This post is part of the ongoing coverage of the 2012 Beer Blogger’s Conference. For more information on the conference, check out www.beerbloggersconference.org


After a memorable visit to Goose Island’s production facility, I was even more excited to attend the beer dinner at Goose Island Clybourn’s brewpub. We were brought to a seating area with black tablecloths and fancy silverware. I was told that the Goose Island pubs are known for good pub food, but not ‘fancy’ fare, so this was a pleasant surprise. I sat at a table with a few Chicogans so that I could talk to them a bit more about their city.

Brewmaster Brett Porter was on hand to give us an introduction into what they do and to tell us about the barrel aged beers that Goose Island has in their portfolio. Education Coordinator Suzanne Wolctott then walked us through each course. Their stories and knowledge were great, and I think that I can safely say we were big fans of them both by the end of the evening.

The courses & beers:

Goose Island Lolita
Trout and Tomoatoes: Rushing Waters trout, Iron Creek heirloom tomoatoes, local chevre and balsamic vinegar.

After a brief huddle at our table about whether to eat the fish and its skin (the verdict was yes), we dove in to this beautiful course. I tasted the tomatoes first, and they were succulent and delicious. I was surprised that the goat cheese was on the trout, but it was a fantastic match. The Lolita was bright pink, tinted by raspberries, and its tartness went with the vinegrette very well. I’ve never had Lolita before, and I have to say it was amazing.

Goose Island Matilda
Pork Belly and Pasta: Gunthorp Farms Pork Belly, House-made Pappardelle, Rosemary, Jus, Camembert Foam.

Not one to ever turn down pork belly, seeing this get put down in front of me made me instantly smile. The pork belly was well cooked, and the somewhat dry and sweet notes of Matilda cut through the fat of the dish very well. I wasn’t as much of a fan of the pasta, but it was a very nice (and unexpected) pair. I am very familiar with Matilda (as I mentioned in the last post, it was something I’d always have to ask people in other states to get) and was really surprised by its versatility with food. I may have to incorporate it more into my dinner experiments in the future.

Goose Island Juliet
Leg of Lamb: Slagel Farms Lamb, pork fat poached fingerling potatoes, haricot vert, jus.

Now come on, seriously, you’re spoiling me here. I will have lamb any day of the week so this twas just heaven. Perfectly cooked, lightly seasoned, and again, a great pair for the beer. Juliet is a rye beer made with Michigan blackberries, and aged at least 14 months. It was also reddish, and had a great tartness to it. In this course I fell in love with the lamb, but enjoyed the beer long after the course was over.

Goose Island Madame Rose
Chocolate and Cherries: Flourless chocolate cake, seedling cherries, black dog malted gelato.

You know when you see a cake that looks so rich that you’re almost afraid to take a bite? This one looked like it was going to be heavy and sticky, but was neither. Absolutely delicious chocolate and a slight hint of dark cherries made this blissful. Our table had a “moment” where we all put a forkful in our mouths and were stuck speechless, eventually putting the fork down and just staring at each other in bliss and delight. With the cherries and the Madame Rose? Even better. It was heavenly.

All in all this was one of the better beer dinners I’ve ever attended. There wasn’t a missed course, and the welcoming atmosphere was obvious. Great job, all!

Note: I would like to thank the Goose Island Clybourn staff, chefs, brewers and everyone that helped out with this event. I know the work that had to have been involved, and I think that it shows how much you care about the beer and the food. Cheers and thank you! Yours, The Beer Babe