A beer that flies south for winter

Goose Island Beer Co head brewer Dave Tohtz. Photo: Greg Briggs

Goose Island Beer Co head brewer Dave Tohtz. Photo: Greg Briggs

Chicago’s Goose Island Beer Co recently headed south, visiting Melbourne this month for the company’s annual “Migration Week.”

Every year for the past five, the pioneering brewery has taken flight to spread the word about craft beer and collaborate with craft brewers in other parts of the world. This year was Goose Island’s first visit to Australia, where they offered a whole program of events – from Chicago-style street festivals to Thanksgiving dinners.

Head brewer Dave Tohtz, an Illinois native, started home brewing while working in a job that bored him. In 2010 he took cleaning job at Goose Island. Not long after, was offered a position brewing beer. He took it without asking what the pay was.

“I just wanted to make beer,” he says. “And I wanted to make beer that was new and fun that could surprise people.”

Goose Island has a history of surprising people, whether by aging beer in old bourbon or red wine barrels, making sour-style beers with raspberries and blackberries or experimenting with styles like saison.

“All brewers are Frankenstein brewers,” says Dave. “They throw different things together and make mistakes but sometimes those mistakes become good beers.”

He likes what he’s seen of the Australian craft beer scene so far. He believes Aussie craft brewers are trend-aware but know the type of beers locals like to drink.

“Lighter, fresher, sessionable beers work here,” he says, “and that’s what it’s all about – taking care of your locals.”

 

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