Editors note: Oh man are we growing! We’ve hit our thousandth visitor on the blog this week and I couldn’t be happier. So everyone who reads this, grab a brew and raise your glass in celebration, it’s been a great run so far. We’re also trying to give you guys more to read on a daily basis, thus the new feature Brew for Thought. Brew for Thought will run every Thursday and focuses on the history of some great Midwest beers (it might get autobiographical and a tad bit sentimental as well, sorry). Cheers, and thanks for reading!
I’ve gone back and forth with what beer to feature for our first Brew for Thought feature, and frankly, it can’t really be any other beer for me. I haven’t had a Goose Island 312 in well over a year now (no thanks to Pitchfork Music Festival and their rather annoying switch from the Goose to swill), but it’s a taste I won’t forget.
312 is not the best beer ever, it’s overall grade on Beer Advocate fluctuates between C+ and B-, but that’s not what matters. 312 is a solid overall product, a strong, refreshing taste that really embodies Chicago’s tendency to experience all four seasons in one afternoon (it’s also named after the Loop’s area code). It turned me on to beer, which in hindsight seems like it shouldn’t have been that difficult, and made me believe that someone really cared about that beer I was drinking (I feel that way when I see the Chicago skyline, for real and on the bottle).
312 is an American pale wheat ale, complimented nicely by its four medals from the Great American Beer Fest. It doesn’t stand out, but it doesn’t need to. All the sweet flavors hit and then subside, keeping each new sip distinct from the last. It can double as a lager-substitute, and then be paired with a hamburger right off the grill. There’s really nothing like it on a hot day at Montrose Harbor.
It’s only been around for a few years, I remember first seeing it in 2007? Maybe sooner? It has been the workhorse of Goose Island, keeping casual drinkers extremely happy and allowing them to experiment with what they do best: belgian ales. And who could ever forget the second most epic wager of all time next to mine and Brian’s yesterday?
Best enjoyed: Nice and cold, and don’t be afraid to knock a couple back. The summers are short in Chicago, enjoy them to their fullest.
Food pairing: Goose Island recommends fish or buffalo mozzarella. I recommend a really great margarita pizza made with buffalo mozzarella. Or grilling, but if you’re going to drink 312, no ketchup allowed.
Where to find it: Practically everywhere in the Midwest. I heard Goose Island’s even selling their beer in England now. Bold move, but fortune favors the bold.