A few weeks back I was invited by the great folks behind Goose Island Beer Company to join their Migration Week Beer Dinner at Nickel & Rye. I was going in completely blind, having not heard of Goose Island prior and having not dined at Nickel & Rye yet, I was anxious to check it out…it ALL out.
Based in Chicago’s Lincoln Park area, Goose Island Beer Company, is one of the Midwest’s most popular craft breweries. At the core of Goose Island Beer Company is the desire to bring beer that wasn’t formerly available in the United States to local markets, a unique concept back in 1995 when the company was founded. With a 143,000 square foot barrel warehouse, a packing line that can bottle 500 cases an hour and a keg line that develops 50 an hour, it’s no secret that Goose Island has come a long way since their launch. Although they are a Chicago staple, they are targeting 32 new markets this year alone, our great city of Dallas being one of them which is why I was afforded the pleasure of joining the Beer Dinner.
Upon arriving, I was greeted by several Goose Island Beer Company representatives including Brewery Innovations Manager, Mike Siegel. He is in charge of all new beer development and definitely THE man you want to know. With a clear passion for all things beer, Mike and his team mates made me want to live and die for Goose Island and after drinking their “Lolita” which uses over 48,000 pounds of raspberries during brewing, I just may.
With a menu developed by Nickel & Rye Executive Chef Daniel, our meal included Grilled Fresh Water Prawns paired with Goose Island 312, Oak Kissed Quail paired with Goose Island Matilda, Orange Pollen Dusted Duck Breast paired with Goose Island Sofie and lastly, Raspberry Wellington paired with Goose Island Lolita. If you aren’t drooling on your keyboard, you are definitely doing something wrong.
Let me remind you that this was my first time dining at Nickel & Rye and while the flavor profiles were certainly there, it seemed as though all of the protein aspects were well overcooked. They weren’t inedible, but the meats could have definitely been better, especially those gorgeous jumbo prawns. I made peace with the food after being presented Chef Daniel’s Raspberry Wellington though…Holy shit. It was like a little pillow of sweet, fruity heaven. Paired with Goose Island’s Lolita which is brewed with a ratio of 1 gallon of beer to 1 pound of raspberries, it was the perfect rich yet tangy and sweet compliment to dessert.
All in all, the Goose Island Beer Dinner was an incredible introduction to the craft brewery. With 40-45 beers in rotation, most of which are only available in the Chicago area, we should be thrilled with anything we can get down here in the Lone Star State. With pale ales, fruit beers and stouts brewed in bourbon barrels, there is truly something for everyone at Goose Island Beer Company. Now, if you really want to look like a total prick and one up the employees at Spec’s the next time you go in and grab a pack of Juliette, Goose Island’s fruit beer brewed with blackberries, kindly inform them that the majority of Goose Island’s beers are named after characters in classic novels. Boom. You’re welcome.