America's Goose Island opens bar in London
US imports line up alongside local options
Belleville Brewing Co is the first UK brewer to guest at Goose Island’s new bar that opened last week in south London, England.
The Vintage Ale House in Balham will primarily showcase the Anheuser-Busch InBev-owned Chicago-based craft brewer’s brands, with a focus on its sour and barrel-aged beers.
But Goose Island’s head of brand experience for Europe, Toby Cowan, said it also wanted to offer “local options”. Belleville, founded in Wandsworth by Adrian Thomas in 2013, specialises in US-style beers using seasonal ingredients and so makes a good fit.
The bar is initially stocking two or three of its products and other local brews are “lined up” for the future. They will complement Goose Island beers including Belgian-style ‘hand-zested’ farmhouse ale Sofie, Abbey-style 7% abv Matilda and the more commonly-found IPA, Honkers Ale and ‘urban’ wheat beer 312.
They will accompany a Midwest-inspired menu that also features local suppliers and is designed to complement the beers, which are also used in the cooking.
“This is a pilot site for us – but it’s too early to say whether we’ll be opening more,” said Cowan. “Right now we’re just excited to see how people respond, especially to the sour beers that will probably be new to many.”
Making use of Goose Island’s training programme developed in Chicago, Vintage Ale House staff are currently being trained to educate customers in the different styles, and also to suggest food matches.