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Goose Island Belgian-Style Ales

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The first Goose Island Brewpub opened its doors in Chicago in 1988, back when there were few Midwestern craft breweries. But Goose Island quickly attracted a loyal following and established a reputation for excellence. Today they offer more than 15 different brews by the bottle. The three highlighted here are all Belgian-style ales, and while they share a common theme, they are all distinctively different.

2010 Goose Island Matilda

This one has nice yeasty spice notes up front that give way to aromas of light apple and pear with a kiss of coriander. What the nose promises, the palate delivers--sweet fruit flavors highlighted by a nice touch of banana. It ports a refreshing spritz throughout with a balancing hit of citrus and orange zest. This is an elegant and eminently drinkable ale.

2010 Goose Island Pere Jacques

This ale offers a complex and evolving array of aromas with dried currant, brown sugar, sweet malt, orange liqueur and an intriguing whiff of fresh tobacco. There's an underlying sweetness (caramelized sugar) that colors the palate but is in no way cloying. This ale is filled with smooth fruit flavors of apricot jam laced with fresh huckleberry, finishing on the creamy side with very light carbonation.

2010 Goose Island Sofie

The lightest in color and stylistically the most refreshing of the three, this beer is crisp and dry, and something like a lightly sour Saison. There are hits of white pepper and spice on the floral nose with subdued citrus and fresh yeast notes. This one has lots of tiny bubbles that show good persistence and the ripe fruit flavors (orange, white grape, apple) are more dry than sweet. Soft hops and fresh grain come through on the finish--the perfect brew for spring.