Goose Island Brewhouse recently held a birthday party celebrating one year at their 70 The Esplanade location! Friends and fans alike were invited to join in the festivities, and enjoy a carefully curated list of beers to mark the event. Torontonicity was invited to sample some of the delicious beers, meet some of their local collaborators, and chat with the brewing team, including Brewmaster Jared Jankoski.
Goose Island Brewery began in Chicago, Illinois in the late 1980s, but opened up their brick and mortar Toronto space just last year, in an impressive historical building in the St. Lawrence Market District. Their front patio makes for great people-watching, while the back space allows for more intimate conversation surrounded by beautifully preserved red brick – a favourite aesthetic for locals.
Their interior is open-concept so guests sit amongst the many fermentation tanks, the bottle shop, and an overall bustling environment. For the birthday celebration various stations were set up, such as charcuterie and delectable bites courtesy Cheese Boutique, as well as some fundraising opportunities to support local charities: carefully choose a pair of jeans, then shred and chop them into your new favourite jorts!
The curated beer list brought together some of the brew crew’s top flavours, including their latest pinot noir barrel-aged rye saison: Brett Secale. This made for a refreshingly different summer drinking experience, because it was light enough to have more than one (who really has only one beer?), but with enough complexity to keep your palate interested in a second serving. Stone fruit notes on the nose also gave it an invitingly summer scent. Delicious!
One of Toronto’s coffee darlings were also present for the party, Station Cold Brew! These super passionate coffee brewers know their stuff, and have collaborated with Goose Island on a porter called Midnight Oil. Significantly lighter than a traditional porter (typically made with oatmeal or chocolate profiles) this felt like a refreshingly summer appropriate version. If you haven’t checked out Station Cold Brew coffee yet, Mitch from the Station Cold Brew team informed me that they’re available at various Metro and 7/11s across Toronto.
What I personally love about the Goose Island team is that they approaching brewing with and from a culinary perspective: combining various elements to create a cohesive and complimentary drinking profile for each beer that also goes well with some delicious food. On their page, you can find recipes that combine their signature beers and delicious treats – I’m thinking of trying Sofie saison with rosemary salt cheese sables! Any of the pairings sounds good enough to try for you? Comment down below and let us know!
They also have some delicious snacks available, so if you stop by and want some shareable treats I would recommend their crispy calamari. I know, not the usual recommendation, but it has great crunch, is full of flavor, and doesn’t feel heavy on the system – how they managed to create fried seafood without overloaded oil is beyond me, but it’s delicious! Feels like the perfect patio dish for a sunny summer day.
If you’re leaving a Jays game this summer, you should stop by Goose Island and get yourself some great pizza for a post-game meal to go with your post-game beer! Their Chicken Pesto Pizza is quite filling, but also has nice fresh flavours with juicy bursts from the cherry tomatoes. If you’re a fan of richer flavours, definitely check out the Italian sausage pizza with red peppers.
So if the convenient location steps away from Union Station, the amazing Toronto collaborations, and gorgeous space haven’t enticed you enough to check them out, simply go for the beer. The team behind Goose Island Brewhouse is so passionate about what they do that they’re happy to answer any and all questions, and make a recommendation accordingly. They welcome new beer fans all the way to the pickiest of palettes, and have something to please everyone in between. Simply put: they’re a great team, making great beer.