Last year I attended this gastronomic overdose of a food/beer fest called SLOW FOOD NATION in San Francisco; perhaps you may recall my beer report from there. It was quite a day, and everyone whom I tell about it swears they’re going to go this summer – except for the fact that the festival is transient, and is going to be relocated to IOWA this year. Ouch. My favorite beer that I tasted last year was MATILDA from Chicago’s GOOSE ISLAND BREWING. This beer gets its own full-page ads in beer magazines, so they’re really flogging it…..and last year I’d have told you “deservedly so”. Here’s what I said about the 2008 version:
Outstanding. Smooth and mildly sweet, this is a still, unclouded Belgian-style ale without all the intensity that implies. I have no idea what style category to throw it into…..a fantastic beer that is available in bottles wherever these guys distribute (unfortunately not where I live).
I bought the 2009 edition of GOOSE ISLAND MATILDA from Archer Liquors, and popped the cap a few nights ago. To be honest, I don’t like this year’s version anywhere near that epiphany-creating glass I had last year. Again, this is a still, no-head-at-all translucent Belgian ale that pours a rich reddish-orange. Smooth, with sweet malts. It features tastes of honey and banana, and is dominated by its yeast, but it really doesn’t come together in a way that makes me want to shout from the rooftops. It’s just a solid, mildly experimental, albeit unspectacular Belgian-style ale. It’s being aimed for the restaurant/foodie/connoisseur crowd, and no doubt it will do well there, but I’ll probably reach for my restaurant standbys – CHIMAY RED or LA FIN DU MONDE – before I try this one again. 6.5/10.