Earlier this summer, we invited Goose Island brewmaster Brett Porter to dig into our cellar and walk us through how a few of the Chicago brewery’s Belgian-inspired ales are developing. The verdict? It’s time to pop open your 2009 vintages of Matilda, Juliet and Pere Jacques. But what will fill the cellar’s void? He’s got an answer for that, too.
BRING THESE OUT:
2009 Juliet, a Brett-spiked blackberry saison: “It’s souring nicely. There’s no hint of oxidation, and you get a lot of acidity. If you know it’s a blackberry ale, you’ll tease out the fruit, but it’s very muted. The beer’s lively because the Brett’s still kicking, but it’s starting to take over; the beer’s not going to get any better.”
2009 Matilda, a Brett-spiked Belgian pale ale: “In 2010 we started leaving a little Brett in the beer after fermentation, so this vintage will taste different than years since; the Brett has taken away the rough edges. Occasionally there’s a pumpkinlike aroma in young Matilda, but that’s gone. The beer’s a tiny bit oxidized, but not objectionably so; the note’s not papery, but more like dried stone fruit—that sweetens the beer up a bit.”
2009 Pere Jacques, a Belgian abbey ale: “I don’t like to drink this right away because it’s loaded with higher alcohol. In a fresh bottle you get banana flavors and red apple, but those esters fade over time; now, I get dried figs and apricot. We’re going to brew this sporadically; it’s one I can’t abandon because I like making it so much.”
LAY THIS DOWN
2014 Sofie, a Brett-spiked saison aged in white wine barrels with orange peel: “Sofie is partially barrel-aged, and we add Brett and the peels of 40 pounds of oranges in each cask. It ages gracefully: The citrus goes down and Brett takes over as the beer becomes funkier. You can expect this to last five years or more.”