lolwut. What, would Arcadia and Atwater be above it? You can make a good argument for Bells, but it wouldn't be top five? Please.
OT - Craft beer sadness
I wouldn't put either of those breweries ahead of GI. I'd say Bell's, New Holland, Founders, and Short's are all better breweries than Goose Island. Jolly Pumpkin is one of the best in the world at what they do, but they're not really a "standard" brewery, so I won't include them. I guess I'd place Goose Island somewhere behind those top 4.
I'm not sure why you (and several others) somehow took this to be some sort of competition between Michgan and Illinois Beers. Founders is great, yes. Arcadia is very good, yes. I'm not a huge Bells fan at this point.
But while 312 and Honker's are, in my opinion, terrible beers, Goose Island did a number of very, very, cool things - Matilda is a really interesting, cool beer. Bourbon County Stout is possibly the most impressive single beer I've tasted out of the midwest.
What I fear is that AB is going to mass-market the beer's that are already mass-marketed, just to a great extent (Honkers, 312), and drop the more whimsical, bizarre Beers like Matilda, BCS, Sophie, etc.
"I'm not sure why you (and several others) somehow took this to be some sort of competition between Michgan and Illinois Beers. Founders is great, yes. Arcadia is very good, yes. I'm not a huge Bells fan at this point."
This is a Michigan-based message board, so people are going to make Michigan-based comparisons.
Obviously you can hold whatever opinion you want, but GI is one of the top two breweries in the midwest, and would take the top spot in Michigan going by awards won. Great Lakes is the only other one in the same ballpark.
Yes, Hopslam is a world class beer; yes I like Oberon and some of the other beers are good (I'm looking at you Java/Oatmeal Stout) but to think that Bell's has the same depth of lineup as GI is just dumb. Their Bourbon County series just dominated the 2010 scene, and the lineup at Bell's falls off significantly after Hopslam. Other than top beer for top beer, Bell's can't compete, much less the other Michigan breweries.
offers a lot of great beers other than hopslam. Their depth is actually surprisingly good, it's a little harder to find some of them outside of Kalamazoo, but they are comparable to Goose Island in how many different brews they produce.
Well maybe it's their distribution then. I can name off the top of my head the four in Bourbon County series, Nightstalker, Sofie, 312 (though that was in a made up division) and Matilda that have all taken top awards. Hopslam is probably better than any other than the Bourbon County Stout, but I haven't tasted anything of Bell's as a number two that can compare to any of the other Bourbon County's or Matilda.
As far as tasting beers goes (leaving out drinkability, I'm not going to down a twelve pack of any of these) I really love Hopslam and Third Coast Old Ale, which I somehow didn't include before. I've had most of their stuff, the Double Cream and Expedition Stouts, Third Coast, Third Coast Old Ale, Hopslam, Two Hearted Ale, Amber, Porter, Oberon, Pale Ale.
I can't think of any more at the moment but that's quite a bit of their lineup, IIRC.
Their lineup is around 22 different brews. They've also got about 15 speciality brews, but those are pretty tough to find outside their home base
I think I've covered everything I can get here, I'm headed up to Michigan hopefully for the spring game and hopefully two weeks after that. I should be able to get more in Brighton and A2 than I can here in Indiana.
But Bell's Two Hearted Ale, Porter, Expedition Stout, Double Cream Stout, and Hell Hath No Fury ale are all beers that have received accolades and I'd put them up against any other brewery
I take that back. Third Coast Old Ale can definitely compete, don't know why I left it out. I still don't think Bell's has the same depth GI does, but that's an opinion. I do think that the Bourbon County's from GI are far above the Double Cream (which is good) and the Expedition, and Bell's doesn't really do a themed line to match the Belgian Ales up with; it's kind of dumb, IMO, to compare a BPA and a Porter and decide which is better, kind of like saying a LB is the best recruit in the country and the best RB is number two (not saying what you said was dumb, I was doing the same thing).
You could make a case that Bell's is better than GI; I don't think that's the case but it's a reasonable argument at least. I just don't think it's a fair statement that GI would be the "fifth best" brewery in Michigan.
They're both great breweries and the flagships of midwestern craft brews IMO. They were 19th and 20th in total nationwide beer volume sales last year
I definitely do think Bell's is great. I'm really only familiar with the national "craft brews" (love me some Magic Hat 9) and the stuff from the midwest, plus New Belgium and a couple others, but I would put the overall lineup (for midwest+ New Belgium and Dogfish Head) as roughly this:
- Goose Island
- Great Lakes
- Dogfish Head
- New Belgium
Average quality of beer:
- Great Lakes
- Dogfish Head
- Goose Island
- New Belgium
Top as in major distribution or top as in quality? I live in Chicago and have a fondness for GI, but if you are drinking their standard beers (eg. not Bourbon County/Matilda/Sophie) you can't really claim they outquality places like Founders. I think Great Lakes is the only major Midwest brewery that has been able to split the difference neatly between wide distribution and quality product, although saying that I still drink Bells down here whenever it is on tap and on the first warm day I can smuggle beer out to the beach.
The only GI "session beers" are 312 and Honker's, which shouldn't be considered more than they are- higher quality alternatives to Bud Light or Coors or Blue Moon or something similar.
Everything else they produce is on par with Sofie or Matilda (which pains me to say because Matilda is far better than Sofie, but that's another point).
Edit: Green Line is a "get drunk" beer too. I live outside the city limits and can't get it at home though, so I completely forgot its existance for a minute.
