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TGIF: Craft Beer Salute of the Week

Matilda tap pull for Goose IslandGoose Island is the only island on the Chicago River in Illinois. It was settled by squatting Irish immigrants in the mid-1800’s. The island and the squatters where as migratory as the birds that also inhabited it. Polish and German immigrants soon followed, giving way to many taverns and bars popping up everywhere. This became a real center of activity for the residents and hence the origin of the Goose Island Brewery’s name–a very fitting tribute to this early enclave.

Chicago is the home of gangster Al Capone battling away during prohibition. I feel like I need to thank him, is that wrong? Anyhoo, this bustling metropolis experienced a huge shift in architectural design after the Great Chicago Fire in 1781, but especially so when it was chosen to host the World’s Fair: Columbian Exposition in 1893. This event single-handedly relocated many of the most iconic architects known at the time to Chicago, including Frederick Law Olmsted, famed founder of American landscape architecture and designer of that little known park in New York City, Central Park. A very interesting nonfictional account of this can be read in the novelistic styled, The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. Soooooooooo  so good and a must read if you haven’t already!  Chicago is also the home of famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, whose imprint can be seen throughout Illinois, as well as, many other states in the country. P.S.- There’s an app for that, aka the WRIGHT Guide, which has a complete catalog of Wright designed homes. One last note, if you’re in the area on a Sunday, make sure to check out Chicago’s vintage flea market, the Vintage Bazaar.

Time for the beer!  Goose Island founder, John Hall, had his beer light bulb go off while reading an article about “boutique beers” in a Delta Sky magazine during a flight delay. I love this story, and immediately imagine the the letter to the editor: “Dear Delta Sky Magazine, I would like to thank Delta for the flight delay and your magazine for my career change…!” Anyway, this change was heavily influenced by the distinct local brew each region had during his extensive travel through Europe.  He felt that America’s current domination of mass-produced beer left little selection and a lot of room to introduce people’s palettes to something new and local. We are exactly one month away from the 24th Anniversary of their opening, Friday the 13th of May, 1988. Lets hope today is as good of a day, eep! At least there’s beer at the end of the tunnel if today is on the more wicked side for you. So, in honor of Friday the 13th, I give you, Matilda. Insert goose honk.

They classify Matilda as one of their Vintage Ales that can develop in the bottle for up to 5 years. Not sure it would last that long anywhere! It is a delicious Belgian Style Pale Ale that comes in at a nice, start your weekend off, 7% of alcohol. It pours a beautifully rich golden color with slight reddish tinting.  They describe it as “wild in character, with a slightly fruity aroma and a spicy yeast flavor that is as unique as it is satisfying – Matilda is an intriguing choice for beer and wine lovers alike. Dry and quenching, it’s the perfect accompaniment at the dining table or for casually socializing at the bar.” I chose to quote their site because it’s spot on. It has a wonderful fruity aroma and taste where the citrus dominates, but is balanced with the spicy yeast, malts, a hint of apple flavoring, and cloves. They suggest pairing this beer with fresh mussels or contrasting it with a rich pork belly, I’ll leave both of those pairings up to the reader.

Happy Friday the 13th to everyone! Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to stop by the Drill Hall Flea Market at the Arts at the Armory in Somerville this weekend to say hi! We’d love to meet our readers and customers cause, quite frankly, we love you guys!

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