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4 Reasons You Should Be Reading Solemn Oath's 10 Reasons To Still Drink Goose Island

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Nov 25, 2013 7:20PM

Photo credit: Sara

Goose Island’s purchase by Anheuser-Busch/InBEV over two years ago has some fans of craft beer boycotting the brewery, even though Goose Island’s production post-merger has maintained the same level of quality with what appears to be minimal tinkering by A-B.

Solemn Oath brewer Paul Schneider, who wrote about the honk heard around the world for Chicagoist last year, listed 10 reasons beer geeks should still be drinking Goose Island on Solemn Oath's website. Schneider expands on some of the themes he wrote for Chicagoist but a few on his list stand out. Let’s look at them.

There’s More of the Good Stuff
Yeah there is. Those complaining about production of 312, Honker’s Ale, Goose Island IPA and other beers to A-B production facilities are missing the forest for the trees. Schneider notes shunting off production of those flagship beers means Goose Island can produce more of their Belgian-style ales, the Bourbon County line (with new flavors every year), the monthly “Fulton and Wood” experimental series and the additions to the Sisters line, Gillian and Halia. And they’ve been brewing those beers to the point where they’re still running out of fermentation tanks and barrel space.

It’s better and more consistent than most stuff out there.
Schneider here is speaking mainly about Goose Island’s barrel and fruit beer programs but the sentiment can be expanded to the flagship beers. Goose Island founder John Hall and brewmaster Brett Porter told Chicagoist during the release party for Halia and Gillian that Honker’s Ale has never tasted better. That’s a result of the quality control established by Goose Island and communication between the brewery and A-B. Honker’s Ale and Goose’s IPA are the gateway beers for everything else the brewery is producing and A-B has done a commendable job in not throwing a wrench into the works. As a result, Goose Island is poised to be A-B’s national craft beer brand simply by having A-B allow Goose Island to do what it does best.

Solid people are still working there.
Much noise has been made (including here) about the brewers who have left Goose Island. Greg Hall, John J. Hall, John Laffler, Tom Korder at Fulton Street, and Jared Rouben at the brewpub, are all making names for themselves. But there is still a ton of talent at Goose Island in brewing operations, marketing, sales and social media, where Goose Island kills it. The brewing operations is in solid hands with Porter, who deftly walks the tightrope between A-B corporate and mentoring his brewers.

There wouldn’t be much of a Chicago beer scene without them.
A-fucking-men. Greg Hall is on the cusp of a sea change in how America views hard ciders with the fast-rising Virtue Cider. John J. Hall (no relation) has stabilized the brewing operations at 5Rabbit. Laffler is heading the most exciting new brewery in Chicago at Off Color and Korder is set to join the fold when Geneva’s Penrose Brewing begins expanding production. The early efforts of Greg Hall at the brewpubs and later at the production facility is the root of a strong tree of Chicago craft breweries.

In short, if you’re still boycotting Goose Island because they outsourced some of the 312 production to A-B plants you’re missing out on an exciting time for the Chicago brewery that started the scene.