Dispatches from Chicago, a 50 dollar beer

14 Apr


I have an admission, I love to travel but hate to fly. Really, I hate fucking turbulence. Miranda is wonderfully kind to me as I gripped her leg as the plane bounced around while it circled O’Hare but the plane finally landed safe and once I came down from all the endorphins dumped into my bloodstream, I was hungry!

Off we went to the Girl and the Goat. Yes, there is a whole section of the menu with goat meat. I got the goat empanadas and all I can say is hell this is good! As we’re the green beans in fish sauce, scallops with brown buttered kimchee, and the pig face (yes face) with a fried egg. Hungry yet? Food is always part of the conversation when talking about beer, but let’s get to my first beer.

So, we arrived at the Girl and the Goat and the hostess said ” there will be a one and a half hour wait”. Not what someone in my condition wants to hear but luck was on our side and spot opened up at the bar. We order some damn good house made bread and I order a brown ale from Half Acre. Half Acre was the only beer from Chicago on the tap list, while I will be visiting the brewery and talking about them more, I had to start local. It was a very good American brown. This medium bodied ale had a strong spicy hop profile, what you would expect from an English brown, just more of it. Also, why I classified this beer as an American brown is the complete lack of any diacyl butteriness. Great beer, served a bit too cold but I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Now to the beer of the night, I was thinking about ordering a 3 Floyds alpha king pale but noticed a small asterisk, *ask you server about the collaboration ale between Stephanie Izard (the chief of the Girl and the Goat) and 3 Floyds. Well, we asked. They collaborated to produce a Scottish ale, which they aged for three years in bourbon barrels over sour cherries. When all things were said and done, only 81 (750mL) bottles were produced. Rarity almost always equals expensive. This was no exception. A mind still addled by endorphins and more importantly an awesome wife, I ordered a 50 dollar bottle of beer called Cabrito, number 19 of 81 to be exact. Now being rare and expensive have absolutely nothing to do with quality, so would this be an epic mistake? Happily the answer is no. A wonderful nose of rich malt, bourbon, vanilla and just a hint of coconut. This translated directly to the flavor, with a hint of smoke from the barrel and some earthiness. Contrary to what one might think, what made this beer epic was how reserved the flavors were. Each flavor got its time to on the palette. This beer was unlike many other barrel aged beers where the flavors are so intense, one glass is enough. If I didn’t have a budget for this trip I would have order another Cabrito.

A few sips into this beer, still without a seat in the restaurant, this beer just had to be paired with food, so we got the dessert menu. Now chocolate or cheese? It may be obvious but we went for chocolate but this was no ordinary beer and chocolate pairing. The dessert was a bittersweet chocolate cake with a toffee creme fraiche and ice cream made with one special ingredient – shiitake mushrooms. The combination of the flavors from the beer, the lightly sweet chocolate and the intense earthiness of the mushroom made one of the best beer/food pair I have ever had! We actually got our table just as the dessert was served and our wonderful server, Jill, let us quietly and thoroughly enjoy our beer, cake and ice cream before ordering and absolutely mauling our dinner.

Chicago, first night and the bar for both food and beer has been set very high, its going to be hard but please don’t let me down, we still have seven beer drinking days to go.


3 Responses to “Dispatches from Chicago, a 50 dollar beer”

  1. Brian April 14, 2013 at 12:51 PM #

    Shiitake mushroom ice cream? I want to go to there. The beer sounded good too…

    • Michael April 14, 2013 at 4:36 PM #

      You would have loved that place. Pig face with a fried egg on top. Nuff said.


  1. Half Acre: twin taprooms | taphandle - April 16, 2013

    […] if you ask me, as an English barleywine is a sweeter beer style in general. This aside, unlike the Cabrito, the flavors of the King of Prussia were big and powerful; vanilla, bourbon, rich sweet malts and […]

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