and smell the mind control drugs!’ (To be clear, we’re definitely not ascribing that view to always rational Mr Tierney.) Introduce a pragmatic solution to one problem and, before you know it, everything is pasteurised and filtered and thus, some would argue, neutered. That is, after all, basically what happened with British keg bitter from the 1950s to the 1970s, isn’t it?

Then, while we’re on conspiracy theories, another thought occurred to us: if you were a disgruntled brewery employee wouldn’t it be really easy to introduce bugs, bacteria and wild yeast to the process at various stages? How do you search a brewer for concealed bacteria on their way on and off the premises? Sniffer dogs? Decontamination chambers? And, as with the classic prawns in the radiator revenge, you could be long gone before your tampering ever became evident.

(One final bracketed disclaimer in a post that is mostly just bracketed disclaimers: we’re obviously not suggesting this has ever actually happened, and definitely not that we think it happened in this specific case, about which we have absolutely no knowledge beyond what we’ve read and heard in the pieces linked above.)


Consistency, Quality, Conspiracy

We hadn’t been following this story particularly but when Tom Cizauskas Tweeted about it, it caught our attention. First, it prompted us to think, ‘Huh… Isn’t the idea that when breweries get taken over by AB-InBev their quality control is meant to get better, their beer more consistent?’ (It’s a standard component of the ‘I’m glad about this take-over’ stance.)

In a sense, that is true: listening to the Good Beer Hunting podcast where Goose Island revealed their findings (this is kind of an advertorial but still informative and nicely done) it’s obvious that there is more money for laboratory work now than there might have been pre-takeover.

And it’s not as if these issues started with the AB-InBev takeover in 2011 — there were problems in 2010, too — but, still, it seems weird that this problem, and our own little run in with (pleasingly) infected Goose Island IPA, should have happened in the last couple of years, when everything ought to be running like a machine.

(BTW, we later heard from a pub manager in the UK who said he had an entire case of Brett-y Goose Island IPA and arranged, via a contact supplied by Michael Kiser at Good Beer Hunting, for him to despatch a bottle to the US for testing, but it never got sent. So you’ve only got our word on this one and we might be wrong.)

The discussion on Twitter prompted this suggestion from Sam Tierney, who is a brewer at Firestone Walker:

only way to eliminate the possibility wth BA beer is pasteurization. Likely they move in that direction now.

&mdash Sam Tierney (@intothebrew) May 27, 2016

(‘BA’ means barrel-aged in this context.)

There’s the seed of a conspiracy theory for those inclined to think that way: ‘False flag, man! Blame the bugs and bacteria to justify The New World Order! Wake up and smell the mind control drugs!’ (To be clear, we’re definitely not ascribing that view to always rational Mr Tierney.) Introduce a pragmatic solution to one problem and, before you know it, everything is pasteurised and filtered and thus, some would argue, neutered. That is, after all, basically what happened with British keg bitter from the 1950s to the 1970s, isn’t it?

Then, while we’re on conspiracy theories, another thought occurred to us: if you were a disgruntled brewery employee wouldn’t it be really easy to introduce bugs, bacteria and wild yeast to the process at various stages? How do you search a brewer for concealed bacteria on their way on and off the premises? Sniffer dogs? Decontamination chambers? And, as with the classic prawns in the radiator revenge, you could be long gone before your tampering ever became evident.

(One final bracketed disclaimer in a post that is mostly just bracketed disclaimers: we’re obviously not suggesting this has ever actually happened, and definitely not that we think it happened in this specific case, about which we have absolutely no knowledge beyond what we’ve read and heard in the pieces linked above.)