I was in Chicago last month watching the Cincinnati Reds play the Chicago Cubs. I got to sample a few tasty beers brewed right in the Windy City. Here are a few of my faves.
Goose Island 312
312 is classified as an American Pale Wheat Ale. You can definitely taste the wheat, along with citrus flavors. This is a creamy and refreshing medium-bodied beer. I’ve continued to buy 312 here at home, although it’s probably more of a summer beer (I’ve started to stock up on Sam Adams Oktoberfest for the Fall since it’s only available for a limited time).
Goose Island Green Line
Green Line is considered an American Pale Ale with a bright, hoppy aroma and citrus fruit flavor. It is light, crisp with a little spice and a slightly bitter finish. Green Line Pale Ale is the beer at the core of Goose Island’s environmental sustainability initiative, the Green Line Project. The beer is available on draft only in Chicago to help cut down on packaging waste and reduce the impact from refrigerating and transporting the beer.
Goose Island Matilda
Matilda is a Belgian Style Pale Ale. It has a spicy aroma and a slightly fruity – with a hint of honey – taste. The beer is a little dry; not overpowering, but smooth and very drinkable.
Metropolitan Brewing Krankshaft
Krankshaft is a Kolsch style beer. Kolsch is a clear German brew with a bright, straw-yellow hue, and just slight hoppiness. This was the lightest beer of the four and perfect for a hot day . This crisp, light-bodied beer has a lemony sweetness and light malt flavor. Metropolitan Brewing is the newest microbrewery in Chicago.
The other night I had a delicious beer that’s perfect for summer. I was out with friends at Barleycorn’s Five Mile House in Lakeside Park. On tap was Pink Lemonade, a refreshing blend of two Leinenkugel’s beers :
Summer Shandy, a seasonal beer and the brewer’s version of a traditional German Radler, a combination of beer and German-style lemonade. Radler, which means “cyclist” in German, dates back to the early 1900s. The tale goes…a bar owner short on his beer supply became overwhelmed by a group of cyclists because they were thirsty from their travels. So the bar owner mixed whatever beer he had with lemonade. Over the years, the recipe has added Sprite or 7-Up instead of lemonade. Hmm…I see a little recipe testing in my future.
Berry Weiss, a year-round Leinenkugel’s beer that contains the flavors of blackberries, elderberries and loganberries.
This beer was very refreshing and thirst-quenching. Fitting for the end of a 95-degree day. And it did look a lot like pink lemonade (my pictures did not turn out well so I apologize for not being able to share).
I loved the taste but I don’t think I could drink too many because of the sweetness. It’s a great summer option though if you’re looking to try a different twist on beer.
This is probably a little unorthodox, but I’m going to write about it anyway. It DOES have something to do with beer at least.
It may seem crazy to combine heart-pumping physical activity with beer drinking – although I know some people that would consider beer drinking a sport. Even the organizers call this event “a ridiculous running race.” I’ve always thought an ice cold beer tastes great after a good run, so I’m in.
Tap ‘N’ Run is a 4K (or 2.5 mile) running race that includes four beer chug stations along the race course – plus a full beer at the finish line, along with crazy costumes, contests and awards, and an after-party with live music on the barge at Hooters and Beer Seller down along the river.
The race is professionally timed and all participants will receive a medal – that doubles as a bottle opener of course, the equivalent of more than two beers and a Tap ‘N’ Run t-shirt. They also will offer non-alcoholic beverages and even a taxi partner to help get everyone home safely.
They will be checking IDs, so you must be 21 years of age on race day to participate and you MUST present a valid ID at check-in.
I am joining a few friends to create a team. I’ve never participated in this but it sounds like a blast. Cost is $38 per person if you register before Saturday, April 28. The price goes up from there. Visit http://www.tapnrun.com for more info and to register. Hope to see you there!
Although the temperature in Cincinnati has been all over the place, the first official day of winter is Thursday. If you haven’t already been partaking in seasonal brews, the time is now.
Fox News published a Best Holiday Brews article this week and it reminded me that these seasonal selections won’t be around forever. Although I don’t usually drink darker, heavier beers, they are great for warming you up on cold winter nights.
I have had – and do like – the top beer on this list: Great Lakes Brewing Co. Christmas Ale, a holiday beer brewed with honey and spiced with ginger and cinnamon. It’s medium-bodied, not too heavy, and a repeat World Beer Championship Gold Medal winner. My sister-in-law was nice enough to share her stash over Thanksgiving (Thanks, Laurie).
Not on this list, but a popular choice - Sierra Nevada Celebration. While Celebration tastes good for a change, I can’t drink many as it’s a very robust, rich ale. But it’s great for bringing along to your holiday parties and for toasting friends and family.
Do you have a favorite winter beer? Leave a comment here and let me know what you like and what I should try before they all disappear.
For those of you who have been reading the blog for a long time, you know that I’m a huge fan of Goose Island. Whenever we go to Chicago, we make a special point of heading out to the brewery for seasonals and dinner. I even co-hosted an event last year with the Dilly Cafe, the Hoperatives, and Goose Island. They make my favorite beers.
It was announced today that Anheuser-Busch has purchased Goose Island. Now remember, Anheuser-Busch itself is owned by global conglomerate InBev, so in essence, InBev now owns Goose Island.
I know this is probably a good thing for Goose Island, and the deal was worth a lot of beer: $38.8 million. According to WBEZ Chicago, not much will change:
In a statement, the head of Goose Island, John Hall, said the Chicago company has grown so rapidly in the last five years that demand for Goose Island beers has outgrown the capacity of its brewery. Hall said the company has had to limit production of some of the beers. Hall said the deal with Anheuser-Busch will help Goose Island continue to grow.
“This agreement helps us achieve our goals with an ideal partner who helped fuel our growth, appreciates our products and supports their success,” Hall said in a statement.
In announcing the acquisition, Goose Island said Hall will continue to be responsible for the Chicago brewery, which the company says will remain in operation.
So I have my fingers crossed I won’t see a Matilda Select or Fleur Lime anytime in the near future.
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