Duck… Duck…. GOOSE! (Island Clybourn Tour/Tasting)

This trip to Chicago focused on a few key points:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Seeing friends, with whom to eat and drink

That was really it. We didn’t visit the Bean. I didn’t demand a walk along the shore of Lake Michigan, and I didn’t want to see any improv comedy troupes. I wanted to eat and drink my way through the city.  And, luckily, my friends came through. Big time.

All the Geese.

All the Geese.

For half my trip, I stayed with my buddy that I’ve known approximately forever: Caitlin. The most seasoned of my Chi-town buddies, she’s been living in the Windy City for over a year now, and hadn’t visited Goose Island’s Clybourn Brewpub yet. That obviously had to be remedied.

Dirty bird.

Dirty bird.

On Saturday, Caitlin, her husband, and I bundled up and head over for a “tour” and a guided tasting. I toss the “tour” in quotations because, much like the Brooklyn Brewery “tour”, it was mostly an opportunity to stand inside of a room in which pieces of the brewing process go down but, since it’s a small area, there’s not an actual tour, more of a lecture from someone knowledgeable. In our case, it was Brad Dessy, former member of the DePaul Men’s a Cappella and generally handsome bearded brew dude.

Glowing with pride (and also probably because I'm still not that great at using my camera.)

Glowing with pride (and also probably because I’m still not that great at using my camera.)

After a mini crash course in how beer’s made (because, as he admitted, people who don’t brew don’t care, and those who do brew already know how it’s made), Brad touched on what made this Chicago Island beer so great.

  • They use water STRAIGHT from Lake Michigan, 5 gallons of water for every one gallon of beer.
  • Goose Island is Chicago’s oldest functioning brewery
  • Goose Island’s head brewers intended to bring British styles of beer to Chicago, modeling off of post-Prohibition-style beers.
  • They produce enough beer to make one new beer a week, debuting on Thursdays (in case you’re in town.)
  • Goose Island’s brew pubs were not included in the acquisition of Goose Island by AB In Bev, so they continue to hold tight to the “craft beer” status. Sweet.
  • Goose Island is very proud of their work with cask ale. We didn’t try any of this, so I can’t speak to the quality, but Brad seemed stoked about it, and if you can’t trust a male a cappella singer who brews beer, who CAN you trust?
  • In the summer, they work with local farmers from the Farmers’ Market to create all sorts of crazy collaboration beers, mixing peaches, honey, spices, truffles, hot peppers, and peas into beer.  Noted, I’ll have to head back some summer!!


I’d already enjoyed a Star Cluster IPA before/during the “tour”, and noticed the brew pub was still dolled up for the holidays as we walked up to the tasting.  No surprise, we went from Light to Dark in our beers.

Let's do this!

Let’s do this!

(In case you’re wondering, that’s a Hop Zilla original shirt, made by my buddy Robin for me for this year’s GABF. Be jealous.)

The beers we tried included:

  • Shine On (a saison/farmhouse style ale)
  • Loud and Thirsty (a dortmunder lager that I hated)
  • Caber Toss Wee Heavy (we all wore kilts when we tasted this scotch ale)
  • Voyager IPA (a delicious IPA that I was quite fond of tasting)
  • Honest Stout (Tasty, but nothing to write home about)
  • Liquid Inspiration Stout (mmm roasted malty and great)

The “guided tasting” got a little wacky by the end, as I noticed that many people stopped paying attention (maybe they were already drunk? I saw a few ladies throwing back Bloody Marys and mimosas pre-“tour”). Also, it was clear that the room was a little big for Brad to handle all at once, but his efforts were admirable.

Perhaps he should’ve sang to us?

ANYWHO, for $10, we enjoyed a little new knowledge about Goose Island, 6 beer tastings, and a lovely pint glass to take home.

And who doesn’t enjoy a little afternoon buzz?

Not us. We love that style of buzz.

Not us. We love that style of buzz.

We bundled back up to venture out into the cold once again. And, even though it’s been about four days since this tour…. I still think my bones are thawing.

What crazy ingredient would you put into your Farmer’s Market series beer??

Has anyone brewed with broccoli?


Six Pack Sunday: The Science of Beer

Happy Sunday, ladies and gentlemen!

It’s been an absolutely fantastic weekend, though not long enough (honestly, when are they ever?)  I got to visit the beau in Manayunk for some significant other loving. We made candy corn pancakes, we watched football, we dominated in beer pong survived playing beer pong (read: thank goodness for Ry’s years in a fraternity that played BP compulsively, because I maybe made 2 cups the entire night), and we cuddled during Cake Boss.  Pretty much straight quality.

Before the glory of the weekend, though, there was the Science of Beer.  On Thursday night, The North Carolina Museum of Life and Science  held one of their ever-popular “Museum After Hours” events called the Science of Beer. Though I am in the process of writing a more complete description of the event for a later release, I figured I’d share a few of the sillier, more personal bits and pieces with you all.

1. Like a Kid on Christmas Eve

I was stoked for this event. Seriously antsy. I’m every marketer’s dream consumer.  All you have to do is tell me an event is sold out, or a product is limited release, and I jump at the opportunity. So yes, we may have gotten there a half hour early and waited at the door like parents outside of Target on Black Friday.  And most of the time, I was peering anxiously through the door.

Not unlike this

But we were the proud owners of the designation “First Ladies in the Doors.”  Suck on that, little kids who were also waiting to get in (for the Science of Root Beer). Teach you to challenge me.


The first station we went to (of course, after filling our tasting cups?)


