Belgian-style pale ale Matilda. Image via Goose Island.

 Local beer aficionados are still recovering from the news that Russian River Brewing has halted distribution in Washington. Washington Beer Blog’s Kendall Jones laments that “I will miss the spike in web traffic whenever I put the word Pliny in a headline.” Meanwhile, Seattle Beer News’s Geoff Kaiser plays the optimist, suggesting five IPAs to help you forget about Pliny the Elder. 

Meanwhile, another far-flung brewery with its own significant following recently expanded into Seattle. Chicago’s Goose Island’s beers have appeared around town in fits and starts, but as of last month, the company has set up a permanent distribution here in town. Goose Island’s 312 Urban Wheat is sort of the Chicago version of Manny’s—ubiquitous, easy drinking. In recent years, Belgian-style specialty brews like Matilda (a Belgian-style pale) and abbey ale Pere Jacques garnered their own following as well, not to mention the unbridled ardor many beer drinkers reserve for the Bourbon County Stout series. 

Anheuser-Busch bought Goose Island in 2011, hence the expanded production that allows for distribution in Washington. You can already find Goose Island’s beers in about 80 bars, restaurants, and stores around Seattle. Goose Island staples like 312, Honker's English-style bitter, and the IPA will be here year-round, while specialties like the Bourbon County Stout will pop up seasonally. The Goose Island folk sent me a taplist right before the holidays and it's pouring everywhere from KeyArena to Malt and Vine.