2 O'Clock Tasting
Goose Island's Four Sisters

It's quickly apparent on any visit to Chicago that you've arrived in a Goose Island town. And while Honker Ale and the super-citrusy 312 might be on almost every tap in the city, they're only a small part of their quickly evolving (and often slowly aging) line of increasingly complex beers. We've touched on Goose Island before (see our first Goose Island 2 O'Clock Tasting), but today we're unpacking our new Beer Tasting Set and filling its glasses with the brewery's four "Sisters." Brewed with fresh fruits and aged in wine barrels with wild yeast, the Sisters mark Goose Island's strongest foray into sour ales, which we love. Halia and Gillian are its newest arrivals, and we poured them alongside Juliet and Lolita for a mighty tart 2 O'Clock Tasting. For more on the brewery, check out the Goose Island profile in our new book Make Some Beer: Small Batch Recipes from Brooklyn to Bamberg. In it we visit their barrel warehouse and brew up a Rum Barrel Porter inspired by their famous Bourbon County Stout.
  1. Halia

    7.5% ABV

    Pouring a bright, summer straw with just a slight what haze, this beer gives off aromas of sour apples and our favorite candy, Sour Patch Kids. And the sour just kept on coming: we imagined it to be a beer-meets-kombucha, collaboration, thanks to its extra-sour, yet slightly fruity, taste. We detected hints of pineapple and stone fruit, thanks to its aging process over whole peaches in white wine barrels. Despite a mild mouth-puckering taste, we still believe it to be a refreshing beer we'd want to drink in warm weather.

  2. Gillian

    9.5% ABV

    Gillian, a lightly spicy little number, was brewed with white pepper, strawberries, and honey. Gillian's color was so close to the Halia, but slightly darker and hazier. This time, the beer gave off a distinct aroma of strawberries and honeysuckle, but with a funky kick. All of the resident micro flora and wild bacteria leftover in the wine barrels are definitely our friends here. And like its sister Halia, the beer was just as sour, with a floral, peppery twist, thanks to the addition of the white pepper. Gillian tasted slightly more wild than Halia, a variation we very much liked.

  3. Lolita

    8.7% ABV

    Lolita’s color immediately drew us in, reminding us of the orange honey we sometimes put in our tea. Lolita is fermented with our favorite wild friend, Brettanomyces and aged on whole raspberries in wine barrels, which lent to a very strong raspberry aroma, reminding us of a classic framboise. While some of the raspberry carried over to the flavor, the alcohol content instead gave us a bit of a syrupy aftertaste.

  4. Juliet

    8.0% ABV

    Much like Lolita, Juliet poured a similar dark honey color. But its aroma very clearly differentiated itself from its sisters. Blackberries? Blue cheese? Yep, Juliet had it all upon first sniff. We were pleasantly surprised by its bold, sour flavor, nearly bordering on a sea salt quality.