so there is this really cool brewery up in chicago. maybe you have heard of it. it is called Goose Island. it was created in 1988. it makes delicious tasting beers.
as Thanksgiving came to a close, i trekked north into the frozen windy city again. not that st. louis is much warmer. but at least it is less windy. it counts for something.
day one at Goose Island was a marathon that i am not entirely sure my stomach was ready for.
have you heard of bourbon county stout? most beer snobs have. it is a treasured relic. a precious jewel. a rare gem to connoisseurs of craft beer. it is released only one day every year: the much dreaded black friday. while soccer moms and baseball dads wait in line at walmart, toys’r’us, and best buy; beer buffs everywhere are waiting in line outside of liquor stores and grocery chains in hopes of procuring this elusive beer.
and while i did not wait through the blistering illinois cold on the eve of november 28th, i had the privilege to try every flavor of bourbon county stout produced by Goose Island Brewing Company. you know, just a perk of the job.
this year’s crop consisted of bourbon county stout original, bourbon country stout coffee, bourbon county barely wine, bourbon county stout vanilla rye, and a proprietor’s bourbon county stout reserve from 2014.
stouts are deceptive. they look intimidating. they smell intimidating. but they taste fairly smooth and inviting, except for that bitter bite of bourbon unique to this style. while they would not be my first choice, or a choice for casual, light drinking, it had an interesting taste that i can appreciate on special occasions.
from there, we were introduced to the sour sisters. maybe you have met them? they go by sophie, matilda, gillian, halia, lolita, juliet, and madame rose. as in real life, each lady has her own personality. some sweet. some strong. some tart. some bitter. but none of them are bland.
each person seems to have their “type”. my type is sophie. she is mild-mannered with a little flare for the dramatic exit. she is a lovely lady to spend the evening with, but she will leave you with a lasting reminder that she is gone.
we tried some of the sisters during a tasting. and others during a delicious beer pairing lunch. others during a beer pairing lunch. sophie can be everyone’s best friend but particularly pairs well with salads. matilda needs a stronger partner and matches well with fatty meats and potent cheeses. juliet’s bold personality likes to be the dominating flavor in the room, so she is best coupled with a sweet and shy fruit cheesecake.
you won’t forget meeting the sour sisters. no one forgets their first. regardless of whichever lady is your favorite, make sure you take her out to a nice dinner and walk home with her at night.
we drank a multitude of beers. starting at nine in the morning. this was the result of our day. well, that and a bit of a restless tummy.
we also spent time walking around the enormous barrel aging cellar, visiting with local marketing agencies, and meandering through the breweries on fulton street and clybourne. but i do not think you want to hear about me walking around, so i will leave you with pictures of those for now.