Sunday 21 May 2017


It’s an indication of how full my schedule has been that even on my final day, I’m squeezing in a brewery visit. Literally on my way to the airport.

Goose Island, to be specific. I check out of my hotel and jump in a cab. There’s a bit of buggering around at Fulton Market where a lorry is blocking the street. My driver tries to take a detour around it, but only finds a dead end. After a bit of messing around we get through.

Inside the brewery, Mike Siegel comes to greet me. He has Tyler of Present Tense with him. He just happened coincidentally to be in the brewery. Nice to see him again, too.

We go down to the pilot brewery to have a taste of the test run of our next collaboration beer. It’s just about finished in primary, though still a bit yeasty. Still a bit rough around the edges, but some time in oak should knock those edges off.

I’m really interested in getting a look at the snapped brown malt Andrea Stanley (of Valley Malt) has made for the project. The corns are very unevenly coloured, some near black others as pale as pale malt.

“Usually I’d reject malt that looked like that.” Mike says. It does look a bit odd.

Mike can’t stay with us long. He has a party to show around the brewery. He leaves us at the little bar area inside the brew house. We’re free to pour whatever we fancy. So I get myself a Bourbon County Stout. “Why not?” I think.

Tyler and I have a pleasant chat about various things, including his brewery (Present Tense). Which still isn’t fully up and running. A shame, because the cask of ESB he let us try in September was lovely stuff.

When Mike has finished showing his guests around he comes the bar for a chat. And gives me a few bottles to take home, as does Tyler. I love Mike’s (literally) white label bottle which simply says in large letters “Test beer, not for sale”. No worries on that count. I plan drinking it myself.

I can’t stay too long. Got a transatlantic flight to catch. Soon another taxi is taking me along the concrete hell of the motorway to O’Hare.

I’ve a few tasks to accomplish. Like getting Andrew his bottle of Bourbon. And myself some food for the plane. I buy two sandwiches and it comes to almost $25. They aren’t even that big or particularly good. Robbing bastards. I should remember not to shop in airports.

There’s not much in the way of a bar in sight. So I make do with an Italian food place. Calamari and bourbon. That should set me up nicely for the flight.

Which it seems to do. I nod off nicely shortly into the flight, only to awake in Amsterdam with a yellow stain down the front of my shirt. Presumably from the dinner that was served.

The end of a really fun trip. Where once again I met loads and loads of people. Most of them pretty nice. Just three weeks and one day until I next cross the Atlantic. “You’re crazy, Ronald.” As Dolores always says.

Goose Island Beer Company
1800 W Fulton St,
IL 60612.
Tel: +1 800-466-7363

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