Goose Island Belgian Fest 2014: Americans Embrace The Belgian Flavor
In the great, ever-expanding universe of beer, you don't need to be from Belgium to be Belgian. You just need the Belgian yeast in your brew. Though no breweries from Belgium proper participated in Goose Island Clybourn’s Belgian Fest Sunday, many breweries from Chicago, the surrounding area, and the great state of Missouri showcased a wide variety of Belgian-style beers.
The folks at St. Louis' Perennial Artisan Ales supplied two beers, both complimenting each other nicely. Their "2013 Anniversaria," a Belgian pale ale aged in local wine barrels, held a simmering, tropical fruit flavor that popped on the tongue. Their "Hommel Bier," a dry hopped Belgian I.P.A., served as "Anniversaria's" subdued counterpart—not overwhelming the taste buds, but still leaving them satisfied.
Destihl Brewing was a popular destination, with folks swarming the area every few minutes or so. Their "Duke of Normington" and "Saint Dekkera Reserve Sour Ale" poured the most from their booth.
Chicago's Ten Ninety made waves with its "De Ogen." A pumpkin saison that is actually made with actual pumpkin. Most breweries use pumpkin spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove rather than using real squash.
Revolution Brewing showcased "Tango," a Dubbel presented in a pitcher so you could see the color before being poured. Possessing a raisin character from its use of Special B malt, "Tango" came off as dark, lovely and sweet as honey because well, it was brewed with honey.
An absolute fan favorite was Goose Island's "Vainglorious." Aged in red wine and bourbon barrels, with Intelligentsia coffee and black berries in the mix, this beer was the home court attraction, reeling in folks with its tastiness, high ABV (10 percent) and the fact that most folks saw it and thought, "Man, I've never had a Belgian Stout before "
Beyond the beer (and there was plenty of it) what really made the event special was the people. Conversation came a plenty, with people asking, "Hey have you tried this yet? You should, it's awesome!" Personable, easy to talk to, everyone there came for the same reason. To drink good beer.
By Ben Kramer