Look at how Miller "improved" Lowenbrau.
The Reinheitsgebot doesn't prevent them from skimping on malt or hops. It does prevent them from replacing malt with non-malted grains.
I personally don't think using non-malted grains is a big deal, as long as you're not skimping on the total amount of grains and on the hops.
I will be drinking a Summit IPA. I live up here in Minneapolis and Summit is a GREAT brewery. The IPA is my favorite....very bitter. If any of you come here for the Frozen Four, be sure to try it. There's another growing micro-brewery, Surly, that also makes some amazing beers.
The best beer I've tried in recent years was out in NE Washington, near Idaho, and I tried a Vindicator IPA from Idaho. Not as hoppy as my Summit, but extremely tasty!
Edit: My mistake...I wrote "Summit IPA"...while this is also good, it's the Summit Extra Pale Ale (as pictured) I love so much!
And it is. Better than GI. But if you want to talk about good craft beer, drink founders (kbs, kaiser curmudgeon, pale ale, really anything really) or dark horse and shorts. Good beer
I love Bell's and Goose Island in general, but I'm sorry, German hefeweizens absolutely blow American wheat beers out of the water, and there is no comparison. We shouldn't feel badly about that -- Germans have been making essentially the same beers for hundreds of years (mainly due to the Reinheitzgebot Purity Law) and have basically perfected what they do.
All that being said, American beers are becoming great because of their creativity and innovation, and Goose Island is as much a part of that as anybody else. Their IPA is one of my favorite IPA's out there, and their Mild Winter and Summertime are two of my favorite seasonals. I hope this buyout doesn't change anything about them other than whatever corporate behind-the-scenes bullshit is involved.
I agree with others on here that find 312 to be good, but nothing special. I'm happy to occasionally see it on tap in bars, as it is sometimes the right taste for the right moment. But stacked up against other available wheat beers, there's nothing that sets it apart.
As for Oberon... it continues to be a favorite, and I'll probably drink my share of it this summer. But once again, there are many wheat fine beers to be had. To drink Oberon exclusively (as I did for 2-3 years awhile back) is depriving me of the other wheat beer goodness available to me!
I dont know why everyone isnt mentioning Bud Light Wheat its so...terrible. I hate that stuff. One of my friends asked me if the 312 I was drinking one day tasted like Bud Light Wheat and I almost hit him. I really do like Goose Island. Another good beer is Upland. Its based in Bloomington and since Im at IU its available and there Wheat Beer is awesome. Thats would have to be my favorite wheat beer. It has a lighter flavor and is great for a hot summer day
Does anyone know when Summer Ale is coming out? That's the beer I'm anxiously looking forward to.
Goose Island Summertime Kolsch? Should be out already or making its way through the distribution chain to your local store. This is always handy for Goose's beers:
Goose Island can be to Busch as Focus Features is to Universal.
The Pere Jacques, IPA and Matilda are fantastic. Hopefully the investment allows them to produce at the capacity they need to and not much changes with the beer.
Interesting fact- the people who started New Holland and Founder's breweries were Fraternity brothers at Hope College. Another reason why that Christian liberal arts degree is so valuable... :-)
evil people destroying good beer whether from IL or MI
Tyranena Shaggin' in the Woods Scotch Ale.
I'm not saying it's the best beer...I'm just sayin'.
Unfortunately, New Glarus only distributes in Wisconsin and has openly said they have no plans to ever go anywhere else. They used to distribute some in Chicago back in the day but have long since pulled their beer back behind the cheddar curtain.
Believe me, there would be a lot of happy campers if they decided to start distributing out of state again.
Craft beer sadness. Military intelligence.
Does not compute.
Nah, I feel your pain - Goose Island, IRRC, was just a single outpost in the days when the Clybourn Corridor had a kind of creepy apocalyptic look (before the multiplex went in). Those were good days.
You do recall correctly. The nighttime walk from Goose Island back to the El was a crapshoot at best.
Guys, take it from somebody who works indirectly with AB, they will cover distribution and probably marketing, but they will leave the brewing/recipies to Goose Island themselves. The fact is, AB is very successful at most things they do, so I wouldn't be too worried with them messing with an already successful brand.
BTW, I was a server at Goose Island back in 1995; they ushered in my kraft-beer love and, accordingly, I have a special place on my pallet for them and yet I remain unworried that AB acquired them.
It really all depends on how Anheuser decides to handle the brewery. The difference between craft beers and major production ones isn't so much the recipe as it is the quality of the grain and hops and yeast they use. There is a chance, for example, they could decide the brewery would be more lucrative in the event that they find ways to cut grain costs, thereby lowering the value of the flavor of the malt. If this is the case, nobody will buy Goose Island anymore. I doubt they are dumb enough to do that.
I love New Glarus beers. The apple ale was my favorite, but almost never available.
I have tried to love the Bell's Two Hearted Ale, having camped and fished on the river, enjoying the Hemingway reference and the brook trout label, but, for some reason, the taste does not appeal to me.
The local microbrews in Hawaii are only fair. I usually drink imports, mostly Spaten Oktoberfest which I can get year round here. God knows why- hopefully not because it has been sitting around for a year.
Goose Island has been crap for years.
This is bad news considering what AB did to Rolling Rock. Shut down most of their processing plants and brewing it in the big AB factories with the rest of the Buds, ice bud, bud light, ice bud light, bud light ice, etc.
With all the craft-brewery acquisitions, I recommend you read the label before you buy your next favorite craft-brew.