Event Recap | Goose Island Clybourn’s Belgian Fest
Quality over quantity can be a beautiful thing for a beer festival. It seems that every festival nowadays boasts that they’ll the most breweries and the most beers. But at this past weekend’s Belgian Fest at Goose Island Clybourn, it wasn’t the number of breweries that people were talking about; it was the quality of the beer being poured.
Instead of hundreds of breweries spread throughout the brewery, Belgian Fest took place in two smaller rooms right as you walked in. There couldn’t have been more than 20 breweries represented at the festival which made for a much more close-knit group. Representatives from the breweries were present and happy to talk about what they were pouring and give you more background information on the beer.
Being a Belgian fest, it would only make sense that saisons, Belgian strongs, tripels and dubbels took center stage. If you wanted a stout, you would have been greatly disappointed.
Goose of course had a large presence there, pouring some highly sought after beers like Halia and Madame Rose. But they also were pouring some ones I had never had before. Plum Blonde and Cran-Bruin were two Belgian beers with fruit-focused flavors that were really great additions to the event.
There were some breweries that were present that you don’t see out at festivals too often. Band of Bohemia and Cruz Blanca each were pouring a nice selection of beers. Band of Bohemia’s Thai Long Saison provided a complex variety of flavors with a slight funkiness of a farmhouse ale with a unique spice blend I’m not sure I can still tell you what it was.
For me though the winner of the event was French Kiss from Marz Brewing. This saison with ginger, citrus and lemongrass was light, refreshing and provided a variety of flavors you got all in one sip. At 5.2% ABV it’s a great light beer that was perfect for an unseasonably warm fall afternoon.
Despite being a smaller festival, there was no shortage of beers to try. It was a nice change of pace to be in a smaller setting that really allowed the beers to be showcased.
A silver lining of the festival was having plenty to drink so that even watching the Bears on Sunday night was almost tolerable.