Belgian Fest really is the quintessential Sunday afternoon beer festival. It’s loud, action packed and boisterous. The vibe is good, and there are no crazy lines crazy lines for beer. The taplist was an assortment of the unique one-off beers that Goose Island does better than any crew in town. The brew that really changed the way I looked at GI was Scully. I had it 2yrs ago at FOBAB. It’s an insane white pepper and strawberry saison aged in wine barrels. Scully (now renamed to Jillian) was one of the highlights at Belgian Fest. It was run through a filter loaded with honeycomb and strawberry! YES! Samples of the homemade Sorbet by Renee Gabbett were on display as well. It was this strawberry and white pepper sorbet that inspired the beer. Goose also invited 16 other local breweries to the party. Here’s a look at some of the beers we remember drinking:)
Agua Fresca GI
A watermelon wit 5% brewed with green coriander, orange peel and watermelon from Green Acres Farm in Judson, IN It may have been the most mentioned beer of the day. One of those experiences that left me not wanting to analyze it much. I ended up simply saying to myself ” Wow how the f*%k did they do this!”
Barrel Aged Amaro Amo GI
Belgian Dubbel 6.8% This is the Jared Rouben collaboration with Amanda Rockman from Balena. Inspired by bitters, they took cherries and aged them in bourbon for 4 months to create what was my personal favorite on the day.
Sunday In Saigon Half Acre
Half Acre changed my life forever last summer at Belgian Fest with Long Thai Rainbow Rye. Mike Carroll was pouring so I had to congratulate him on his WGN ‘Chicago’s Very Own’ ad. Sunday In Saigon is a saison meant to compliment a Thai dish. Brewed with Lemongrass and Thai Basil this beer takes you on a ride. It’s unique, sweet and spicy profile made it one to remember.
Sofie w Orange Blossom Water, Basil and Lemon Balm GI
This is the remix to the ale that converted my ex girlfriend from Heineken and Corona drinker to craft beer lover. The Sophie impact was so intense that she started her own craft beer journey. She is now the President of Chicago Girls Pint Out (true story)
It’s Juliet Aged in Buffalo Trace Bourbon Barrels!!!! Yep, that is really all that needs to be said. Haven’t seen this gem since the Chi Beer Week press event back in spring at Haymarket.
Beljuice Dynamite Belgian IPA Rock Bottom Chicago
I love this beer. Even more excited that my man Davin Bartosch is now Brewmaster at the Chicago location. I’m a huge fan of his work, but could only access his beers at festivals. Unfortunately we never make it out to the Warrenville location.
5 Lizard 5 Rabbit
This 2011 GABF Gold Medal Winner was the 1st beer of the day for me. Whenever I leave town (Darkness Day, beer runs to Wisconsin) I take my lucky 5 Rabbit snifter with me. That’s just the way it is. Shout to Issac, Randy, Andres and Sonia. Their brewery is set to open near Midway Airport in November.
Tripel With Roses GI
Jillan was the 1st keg to blow in the main festival room. It was replaced by this Belgian Tripel. The quote of the day was from my pal Chris Schwigen. Chris rested his hand on my shoulder and goes ” Nik have you tried Laffler’s Tripel…it is magical!!” Well said Chris, and I couldn’t have agreed more.
The party never stops but summertime is special. We see all our favorite people every weekend at huge parties. This is something we are going to miss as season change. Goose has delivered some classic moments these past few months. The Harvest Ale Dock Party, the Gran Gås Release, their killer Urban Block Party and Belgian Fest to name a few. It’s been a blast, man! They have really set the standard for how to party in this town.