Weekend Tap (And Bottle) Update: One Family Grows A Bit Larger, and A King Finally Returns

The Three Sisters & Their Expanding Family

Chances are, if you’re familiar with Chicago’s Goose Island Brewery, you know they have been crafting three highly regarded wild ales for some time now that have become known as “The Three Sisters” – Lolita, Juliet, and Madame Rose – which are released just once a year.  All three are aged in wine barrels, with the predominant difference being that each spends some of that time aging with different types of fruit. Lolita benefits from the addition of raspberries, Juliet from blackberries, and the very rarely seen Madame Rose from cherries.  Each type of fruit deliciously reinforces the otherwise tart characteristics of these beers, and along with the barrel aging, adds additional layers of complexity.  This year, the brewery is officially welcoming two more sisters to the family, and this weekend, we will welcome much of the family, new and old, to Roanoke.  “Gillian” is a Belgian farmhouse/saison brewed with strawberries, honey, and a touch of white pepper, and which also is finished with an addition of champagne yeast, and “Halia”, also a saison style ale brewed with whole peaches, are the two newcomers.   Like their siblings, both of course spend some time in aging wine barrels.  Both are also great products of the ever expanding barrel aging program at Goose Island, and for those who are fans of deliciously complex Belgian styles of beer, are absolutely worth seeking out.  Here in Roanoke, that very likely will become possible this weekend, as four of the sisters – all except Madame Rose – are making their way (in bottles) to stores.  Lolita is a bit more widely distributed, but Juliet and her two new sisters should be available at Wine Gourmet in Roanoke.  Keep a lookout on the store’s Facebook page for updates.

The Return of the King

Southern Tier PumkingLeave it to royalty to know how to make an entrance.  Even though pumpkin ale season seemed to get an unseasonal early start in most places around the country, most would agree that the end of their annual run is growing closer.  Winter releases are already beginning to pop up on shelves, taking the place of their often more heavily spiced seasonal.  But here in Roanoke, perhaps the most well known pumpkin beer, and arguably the tastiest in all the land, refused to make a showing, regardless of how the days have ticked away.  But here in the last couple days, the doors to the palace have finally swung open, and the king has shown himself.  Southern Tier’s imperial pumpkin ale Pumking, in extremely limited numbers of bottles, made it to store shelves around Roanoke.  The limited availability is typical, as most stores get only a case or two, and typically limit customers to single bottle purchases.  However, if you were too late to snag a bottle, or perhaps only want a taste to remember how well done this beer is, or even if you have yet to try this ale, Blue 5 will likely be putting it on tap this weekend, along with a few other beers.  Yes, this beer, which I always like to describe as the perfect liquid approximation of a slightly sugar dusted, vanilla laced graham cracker, should be on draft just in time for Halloween week. (Keep an eye on the restaurant’s Facebook page, as usual, for updates.)

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~ by thebeerroad on October 25, 2013.

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