Back in 1988 John Hall set out on a mission to not only educate consumers, but to challenge them as well. Back then, the big brewery’s brands were practically the only beers available. And in the neighborhoods of Chicago, Ill. those brands were embedded deeply into the psyche of beer-drinkers. Hall decided to do something about that. After several trips across Europe, where he enjoyed visiting many brewpubs, Hall decided to open his own brewpub. Goose Island Brewpub was opened its doors on May 13, 1988.
In the years since, Goose Island brews have become the stuff of legends. Thirsty Chicago beer-lovers soon discovered the little brewpub and in just seven years, the demand had grown to such a point that Hall began looking for a larger brewing facility. In 1995 he found a suitable place and began brewing and bottling his beers for the greater Chicagoland area. But, once again, demand outpaced production and Hall once again began a search for more production space. Where he finally settled was a location just an out-of-park home run from the cathedral of many Chicagoans, Wrigley Field.
Over the years, Goose Island has made its mark on the beer industry. Not only was Goose Island one of the pioneers of the craft beer industry, the booming brewery introduced beer-drinkers to styles that set their taste buds and hearts on fire. The brewery’s legendary Bourbon County Stout recently won accolades as one of the 20 most influential beers of all time as the result of a poll of beer experts conducted by website First We Feasts. The brew consistently scores among the very top brews on beer rating websites like Rate Beer and Beer Advocate. The barrels used to create the first batch of the stout are said to have been Elijah Craig 18 Year Old Single barrel bourbon, the oldest Single Barrel Bourbon in the world at 18 years. Other accounts say that they were 25-year old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon barrels.
In 2011, it was announced that Goose Island would sell its operations and brands to Anheuser-Busch. Shortly after the announcement, AB declared its intent to take the brand national. Just last week another announcement was made concerning the roll-out.
“As a native Chicago line of brands, the national launch will bring one of the Windy City’s most acclaimed creations to consumers across the country,” said Andy Goeler, Goose Island CEO and president. “Throughout the craft segment, Goose Island’s beers are recognized, respected and loved, maintaining a passionate and knowledgeable fan base over many decades.”
The four brews to go national will be:
- 312 Urban Wheat Ale
- Honker’s Ale, an English-style bitter.
- India Pale Ale (IPA)
And a seasonal rotating brew that will include:
- Mild Winter (In 2013: February, November – December) an American mild ale.
- Summertime (In 2013: March – August) a kölsch brewed in the traditional German fashion.
- Harvest Ale (In 2013: September – October) a copper-colored extra special bitter (ESB) made with Cascade hops and the richest Midwestern malts.
According to a press release from AB, the beers will be brewed at the company’s Fort Collins, Colo. and Baldwinsville, N.Y. breweries. All the beers will be available on draught. Additionally, all will be available in bottles later this spring.
Watch for these highly acclaimed beers to appear at your favorite bars as well as on the shelves of your beer purveyor soon.
- Best Breweries in Chicago (apartmentguide.com)