Yes, this is the golden age of craft beer. Those of us in Kalamazoo take a particular interest with Bell's having become one of the biggest players in the craft beer arena, but Goose Island Beer Company has been around for a long while too, and they claim to have invented the bourbon-barrel-aged variant.

"In 1992, former Goose Island brewmaster Gregory Hall wanted to brew something truly unique for the brewpub’s 1,000th batch, he just needed some inspiration. Then a chance encounter between Greg and Jim Beam’s Booker Noe led to Goose Island acquiring the barrels for what was to become the world’s first bourbon barrel-aged beer, Bourbon County Stout. - Goose Island Beer Co.

Bourbon-barrel beers have become quite the segment of the beer market, and a favorite of beer snobs far and wide.

But here's where some of this goes off the rails for. Some of the flavors that pass for beer these days are a bit, shall we say, out there. Smartmouth Brewing has "Lucky Charms" beer. (Seems like one of the brewers around here would cut a deal with Kellogg's or Post in Battle Creek.) And there are two beers with interesting names, if not ingredients. One is from Iceland and claims whale testicles as an ingredient. And from Colorado, there's Rocky Mountain Oyster Stout by Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver, featuring bull testicles.

But back to Goose Island, one of their variants in this series is biscotti-flavored bourbon barrel-aged beer. Nothing wrong with that, but it does smack of hoity-toity.

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Their full line-up looks interesting led by Goose Island Bourbon County Stout and Coffee Stout, but biscotti sounds like something that you serve with crumpets and tea. The same thing goes for Bourbon County Sir Isaac’s Stout, which "incorporates" figs.

Another stout on the list has me curious. Along with some banana, coconut, and lime, it's got some pineapple flavor. Bourbon County Proprietor’s Stout Hmmm. I love pineapple-flavored anything, but I don't think I'd have associated it with a stout. Jamaica Me Crazy is a drink from the old Kalamazoo festival days that come to mind with this.

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