Robb Report Vices

Brewery Profile: Goose Island

  • Jordan Breindel

When John Hall opened the Goose Island brewpub in Chicago in 1988, he joined an elite club of just 124 craft brewers. Today, that number has ballooned to nearly 2,000. But before such a vast number of American beer drinkers developed an appetite for flavorful, handcrafted brews, Hall found inspiration in the regional beers of Europe, as well as in the glistening waters of Lake Michigan. After all, many European brews became classics precisely because their flavor profiles fit so well with the minerality of the local water. Goose Island has achieved considerable popularity throughout the Midwest, especially in the Chicago area, with such beers as its 312 Urban Wheat Ale and its Honker’s Ale, while its vintage and bourbon-barrel-aged varieties are favorites among microbrew connoisseurs far and wide. (




Sparkling and floral, Sofie is a champagne-colored saison ale fermented with orange peel and aged in second-fill wine barrels. Its creamy body gives way to an array of citrus, green apple, fresh grass, and spice.


Style: Saison

ABV: 6.5%

Price: $8.99/22 oz.

Availability: Year Round


An intoxicating mix of chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, and char, Bourbon County Stout pours a syrupy midnight black with mocha-colored foam. This bourbon-barrel-aged imperial stout deserves to be sipped and savored.


Style: Imperial Stout

ABV: 14.5%

Price: $4.99/12 oz.

Availability: Limited Release


A darker take on the traditional saison, Pepe Nero is a porterlike dark ale with a Belgian twist. Brewed with black malt and peppercorns, the nutty, slightly sweet beer boasts a roasted quality and a surprisingly effervescent pour.


Style: Saison

ABV: 6%

Price: $8.99/22 oz.

Availability: Year Round