Between the Denver Rare Beer Tasting, Crooked Stave's What the Funk!? Festival, and GABF itself, we tried a plethora of outstanding brews, including some of the rarest beers on earth. Here's the rundown on our six favorites.
'Goose Island' on Serious Eats
Big stouts are a staple in the American craft brewing scene. These robust, flavorful, high alcohol beers are typically released in the winter months, and each year sees a growing number of variations on the style. Some hit the mark, others...don't. Here we've pulled together 5 of the best new stouts from across the country.
Stepping inside the Goose Island Beer Co.'s Fulton Street brewery, I was struck by the sweet, bready aroma that saturated the warm, humid air. The heat was intense—the brewery runs 24/7 to meet demand—but the smell was welcoming. Goose Island's communications manager, Mark Mahoney, was leading the way; he had invited me to visit for a rare private tour of the facility, which is not typically open to the public.
If you want to try Black Tuesday, Kate the Great, Sexual Chocolate, Dark Lord, Surly Darkness, or a number of other great "cult" imperial stouts, you should probably prepare yourself for the possibility of waiting in line on release day, trolling Internet forums looking for trades, buying lottery tickets in hopes of winning a chance to buy a bottle, or paying incredibly inflated prices on eBay. But rest assured, there are plenty of top-tier imperial stouts available that require a lot less hoop-jumping to snag a bottle.
Goose Island Mild Winter is malty and creamy, with rye for a touch of spice. The crisp finish may be a little sour and bitter for some, but there's enough dry-cocoa and toffee richness to balance it. I'm glad this beer doesn't veer toward sweetness; it's ideal for pairing with a grilled steak or lentil soup (especially if you've made it with a meaty ham hock). Have you tried Goose Island's Mild Winter? What do you think of Goose Island beers in general these days?
Just a few things we've been reading and thinking about lately—is loving rosé a reaction against demanding wine? Is Anheuser-Busch planning to extend Goose Island's 312 series to a city near you? Discuss.
Oatmeal? Check. Lactose? Yep. Espresso? Why not? You can add all kinds of ingredients to a stout. This week, your Serious Beer team tasted a wide variety of stouts from American and Canadian craft brewers so we could let you know which ones are delicious.