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Event Recap | Goose Island Stout Fest

Event Recap | Goose Island Stout Fest
Mike Zoller

As the weather in Chicago turns towards Spring, Goose Island Clybourn’s Stout Fest is looked at as the unofficial end to stout season. Craft beer lovers descended upon the Clybourn brew pub for Stout Fest on March 13th and were treated to a seemingly never-ending array of stouts from some very well-known breweries.

Stout Fest this year took up the entire brew pub which allowed for more breweries and a greater selection of stouts. Despite the rain outside, the sold out event filled up quickly but never seemed to be too crowded too move. While some of the more hyped-up beers had lines, there was always a stout nearby you could grab.

Aquanaut Brewing Co.
Photo Credit: Erick Dirksen

Here were some of our favorites: 

Brewers’ Choice Award

Attendees were encouraged to vote for their top three breweries at the festival. The winner was Spiteful Brewing which brought its FoBAB award-winner Malevolence: Chocolate Caliente in a cask. The very small cask kicked quickly and was a popular one to get right away when the doors opened. Spiteful also had Nitro G.F.Y. Stout for the crowds. It’s been a great year for Spiteful that took home several awards at FoBAB and capped it off with the Stout Fest award. 

My Favorites

There was no shortage of amazing stouts at this festival. However, three stood out to me as my favorites from the afternoon.

Proprietary from Goose Island Clybourn had everyone at the festival talking. This stout made with toasted coconut reminded people of 2013 Proprietors (yes there’s a difference). It wasn’t the rage early on in the event, but once word started spreading of it’s taste it kicked quickly. Not being barrel-aged it was incredibly smooth and the coconut flavor was very strong.

Photo Credit: Eric Dirksen
Photo Credit: Eric Dirksen

My next favorite was Coffee-Vanilla Might Meets Right from Temperance Beer in Evanston. The coffee and vanilla balance was perfect and provided a creamy and smooth taste. You got the bitterness from the coffee and then let the vanilla smooth it out. Overall it was an excellent beer that not too many people talked about. Temperance’s booth was right next to Spiteful which helped it get some added foot traffic.

Finally barrel-aged Jones Dog from Pipeworks – one part of the four-part barrel-aged series most recently released from Pipeworks this season. This milk stout is creamy and sweet and a treat to have whenever you can find it. I still have one bottle in my beer “cellar” at home so I was so happy to get it at Stout Fest. Jones Dog kicked during the afternoon so hopefully those in attendance were able to get it before it ran out.


Photo Credit: Eric Dirksen
Photo Credit: Eric Dirksen

Biggest Surprise

For me it had to be 2nd Shift Brewing out of New Haven, MO. I’ll admit I had never had 2nd Shift before but soon after the event started on more than one occasion I was told I had to check them out. They were pouring a few different stouts including their Coffee LSD, Barrel-Aged Vanilla LSD and Cats Spit. The flavors were complex, the taste was smooth and all around 2nd Shift was the biggest surprise of the festival to me. They aren’t distributing in Chicago just yet, but I hope that will change.

Photo Credit: Eric Dirksen
Photo Credit: Eric Dirksen

Mike Zoller is the Chicago Editor for Follow him on Instagram: @Chicagobeer. Follow PorchDrinking Chicago on Twitter: @PorchDrinkChi

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