When Budweiser’s parent company, AB InBev, finally purchased Goose Island’s brewpubs in February 2016, beer lovers wondered how the deal would affect its original brewpub on Clybourn in Lincoln Park. The short answer: They’re closing the iconic spot—where Bourbon County Brand Stout was first brewed—for renovations. Goose Island Clybourn will shutter on Sunday, Jan. 8 and Goose hopes to reopen after five months with a new menu developed in part by acclaimed chef Paul Virant.
The Goose Island brewpub opened in 1988 and provided an anchor for an influx of development at Clybourn and Sheffield. The food selection has seen several iterations, starting with simple pub food and then expanding to more elevated selections including fish tacos. The menu never hit a home run with customers. Chef Virant will be brought on as a consultant, according to the Tribune, which first reported the renovations. He should have more time on his hands as his Lincoln Park restaurant, Perennial Virant, closed on New Year’s Eve. The chef still runs Vie and Vistro in the suburbs.
Here’s a statement from Goose Island President and General Manager Ken Stout:
“It’s time we give the Clybourn Pub a well-deserved facelift. We’ll be temporarily closing the pub on January 8 so we can install new brewing equipment and add some new features to excite our beer drinkers even more. We look forward to welcoming our customers back in Summer 2017! In the meantime, you can visit the Fulton Street Taproom located on Fulton & Wood to get your fix of creative, small batch beers.”
The focus on the renovations is the space, although the addition of Virant bodes well for the food. The Tribune reported that the new menu will include classic Goose items including the stilton burger, fish and chips and a Cuban sandwich. It would probably be a welcome move if Virant brings back his handmade gnocchi from Perennial or charcuterie.
When the brewpub opened more than 28 years ago, Goose Island was among only three Chicago brewers. The renovations will help them keep up with newer brewpubs, as Stout told the Tribune that he wants an “electric” feeling in Lincoln Park, the same feeling guests experience while at Revolution Brewing in Logan Square.
While AB InBev purchased Goose Island in 2011, that deal excluded the brewpub business. Now that they’ve secured the rights for the brewpubs, Budweiser’s parent has used the Goose Island name for a number of new bars in the United States, internationally, and a few at airports. There’s one that recently opened at O’Hare International Airport at Terminal 1 on the B Concourse.