Goose Island’s Sox Golden Ale Reflects Broader Craft Beer Trends

At last weekend’s Sox Fest, Goose Island announced a collaboration beer, Sox Golden Ale, for the upcoming 2020 baseball season. The brewery promises an “easy-drinking, refreshing, golden ale” with “balanced cereal notes with honeysuckle and a subtle fruitiness.” The decision to produce a light-bodied golden ale makes perfect sense for a beer that’ll be sold outdoors from April-September, when hot summer days demand a thirst-quencher. The decision also reflects a broader industry trend toward lighter beers (both in terms of body and calories). Sox Golden Ale, with its ale fermentation and promise of subtle fruitiness, will likely be a bit more complex than your typical light lager. It still seems to be scratching a similar itch for beer drinkers, though.

Photo credit: Goose Island

While this will be a first-ever collaboration between the White Sox and a brewery, it’s not the first time AB-InBev has pursued this strategy with one of its craft brands. During last fall’s playoffs, Houston’s Karbach Brewing Company placed bets with New York’s Blue Point Brewing Company and Virginia’s Devils Backbone Brewing Company on whose hometown team would win. All three breweries make a collaboration beer that they sell at their team’s ballpark. And all three breweries are owned by AB-InBev.

AB-InBev’s decision to partner with local baseball teams marries the craft brands’ local presence with the scale of the world’s largest brewer. Baseball (like beer) has become increasingly localized, with fans following their own teams more closely than the league as a whole. Hosting millions of fans every summer, however, is big business. Beer and baseball are two places where local culture and big business intersect, and collaborations like this one seem to be a win-win for both breweries and teams. Are they a win for fans? Try a Sox Golden Ale next time you’re at Comiskey Park US Cellular Field Guaranteed Rate Field and decide for yourself.

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Nicholas Blashill

Nick Blashill is a native of Downers Grove who has recently returned to the Chicago area. By day he works in market research, but he is looking forward to sharing the experiences with Chicago’s craft beer and music scenes that fill his free time.