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Goose Island Unleashes Lilith

By Staff in Food on Sep 8, 2014 6:00PM

2014_09_lilithgooseisland.png In the ancient Middle East, Lilith was the name of a demon whose name translates roughly to "night monster." To Goose Island, she’s nothing but a sour. Debuting 7 p.m. Sept. 9 at Kaiser Tiger (1415 W. Randolph St.), Lilith is Goose Island’s latest offering from their Fulton and Wood series. A Pomegranate Berliner Weisse, this beer is tart, sessionable (3.8 percent alcohol), and has “lots of fruit character,” says Brian Taylor, Goose’s head cellarman and leader of the team behind Lilith.

The idea for the beer started about a year ago when Taylor convened with his brewing team, comprised of Ryan Brei, Ken Hunnemeder, and Erika Wojno, to discuss what they should brew. The conversation didn’t last long, as they selected the Berliner Weisse immediately. The team was eager to do the style, but they wanted to add something to it, something different, so Taylor suggested adding pomegranates.

“The pomegranates were gonna do two things,” explains Taylor. “Sour it up, then help out with the color.” Lilith has an orangish, pink cast to it. In addition to the color, the beers other unique feature is the use of lactobacillus, a bacteria that lends the brew its characteristic sour flavor.

While the process of making Lilith was fun—Taylor says no one fought or argued the entire time—perfecting her didn’t come easy. It took three attempts to make, with the first going miserably. “It looked like yogurt,” says Taylor. “It was like this white substance.” The beer had to be dumped, and a new set of trial and error began, which was fine for Taylor. He likes learning from his mistakes and claims, “If you’re not dumping a beer, you’re not trying as far as I’m concerned.”

After nailing it on the third try, Taylor and his team have a brew they want to share with the city, but only have so much. Fulton and Wood beers are limited release, and Taylor estimates Lilith will be around for only two months or so. It’s a small window of time, so one has to jump on it quick. Dilly dally, and Lilith might end up being that one that got away. To avoid that from happening, catch her at the Kaiser Tiger for her release party. RSVP at Do312.

By Ben Kramer