Goose Island brewer Dave Tohtz has a favorite beer to brew.
And it should come as no surprise to knowledgeable beer fans that it’s Bourbon County Stout, a 14.5 percent imperial beast that has earned a "World Class" ranking from the sometimes persnickety reviewers on BeerAdvocate.com.
Tohtz, who has been brewing at the Fulton Street brewery in Chicago for about five years, cited the patience and time that it takes to make that beer. Bourbon County Stout — which, alas, isn’t available in Ohio because of the high alcohol — also happens to be one of his favorites to drink, along with Mild Winter, Summertime and Sofie, depending on the time of the year.
Tohtz was in Cleveland this week as part of Goose Island Beer Co.’s 12-city "Migration Week" tour to help celebrate not only the brewery’s 25th anniversary this year but also the national distribution of its core brands. Basically, brewers and brewery representatives hit the community and chatted with fans, distributors and retailers.
Cleveland was chosen as a stop along with places such as Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Austin, Texas.
"We know it’s a big craft beer city," Goose Island spokeswoman Ana Serafin said about Cleveland. The community also has been supportive of the Goose Island brand, she said.
Tohtz is impressed with the Cleveland beer market.
He mentioned how he’ll drive to western Indiana to pick up bottles of Fat Head’s Head Hunter IPA.
Great Lakes remains the Ohio beer label that everyone looks to when it comes to the state’s beer reputation, Tohtz said.
"Do I know if [Ohio has] a true leader as far as craft beer goes? I don’t think one has really emerged yet. I look forward with bated breath," he said. "I see people engineering small stuff like a good sour program at Rivertown [in Cincinnati] and hoppy beers at Columbus [in Columbus]. The Bodhi is totally fantastic."
As for what’s next for Goose Island, Tohtz offered up a few tidbits. The Octoberfest has been reformulated and will be a "malty beast" this year. The brewery will re-release the Three Sisters: Lolita, Madame Rose and Juliet. And Goose Island will release a new peach sour.
For more details about Goose Island, click here.