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Event Recap | Goose Island ‘Grit & Grain’ Premiere

Event Recap | Goose Island ‘Grit & Grain’ Premiere
Brian Phipps

Thursday afternoon’s premiere of Grit & Grain at the Denver Film Society was a wonderful celebration of Goose Island’s legendary Bourbon County Stout. A great crowd from the craft beer industry came to taste some of this year’s run of Bourbon County Brand Stout.

Grit & Grain shares the craftsmanship of Bourbon County Stout. Each person who contributed to the creation of the Bourbon County Stout, like the lumberjacks in the Ozarks who cut the white oak trees for the bourbon barrels, have the same intensity and love for their craft as the brewers at Goose Island do for the beer. These are the most interesting pieces to the film and credit to the filmmakers for being able to capture that passion.

The biggest surprise following the movie was a Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout, aged in 35 year-old Heaven Hill bourbon barrels for two years, was shared in snifter glasses. A phenomenal treat where each sip was appreciated even more after viewing the film — knowing all the people, materials, work, and love that went into making this special brew.

Some Rare Bourbon County Stout was packaged in a wood container that had this description on the outside
Some Rare Bourbon County Stout was packaged in a wood container that had this description on the outside

The Bourbon County Stout, first sold in 1992, was created by former head brewmaster Greg Hall as a need to do something special for the 1000th batch. Hall was on-hand as part of a five-person Q&A panel after the film.

The panel also included:

  • Mike Smith, the film’s Producer and Associate Brand Manager at Goose Island
  • Ken Hunnemeder, one of the film’s Directors and Communications Coordinator at Goose Island
  • Jared Jankowski, Brewmaster at Goose Island
  • Denny Potter, Master Distiller & Distillery Plant Manager at Heaven Hill Brands

During the Q&A, much of the discussion centered on the Rare Bourbon County Stout, specifically how much of an accident the 35 year-old barrels were. The barrels were found, covered in dust and dirt. The bourbon inside the barrels had pretty much disappeared. Potter joked that if there were any more 35 year-old bourbon barrels discovered at Heaven Hills, he wouldn’t be employed there any longer.

"Grit & Grain" movie poster.
The “Grit & Grain” movie poster.

All the panelists shared extreme appreciation for everyone who made the film happen and helped Goose Island on the way from its inception in 1988. The Great American Beer Fest is a time to celebrate the fun, unique stories every beer has. Now we can fully appreciate the long journey Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout has ventured on.

The film will be released online in nine installments with releases every Friday starting on September 25th. The ninth chapter will be released on Black Friday, a tribute to when the previous Rare Bourbon County Stout (aged two years in “only” 23 year-old Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Barrels) was sold.

Watch each chapter here

Goose Island Beer Co.

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