We just got back from a long weekend in Chicago that was literally jam-packed with food, fun, friends, beautiful weather, and all of the other things this incredible city has to offer. I forgot how easy Chicago is to get to and how easy it is to get around. I love it.
One of the must-do items on our list was to visit the Goose Island Beer Co. for a brewery tour. Because the brewery is a little out there, we ended up taking a quick taxi ride to ensure we were on time for our tour.
The space is in a warehouse area, and it is really hard to miss. You drive right up and see this big goose taking up the entire corner of the building.
If you’re not finished with your tap room beer, you can get it in a plastic cup to bring along for the tour, but if you are empty, don’t fret. The tour includes three sizeable tastes of beer. I liked the tour in that it was interactive and the beer tasting was split up throughout rather than saved until the end.
Our guide was funny and entertaining as he brought us through to see the brewers in action while we tasted a Goose Island IPA. I am often overwhelmed by IPAs, but I loved the pine notes in this beer. It was herbal, outdoorsy, crisp, and well-balanced.
Our tour included a stop in the Innovation Room, where new beer ideas are constantly being tested and tasted and in the wild fermentation room, where Brettanonmyces, a wild yeast strain, is used to make the beer. The yeast is so active that the room is specially designed to not let any air out. If the yeast got out, it could get into the other types of beer, eat the alcohol, and ruin them!
In this room we learned about their vintage ales and tasted one of my favorites of the weekend, their Sofie.
We ended the tour in the barrel room at Goose Island, which is just for the purpose of the tour. Their actual really big barrel room is not at the brewery. We learned about a hard-to-find favorite, the Bourbon County Stout, but didn’t taste it, since it is so hard to come by. I’ve had this beer in the past though, and it is amazing (and provides a lasting impression via a pounding headache if you have more than one).
The tour was a great value at $12, and it helped us to discover some beers we might not have tasted otherwise. I think I have been on enough brewery and winery tours to kind of know the basics and that ends up making me a little less engaged in the tour part. I’m far more interested in the tasting.