I cracked one of mine last night. Part of my being able to get out early and wait in line for hours was an agreement to share it with my wife last night. We both loved it.
I suppose it was expensive with respect to other beers I buy. After having had it though, I am glad I got to buy two. The natural vanilla flavours were huge. There was a lovely just barely burnt brown sugar flavour too. The alcohol was noticeable but welcome and warming. The sweetness, the body, the carbonation, etc. were all spot on for what I like in this style. It has certainly jumped into the top 5 or 6 BA stouts I have enjoyed. I love BA Aphrodisiaque but would take this one over it if given a choice. It was worth the line-up, which is a fun thing to do from time to time, and worth the price to me.
Much later in the evening we shared a Bourbon Barrel Aged Solstice d'Hiver from DDC. Certainly a very good beer, and one we have enjoyed before, but it was hard to appreciate after the Vanilla Rye.
I was in line next to a Goose Island rep who had the day off, and I overheard a lot conversations as her working co-workers stopped by to chat. Overall they seemed to be pretty happy with how things were going. The LCBO people seemed happy too, other than the cashiers who I often worry are clinically depressed judging by their near universal lack of emotion and disinterest. Is appearing to hate life a job requirement at the LCBO?
I thought they ran it well too. The giveaways and free coffee and donuts were appreciated by everyone near me. Allowing/Encouraging bottle shares would be the only change I would hope for, although I am sure the red tape for that would be scissors killing.
I am hoping this becomes and annual event.