Firstly, I accept it’s perhaps a bit much to be writing about Goose Island again, although I have to add that they were my pub of the year in 2020 and so I’m allowed some exuberance here. NB, I also accept having a pub of the year is a bit self-indulgent as well, but here we are as they say….. The actual reason I want to write about this visit is there was a beer that I thought was quite beautiful.
I won’t write about the bar itself again, I’ve done that to death already. But, this little snack selection from Nanny Bill’s (the in-house food provider) really was rather lovely. The Aggy Fries are rosemary salted with garlic mayo, parmesan cheese, Frank’s hot sauce and spring onions. And they were beautiful, at a hot temperature and the flavours all went nicely together. Those buttermilk fried chicken strips were also beautiful as they were tender, hot, interesting and the coating had a pleasant taste. But, delightful at this was, the beer is the main part of the Goose Island show, the food and staff are just the near perfect complements to it…..
The Vermont Sticky Maple, a strong 11.3% ABV imperial stout from The Bruery, from Placentia which is in Orange County, in a region of California that I know very well and is perhaps one of the areas of the world that I love the most. Anyway, my reminding myself that I love California to one side, this is a rich and interesting beer.
The Orange Line beer from Goose Island themselves, a New England IPA with tropical fruit running all the way through it, a lovely light flavour that would go well on a summer day in Maine. A smooth taste and packed with hops although I didn’t get the “flavour of straw” that one person decided they got from this. What flavour does straw have anyway?
And the shining light of the evening, the Escape Pod Cherry Edition from Pressure Drop Brewing, a small brewery from Tottenham in London. This was quite magical, with rich and smooth flavours of chocolate, vanilla and cherry, and strong aromas of cherry. As may already be evident, there was no shortage of cherry here. A deep mouthfeel with that velvet sort of texture that these imperial stouts can bring, with no harshness from the 10% ABV. The aftertaste was balanced and decadent, a lovely alternating taste of chocolate and cherry. It was like a Christmas chocolate and very memorable, one of the best beers that I’ve had. Quite marvellous.
As ever, the staff at Goose Island were friendly, engaging and knowledgeable. The bar was clean, the environment was laid-back and this is as far as I’m concerned one of the best bars in the world. And I am unanimous in that…..