On Rainey Street, Banger’s has become known as one of the best bars in town to find rare, experimental and small-batch brews. These beers generally remain affordable, if sometimes priced a little higher than their easier-to-get counterparts.
But once a year, during the launch of a new round of Goose Island beers, Banger’s sells one of them in bottles for more than $100 — an exorbitant price that ardent fans of the Chicago brewery will nonetheless pay.
The 2nd annual Black Wednesday event featuring Goose Island, the maker of the coveted Bourbon County Brand Stout that releases around Thanksgiving each year with a host of other difficult-to-find, often barrel-aged Goose Island beers, returns on Nov. 23.
Like last year, one of the brews that people have the chance to get is the Rare, an imperial stout aged for two years in 35-year-old Heaven Hill bourbon barrels. There’s a catch, of course.
Banger’s only has 24 bottles of the Rare to sell. If you’re one of the lucky ones to win a bottle in the Black Wednesday raffle, then you have to fork over $130 to get it. That price tag seems outrageous even if you consider that Goose Island beers send people into the sort of Black Friday frenzy that ends up as the headline of Saturday’s news, but that’s exactly what people have paid previously at Banger’s for the Rare bottles.
Banger’s first Black Wednesday event last year debuted the 2015 batch of Bourbon County and its barrel-aged variants — a batch that turned out to be contaminated with unwanted bacteria, resulting in off-flavors in four of the six releases. In response to the recalled beers, Goose Island is now pasteurizing each beer, something that other larger breweries like Deschutes and New Belgium also partially do.
Despite the contamination, Goose Island — one of the country’s craft breweries owned by Anheuser-Busch — is still in good standing with many beer drinkers who look forward to the barrel-aged brews every year.
Here are the other Goose Island beers that will be showcased at Banger’s Black Wednesday — all of them on draft, versus in bottles. Even if you don’t want to bust your Black Friday shopping budget on the Rare, you probably won’t want to miss these.
- 2016 Bourbon County Brand Stout
- 2015 Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout: featuring Intelligentsia Los Delirios coffee from Nicaragua
- 2015 Bourbon County Brand Regal Rye: a unique blend of Bourbon County Brand Stout aged in rye whiskey barrels with blackberries, Luxardo candied cherries, fresh sour cherries and sea salt.
- 2016 Bourbon County Brand Barley Wine: aged in third-use barrels that were once home to Kentucky bourbon and then Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout to impart intricacies of flavor.
- 2016 Gillian: a Belgian-style farmhouse ale, inspired by an amuse bouche, that was partially aged in wine barrels
- 2016 Halia: a farmhouse ale aged in wine barrels with whole peaches
The Goose Island Black Wednesday event kicks off 5 p.m. Nov. 23, when the beers are tapped; raffle tickets will be handed out from 6 to 8 p.m. For more information, visit bangersaustin.com.