Goose Island Beer Co Migration Week 2016 – BierCraft Cambie


Goose Island Brewing in Chicago is now in their second year of Migration to Canada (Check out last year’s event).  On Tuesday May 24th 2016 Goose Island held their second Migration Week event in Vancouver.  This year the event was held at BierCraft at their Cambie Location.

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This hoppy hour event started at 5pm for a small group of local bloggers, industry people and beer media.  This was a closed education event to inform us of 4 of their special barrel aged sour beers.  The beers included Lolita, Halia, Juliet and the highly sought Madame Rose.  When we arrived we were given a pint of Goose IPA to settle in.

Like I said all 4 sour beers are highly sought after barrel aged beers using wild yeasts.  Each of the 4 sours came with a in depth explanation of what kind of barrels were used (usually wine barrels that are treated to make sure now wine is left), what wild yeasts they use an what they add for flavour.  Three of the beers use only one wild yeast but one used 7 different yeasts or bacteria.  Lolita is a Belgian Style Pale Ale that is aged with raspberries.  Halia is a Farmhouse Ale aged with whole peaches.  Juliet is a beer aged with blackberries.  Madame Rose is a different animal all together and the most complex beer that Goose Island Brewing makes.  This beer is a Flanders Brown Ale aged with cherries using 7 different wild yeasts and bacteria that has to be aged from 1.5 years to 3 years.  All of these beers were great but Madame Rose was next level good.

On top of the education on this beer we were informed how rare these beers were.  Especially true for the Madame Rose.  Sadly these beers are not available in Canada and this event and other Migration Week events were the only way to try them on tap (or bottle) in Canada.  These are also very expensive beers from what I have gathered.  Once 7pm rolled around the event was opened up to more industry people.  At that time the amount of beer available increased.  on tap included the 4 sours Lolita, Halia, Madame Rose and Juliet.  On top of those though there was Bourbon County Brand Stout, Goose IPA, Honkers Ale, Four Star Pils, Goose 312 as well as The Illinois a Double IPA.  This is a great introduction into what Goose Island has to offer.  They have their standard fare made by their parent company with their barrel aged beers only brewed and barrel aged in Chicago.  There was also some amazing food to pair with their great beer including pulled pork and duck tacos, cheese, vegi pakoras and a tasty vegan friendly option I don’t remember.

Goose Island beer is becoming for prominent in Canada and it is well worth picking up.  The more beer we drink the better chance this high end rare barrel aged beers make it to the Great White North.  Fingers crossed everyone can drink these beers sooner than later!

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Bourbon County Brand Stout 2014 – Goose Island Beer Company (Aged 1 Year+)


From Goose Island Beer Company out of Chicago Illinois comes their “ Bourbon County Brand Stout”.  This beer has been aged in bourbon barrels and bottled on August 8th, 2014.  Don’t let the fact that AB InBev purchased this brewery in 2011 keep you away from this brew as it would be a serious mistake.  The beer pours a deep opaque black colour with a brown head.  The aroma consist of chocolate, toffee, anise, brown sugar, vanilla and some oak.  The flavour is of anise, chocolate, toffee, oak, vanilla, dark fruits, roasted malts, brown sugar, some bitterness and an alcohol finish.  The beer comes in at 14.4% alcohol and an IBU of 60.  Your bottle of Bourbon County very well could be different than this as with a blended barrel aged beer there will be variation of alcohol content and the USA tests beer to ensure correct labeling.  The 2014 edition much like the first ever bottle I had last year from the 2013 vintage was amazing.  I would recommend anyone that likes big stouts to try this beer if they can get their hands on it!

Commercial Description:  Brewed in honor of the 1000th batch at our original Clybourn brewpub. A liquid as dark and dense as a black hole with thick foam the color of a bourbon barrel. The nose is an intense mix of charred oak, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and smoke. One sip has more flavor than your average case of beer.

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Goose Island Beer Co Migration Week – Wildebeest


Goose Island Brewing of Chicago have been slowly pushing into Canada since 2014.  Things are about to change though as the brewery is now making a big push into Canada.  As the brewery puts it they are Migrating into Canada with their Migration Week.

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Two events were held in Vancouver for this occasion one being a smaller industry event that I attended and one being more public that I couldn’t.  Goose Island Beer Co may be owned by AB-InBev but don’t let that push you away from the brewery as they are still making great beer and i don’t see that changing.  Some of their core brands are not longer made in house if they were easily scaled up but things like Matilda, Sophie and the Bourbon Country lines are still brewed on site at the brewery in Chicago.  The Chicago brewery is still massive with a 60HL brewhouse with more production volume than local breweries Central City Brewers & Distillers or Parallel 49 Brewing.

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Seeing as Vancouver is one of the biggest Craft Beer markets in Canada Goose Island Beer Co brought their Migration Week to the city.  Only Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal had events in Canada this year.  The brewery brought with it one of their Chicago brewers and some of their educators to help spread the word about their beer and inform about their brand.  They brought along a selection of beers including Matilda, Sofie, Goose IPA, Honkers Ale, Bourbon County Brand Stout and Autumn Ale.  To say the people attending this event were excited to find Bourbon County Brand Stout on tap would be an understatement as this is a very highly sought after beer!  Each beer had a food pairing created by the chefs at Wildebeest and all tasted amazing together!  From the impression given they look to be pushing much if not all of their beer into Canada in the future.  Bourbon Country with an alcohol content of between 14% and 15% will take a little more work for them as our tax laws do not consider this a beer but fear not as beers of 18%+ have been or are for sale in British Columbia.

When big American Breweries push their way into Vancouver, BC and Canada it just reinforces what a growth market Craft Beer is in Canada.  We may be small in numbers but we sure are thirsty!  Goose Island Beer Co’s push into Canada should be exciting to both the casual craft fan and the uber geek alike!  Cheers to more great beer spreading to all reaches of North America!  I look forward to seeing what they have in store for us next.

Check out BeerMeBC’s for another perspective on the event.

Full sized photos found here.

Goose Island Beer Co
http://www.gooseisland.com
http://www.gooseisland.com/migrationWeek.html
1800 W Fulton St
Chicago, USA

Wildebeest
http://wildebeest.ca/
120 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC
604 687 6880
eat@wildebeest.ca

Bourbon County Brand Stout 2013 – Goose Island Beer Company (Aged 1 Year+)


From Goose Island Beer Company out of Chicago Illinois comes their highly sought after “Bourbon County Brand Stout”.  This beer has been aged in bourbon barrels and bottled on November 8th, 2013.  Don’t let the fact that AB InBev purchased this brewery in 2011 keep you away from this brew as it would be a serious mistake.  The beer pours a opaque black with a brown head.  The aroma consists of bourbon, vanilla, toffee, roasted malts, sweetness and alcohol.  The flavour is of toffee, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, oak, roasted malts, tobacco, maybe some leather, raisins, sweetness and lots of alcohol warmth.  The beer comes in at a huge 14.9% alcohol (yes you heard that correctly) with an IBU of 60.  This is no tame stout and one bottle is probably enough to get you going!  I would say this is one of the best stouts that I have every consumed and I have had many stouts.

Commercial Description:  Brewed in honor of the 1000th batch at our original Clybourn brewpub. A liquid as dark and dense as a black hole with thick foam the color of a bourbon barrel. The nose is an intense mix of charred oak, chocolate, vanilla, caramel and smoke. One sip has more flavor than your average case of beer.

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