You see that logo above? Brings a sense of reverence, nostalgia and salivary excitement to me eyes. Know why? If not then find some Goose Island and quaff in joyful bliss, cuz brothers and sisters, the stuff is the shit!
I received a phone call from my Mother the other day. You know those calls were the person on the other end of the line, no matter how well you know them or how long it’s been since you’ve spoken sounds like they are about to deliver bad news? Like, “I’m so sorry to have to tell you this but so-and-so died this morning” bad news? Well, that was the tone of my mother’s voice and within the time it took her to say ‘Hi’ and ask how I was I’d become positive she was about to tell me someone I know/love had died.
Then she told me Goose Island Brewing Company had been sold to *choke* Anheuser-Busch.
I thought about this for a moment. Honestly it did feel a bit like a death – not a major friend’s or close family member’s, but… let’s say it was on par with finding out an acquaintance absent ten years from my life but never far from my memories or heart had died. Goose Island… man, we shared some great times…
You get it.
A couple days later and honestly, I’m torn. Goose Island beer has been my favorite beer for years; I don’t get to drink it much anymore (no distro in California, or at least not in LA), however, every year when I go home to visit I practically buy stock in them. And now…
Well, at least I’ll probably be able to get it in my new home town soon. That’s one good thing, right?
I puttered around with different types of beer in my early/mid-twenties, however, having been a pothead for years before beginning to cultivate my taste for beer I really just did not get good beer at first – god help me I can still remember circa 1997 when Corona was a ‘good beer’ to me*. Goose Island’s Honker’s Ale came in right about the time I became serious about my drinking** and helped cast my palette, and for that it will remain, regardless of frequency, the root of my current tastes and thus, my favorite. To see the company climb from a start-up to a major force to be reckoned with in the Midwest (do you get it on the East Coast?) beer distribution scene has been something of a thrill, perhaps not unlike seeing the hometown kid work his way through the farm system and eventually take his major league team to the Series. But the idea that they finally gave in…
Yet again, now I will be able to, hopefully sooner rather than later, get Goose Island beer in LA. Think positive thoughts, right?
One great compromise is that although the beer has been sold the two*** Goose Island bar/restaurants on the North side of the city are remaining under local control. I’m not one-hundred percent sure how this deal breaks down, but that is an encouraging factor. I love those places – one of the highlights of my time spent in the Chicago band scene was playing at one of them with my band The Yellow House, complete with comp pints of Honkers and some of their unbelievable grub. Seriously, if you’re living in Chicago and you have not been to a Goose Island, you owe it to yourself to remedy that sooner rather than later.
All in all I guess this is an event that – like everything else in life, especially life in this backwards/forwards corporate world – is a bit of a conundrum. Pros and cons, pluses and negatives, etc. etc. I just pray (and there’s no way they will) change any of the recipes for the beers I love so much.
Raise a glass to Goose Island – partially in memorandum and partially in expectation for the future.
And now that the soliloquy is over, let’s get drunk!!!
* Although in a pinch a couple of ice cold Coronas on a really hot Chicago day is not necessarily a bad thing. Especially not after Mr. Brown developed a grand technique whereby you put them in the freezer until just before freezing and then add a couple of drops of lime juice – instant Corona slushy from the bottom up!
** Not in a Robert Shaw sorta way.
*** I’m pretty sure it used to be three when I moved, what happened?