Goose Island Matilda
Where Spotted: D’Vines, 3103 14th St. NW
liege of reason: Beer that’s “Belgian-style” isn’t necessarily good—it could be little more than a really fizzy beer with spices. But Matilda is one of the finest Belgian golden ales on either side of the Atlantic. It’s got serious allspice and an apricot sweetness that’s a touch funky, even sour. Serve it in a proper glass, and your friends will never guess it comes from the suburb of Brussels known as Chicago.
Hot (Van) Damn: Wonder why the word “spice” is in every Belgian beer description? Germany’s purity law requires its beer to be driven by malts. Conversely, Belgium’s brewing tradition is in spices, like coriander and allspice, and yeast, which adds funky fruity notes and makes your nose feel funny. This allows you to describe a beer as “strawberry with hints of baking spice” and actually be kind of right.