Goose Island has been full of news lately. First, news that they're killing distribution of their Nut Brown & Oatmeal Stout.Damn, this is a blow. I love the Nut Brown ale, there just aren't that many nut brown ales and Goose made a great one. I'm assuming they're still going to be distributing Summertime.
Additionally, Goose Island explained on Facebook that "in the competition for fermentation capacity, tap handles, and shelf space, Nut Brown and Oatmeal Stout have been disadvantaged by the increasing popularity of hoppy, wheat, sour, and barrel aged beer styles. We are grateful for the few loyal aficionados who have enjoyed our old friends until the end. To you, we can offer only assurance that the Goose Island brewpubs will continue to brew regular batches of both beers and offer them by the pint and by the growler to enjoy at home."
I'm not a huge sour beer fan. I love Matilda, but their other big beers don't do much for me. I need to be better about trying them.
This is also interesting because Anheuser-Busch owned a stake in them which Goose only agreed to in order to take advantage of AB's distribution. Now they're saying they're pulling beers because it's tough to get shelf space? It doesn't make much sense, they have the advantage that most brewers don't have. Plus, the beers they're pulling are good, solid beers that are accessible to the beer novice.
Another interesting aspect is that Boulevard is going the other way courting beer novices with an Amber brew. This means that the average little neighborhood liquor store will have at least 6 Boulevard facings (Pilsner, Amber, Wheat, Pale Ale, Single Wide and Seasonal) with as many as 11(Variety Pack, Pale Ale and Wheat 12 packs, Dry Stout and soon to be released Pilsner 12 packs). This is great for Boulevard but it does squeeze out some beers that are as good or better. Boulevard did expand by going all Smokestack on us, but they also have release Pilsner and soon Amber expanding both ways. It's just strange that Goose isn't doing that as well.
I'll get by, but I'm going to miss the Nut Brown Ale, a beer that was my favorite for some time in 2001 and 2002. If I wouldn't have Bully! Porter, I'm sure that Nut Brown would have been my gateway beer. It will be nice to get more of the higher end beer from Goose, but I don't like that it comes at the expense of a very good session beer.