The Goose is Loose

Beer Chicago

Goose Island made an "arrangement" with ABInBev, but don’t dismiss Bourbon County.

Bourbon County migrated west to Los Angeles along with some other rare beers from Chicago’s Goose Island Beer Co..  You may have noticed more Goose Island beers of late around town even in grocery stores where you might not expect it. Courtesy of their “arrangement” with ABInBev.

That connection aside, when they visited Beer Belly on July 10, they came loaded with a wide range of beers on tap: Summertime Kolsch, The Illinois IPA (with Citra and Meridian hops), Sofie Paradisi and the first keg to blow of the evening, Bourbon County Stout – the coffee version.  And that was not the only Bourbon County on hand.  You could sample the “rare” aged in Pappy Van Winkle barrels (hand numbered and dated no less) or my favorite of the BC’s, the cherry rye variant.  After sampling them, I now really want to visit their barrel aging facility.

And that was not all.  If sours are your guilty pleasure, bottles of 2010 Madame Rose and 2012 Juliet were floating around the Beer Belly space courtesy of representatives from Goose Island, along with brewer Keith Gabbett.  He talked of beers with strawberries, mulberries and his trips to the Oregon hop fields.  He was duly proud of the beers on tap as well as some upcoming offerings in the pipeline.

I understand that craft beer snobs and even some of the easier-to-get-along-with beer geeks may have reservations from small to large about Goose Island because they are part of the Budweiser empire and we have been trained to hate all things Bud.  But I would strongly recommend that you try the beers first before passing judgement, because passing up any of the Bourbon County offerings would mean missing out on some truly great beers.

Your Beer of the Week comes from Monkish Brewing. Count me as a big fan of Henry Nguyen‘s beers. Especially his Dat Moi Belgian lager which is one of my favorite beers of 2013. But today, I am telling you to grab a taster tray.  Henry has too many good beers online that may be gone far too soon.  So do yourself a favor and grab the Pieta, Monsho, Libertas and Shaolin Fist or any other combo that strikes your fancy.  You will probably end up with a growler to take home.  Just like I did!

Your Homework this week is to do some comparison shopping but not the usual kind from store to store or a smartphone app.  No.  I want you to break out the calculator and start checking to see which IPA costs the most and which the least.  Or pick another style with many options.  Are there any brands where it makes perfect sense for them to cost more?  Maybe shipped from Europe or rare anniversary beers?  The goal is to see which brands hit that sweet spot of good price for the money.

Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.


Sean Inman

Find more of Sean Inman's writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.

Blog Comments

“Courtesy of their “arrangement” with ABInBev.”

Just to be super clear, they are ABInBev for the purpose of this story.

It’s not that Goose Island’s beers aren’t good, they are in fact good to great. It’s what InBev is doing to infiltrate the emerging Los Angeles craft beer scene. Bar owners are selling their souls for Bourbon County Stout. You can bet that anyone who wants in on BCS is having to commit long term to pouring other pedestrian GI offerings, and dare I say they may even have to carry one handle of Bud Light or Shock Top as well.

I would be worried if the bars in LA where they stopped were not Beer Belly and Surly Goat. These two have furthered the good beer cause here immeasurably and I sincerely doubt that you will see any non-craft beer on their tap list.

Secondly, both Surly and Beer Belly have rightly “earned” any special beer releases because they have supported the brewing community. Especially the LA brewers.

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