If you are a beer aficionado, you know the name Goose Island. The company has moved from humble beginnings as a single Chicago-based brewpub to the international market-driven success that it has become since becoming part of the AB InBev portfolio. The brand opened its first overseas location in Shanghai in 2017 and continues to expand internationally.
In celebration of their 30th Anniversary, Chicago brewer Matt Weinert came to team up with Shanghai’s brewmaster Fraser Kennedy on a New England-style IPA. We caught up with the two experienced, passionate brewers immediately after brew day to get the scoop on the juicy, full-bodied and hazy Italian Fog – on tap at Goose Island on Maoming Lu now.
Tell us about this new beer.
FK: We are basically working on a New England hazy IPA-style beer. The idea is to use the right percentage of raw materials to create a permanent haze. We use oats to achieve a really nice and cloudy appearance. The second component of this beer is to create a huge hop aroma.
Image by Betty Richardson
Where did these raw ingredients come from?
MW: The malt is from China and the hops are from different parts of the world including Germany (Noble and Holliston), the U.S.A. (Sentinel) and New Zealand (Vic Secret). It is the blend of the different regions that give the brew its distinct character.
What is the motivation behind it?
FK: We wanted to play with some big hopping and I was excited to work with Matt because of his strong knowledge in this area that is not one of my strengths. With his suggestions for cool combinations and methods, I hope to get a massive aroma for the beer. We want to get something big and punchy.
MW: I think that Fraser is selling himself short and does just fine. He knows what he is doing.
Chicago-based Goose Island brewer Matt Weinert.
What would you say that you have brought to the table then, Matt?
MW: One of the things that we have at our disposal in Chicago is access to our hop farm, Elk Mountain Farms, which we own. It is actually the largest continuous hops farm in the world. With craft having such an influence on breeding hops, our farmers are able to develop more unique one-off experimental hops than before. Since we get to utilize these new breeds, I may be a bit more experienced in that regard.
How would you say this beer reflects the collaboration between Shanghai and Chicago?
FK: It is definitely 95 percent Chicago influenced. Shanghai is represented due to local consumer preference for a soft bitterness and a more complex malt profile. We wanted to make this type of beer palatable to a Chinese audience and building flavors with caramel malt works well for our customers’ tastes, but this beer is really all about the hops!
Brewmaster Fraser Kennedy photographed at Goose Island's Maoming Lu Brewhouse.
What foods will work best with it?
MW: You either want to complement or contrast flavors. On the complementary side, try going more fruity and sweet, because the beer will be bitterer. To contrast, I always like hopped IPAs with strong competing flavors such as a really funky blue cheese or a lot of spice as lighter bodied IPA cuts through big and fatty flavors really well.
FK: Classic American food always goes well with classic American beer so try a greasy cheeseburger, pizza or wings.
See listing for Goose Island Brewhouse.