Goose Island Brewing Co. of Chicago has been a big name in craft beer since 1988, when it began as a humble brewpub. In 2011, when it was already one of the biggest and most prestigious craft breweries in the country, Goose Island was acquired by A-B InBev. Though many feared the makers of Budweiser would change the craft culture and product, more than a year later the beer is still the same, and — thanks to the distribution power of the macrobrewers — will soon be available in all 50 states. One of several Belgian-style offerings from the company is Pere Jacques, an Abbey Dubbel.
Poured from a 12-ounce bottle into a Trappist glass, Pere Jacques has the appearance of a typical dark Belgian ale, much like Chimay Blue. The nose presents a bouquet of sweet malts, figs, dates, prunes, and toffee. Despite such a sugar-coated nose, the taste of is delightfully balanced — a near perfect rendition of the style. A bit of heat is present from the alcohol — it rings in at 8.7 percent ABV — but it never distracts from the rich quality. Though the mouthfeel is slightly sticky, it never becomes so so extreme that it distracts from the enjoyable drinking experience.
Pere Jacques took the gold medal at the 2011 Great American Beer Festival, and is still a great ode to its style. As suggested on the bottle, it is suitable for aging up to five years. Pick up a four-pack to try one fresh, and then store the others away to try in a next year or two. Toast to craft brewing, and the hope that even though Goose Island is now part of a big conglomerate, the quality product will remain true.
— Danya Henninger, The Drink Nation
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