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.
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.
On our recent trip to Chicago, Michelle and I made a slight detour on the way home to stop off at the Goose Island Clyborn Brewpub. With 25 different beers available on tap or in bottle, we knew it was going to be fun to try beers that we cannot usually find back home.
This was our first visit to Goose Island and it was well worth the time. The layout of the beer menu has the beers divided up into categories of flavor: Refreshing, Session, Malty, Hoppy, Belgian and New World. The menu gives food pairings based on these categories and we split an order of Sweet Potato Fries which seemed to work with the different selections we had.
We each tried a sample of 4 different beers poured 4-oz tall. My selections were:
Six (Session) – This was my least favorite of the 8 samples. It seemed a little off and basic. For a low alcohol beer, it just didn’t have enough structure in my opinion and gets a
S.O.B. (Session) - A nice Bitter with good solid balance and very little hoppiness.
Naughty Goose (Malty) – This cask conditioned beer was one of my favorites, this had a nice chocolate malt flavor that exploded in the upfront taste. This was like a stop at UDF for a malt. Nice and smooth and easy to drink.
Midway IPA (Hoppy) – Nice citrus with hops up front, in the middle and on the end. Not much else to say, but this impressed with it’s flavor.
Michelle went a little sweeter and selected:
Willow St. White (Refreshing) – Unfiltered wheat beer had a little more bitterness than Michelle’s favorite (Bell’s Oberon) but still had nice spice to balance the usual wheat flavor.
Hefeweizen (Refreshing) – Another wheat beer, but it had more concentration on the banana flavors.
Fleur (Belgian) – I think this was the overall favorite of Michelle and high on my list as well. This was crafted with a similar approach to the Grassroots ale from Great Lakes. This uses hibiscus tea leaves to add an incredible amount of spice to the beer.
Wheatmiser (New World) – A 9.1% AbV was a nice finish to the two samples as the sweetness made this a desert beer. This was one to be enjoyed in small quantities (it’s sold in an 8oz snifter) It was also on the possible growler list, but we doubted we could finish it in time.
Overall, this was a great stop and we left with a growler of the Fleur and an extra empty growler for our friends over at Hoperatives. I’d recommend the trip if you are in the Chicago area and want to try more brews than we can get in the Cincinnati area. Goose Island gets a nice as both Michelle and I were able to find beer we liked.
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