Goose Island Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout for 2015

First brewed in 1992 in commemoration of Goose Island’s 1,000th batch at the original Clybourn brewpub in Chicago, this Imperial Stout is widely considered to be the first mass marketed beer to be aged in bourbon barrels. Over the years it has garnered a cult fan following and is released annually on Black Friday the day after Thanksgiving, when true beer aficionados skip the department store lines and instead head to their favorite craft beer store. This year’s version packs even more notoriety, as it was aged in barrels from Heaven Hill Distilleries that had aged the bourbon for 23 years before being bottled. Goose Island then filled the barrels in 2015 and aged its stout for another year before releasing it this year. If you’re lucky enough to procure a bottle, you’re sure to enjoy its rich, thick and chewy character that must be savored slowly to appreciate its complexity, with flavors of sweet chocolate, roasted malt, vanilla, dark fruits and pronounced bourbon. And, at 14.5% it’s for sure a sipping beer that will help warm you up on a cold winter’s night.

14.5% ABV, 60 IBUs

Rogue Hazelutely Choctabulous

Rogue Ales & Spirits is notorious for brewing funky beers with unusual ingredients and flavors. Its latest, described on the label as Candy Bar in a Bottle, is the result of a longtime practice of fans mixing two of its most beloved beers, Chocolate Stout and Hazelnut Brown Nectar. “For over a decade, our hardest-core fans and loyal pub patrons have been drinking this blend, which they say tastes like a nutty chocolate candy bar,” said Rogue President Brett Joyce. “We’re thrilled to share this secret menu item with the world.” Dark and decadent, with a rich nutty flavor up front followed by a chocolate truffle finish, Hazelutely Choctabulous will be available in 22-ounce serigraphed bottles and on draft starting in January 2017. For a humorous video of Brewmaster John Maier magically creating this beer, go to

5.7% ABV, 51 IBUs

Ninkasi Believer

Back by popular demand, the independent Oregon craft brewer Ninkasi Brewing Company announced the return of Believer Double Red Ale to its Seasonal Release Series, available through April 2017. Originally released as a winter seasonal in 2006, Ninkasi co-founders Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge brewed Believer Double Red Ale as a way to thank those who believed in their mission: to start a craft brewery dedicated to community. Unlike a typical Red Ale, Believer balances a rich malt complexity with a plentiful hop presence. Brewed with 2-Row Pale, Munich, Crystal and Carahell malts and hopped with Centennial and Summit, it brings notes of caramel, toffy, fig, and date that meld with the earthy and floral hops making it a full-flavored brew. Here’s to drinking to a good cause: Ninkasi will donate $1 per case and $7 per keg of Believer sold to three non-profit organizations who exemplify the foundation of Beer is Love—Conscious Alliance, Team River Runner and Women Who Code.

6.9% ABV, 60 IBUs