If you guessed mine was the obnoxious pink one with my initials on it…. you clearly know me too well.

Melissa and I showing off our stuff

On the other side, I had a Moon sticker and made it say “I’m over the moon [sticker] for craft beer!”

I’m a class act.

3. Gender Beer Bias?

Maybe I’ve been thinking too much about chick beer but when I walked up to the “lab” and saw the sign below, I was like,


Wishful thinking?


Sadly, as I looked closer, I was disappointed to find out a) it was GENETIC beer bias and b) my genetics determined I was totally insensitive to the “bitter factor” of beer.

Couldn't even taste it.

Oh well, so I couldn’t taste bitter paper (or beer). NBD. All the more beer for me to enjoy.

4. The Most Educational Game of Beer Pong Ever

The absolute most awesome part of The Science Beer?

Beer Pong Physics?! SIGN ME UP!

Even though this weekend with the beau, we quickly realized that real beer pong might not be my forte, apparently, when it comes to the physics of the game, I’ve got it down pat.

Check out that bend in the knee.

They tracked our throws with a video and noted all the spots our ball hit to track the trajectory. SCIENCE AT IT’S FINEST!


Scientifically, I'm on point.

So there’s no real reason why I shouldn’t sink every cup.  That’s just a scientific fact, right there.  Both Melissa and I sunk our cups, allowing us the honor of putting our names on the Wall of Fame.


5. Why Aren’t Beer Cans What They Used to Be?

Beer cans through the ages!

The folks at the Rusty Bunch brought an intimidating amount of beer cans to show the evolution over time.  I definitely found a favorite:

PBR can the size of my skull? Sure.

I’m currently working with the folks at PBR to bring this one back.

I’ll let you know if I make any progress.

6. Food Truck FIESTA!!

This was for the two of us.

The Rasta from Will and Pop’s (jerk chicken, pepper jack, and mango chutney grilled sandwich), Porkedamame Dumplings from Chirba Chirba (spell-check may be needed for that last one) and, the coup de gras, from Valentino’s , pale ale battered jalapeno poppers stuffed with mozzarella and NORTH CAROLINA BBQ!! Jalapeno poppers might be the fried food of my dreams. I imagine, in Heaven, all foods will be served like appetizers. And jalapeno poppers will be used as a palate cleanser.

Every bite of this meal, split between Melissa and me, was divine. I promise, it wasn’t just the beer talking. It was the most indulgent meal I’ve had in recent history but worth every messy, drippy, fried bite.

Note the Rapture of my face? That's popper induced rapture.

It was, in a word, BEERTASTIC!

And, in a less made-up word: paradise.

For a craft beer lover, for a food truck lover, and a fan of all things Triangle, it was just paradise.

How was your weekend?

Have you ever been to an after hours event at a local museum?  

I get the feeling that I’ll be signing myself right up for the Science of Wine in February…


Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival in Cary

Good morning and happy weekend all!!

I’m writing to you from a comfortable couch after sleeping on a less-than-comfortable floor…. ah, the life of a Triangle Nomad, right?

It was more than worth it though, as last night was the Beer, Bourbon, and BBQ Festival in Cary, NC!

This was the second year in a row I’ve attended the festival, both celebrating (a day later) my beau’s birthday!  We had a killer groupon deal for it, and joined two of our buddies, Claire and Taylor, for the festivities.

Even though we got there half an hour before the doors opened, there was still a line.  Luckily, we were toward the front (whew).

Oi vay, lots of thirsty folks!

Luckily, we had entertainment in the form of some classy zydeco music.

Nothing classier than overalls in front of a moving van, right?

They actually ended up letting the “will-call” ticket holders in about 5 minutes before the Groupon holders, which was pretty lame in my book. That being said, by the time we got in, there was a lotta beer to go around.


You can see Taylor’s sweet lanyard on the right there, which perfectly held our tasting glasses when we didn’t feel like holding them ourselves.  It was a nice enabler to my laziness, I have to say.

There was some awesome drinks there:

Offerings from Blue Point Brewery

Outstanding cocktails made with St. Germain elderflower liqueur

There were some…. less than tasty drinks there:

Hey! That's not beer, bourbon, OR BBQ... but it is Burnett's.

The BBQ was off the chain (and included with the Groupon!!)

A full plate of deliciousness!! Pork, beans, a roll, and coleslaw!

And we had a lot of laughs.

RELEASE THE KRACKEN! (and I basically wore that eye patch all night).

We even found some other beer buddies in the area.

Oh, hey LaurPo!

We had Zingo come and pick us up/drive my car back to Taylor’s house for a little late night swimming.

I also have a bit of a confession. When I’m surrounded by the possibility of coming home with free stuff…. I kinda go a little crazy.

So. Much. Swag.

  • 6 temporary tattoos
  • Heavy Seas Eye patch
  • Absolut Vodka bar mat
  • Malibu Rum bar mat
  • Palms Sticker
  • Lanyard and tasting glass
  • 3 koozies
  • a little baggy of hops!
  • 1 flashlight keychain
  • 2 bottle opener keychains
  • a Magic Hat sticker
  • a Magic Hat condom (get it…. a “magic hat”! — That’s what the Magic Hat rep told us.)
  • And an Iron Man shirt…. in a boys medium. Yeah that may have been from the pool later. Sorry, little man. Don’t leave your things lying around.  Creeps might pick em up.  Creeps like me.

Since we lived it up and dined/drank like royalty last night, I’m off to a pilates class at noon. I’m nervous…. Wish me luck!