Better Distractions | Goose Island
Goose Island has a long history with the Pitchfork Music Festival. Before they were bought out by AB InBev in 2011, Goose Island supplied beer for the festival. Starting in 2011, Pitchfork switched over to Heineken for their beer needs. As detailed in Josh Noel’s Barrel Aged Stout and Selling Out, Goose Island was not happy about this. After waiting out the 2-year Heineken contract, Goose Island returned to the Pitchfork Music Festival and has been there ever since. They always do a collaboration beer with one of the artists playing at the fest. This year it happens to be Faye Webster and the beer is called Better Distractions.
Every festival year, Goose Island has at least one beer made for the Pitchfork Music Festival. In some instances early on, there were two. Here’s a rundown:
2013 – Forcone Session Ale and Run the Jewels
2014 – Recommended and SVE Kolsch (collab with Sharon Van Etten)
2015 – No Collar (collab with Chance the Rapper)
2016 – Natural Villain (collab with Twin Peaks)
2017 – GI5-5538 (collab with SURVIVE)
2018 – The Hops That Heaven Built (collab with Japandroids)
2019 – Wit Awake (collab with Parquet Courts)
We were fortunate enough to try the Recommended with Brett Porter in 2014 and it was pretty dang good. Unfortunately, almost all of the collaborations are only available on draft at the festival and possibly at Goose Island Fulton with two exceptions – Natural Villain and Better Distractions. Cool! Better Distractions can (or at this point, maybe could) be purchased at Sleeping Village, Goose Island Fulton and at the Pitchfork Festival itself.
Better Distractions gets its name from a track on Faye Webster’s recently released album I Know I’m Funny Haha and is a peach lager. Webster likes easy-drinking lagers. But why peaches? Webster hails from Georgia so peaches become the obvious choice. Easy peasy on that. Faye’s brother Luke Webster designed the can label and proceeds from the sale of Better Distractions goes to Fair Fight Action, a national voting rights organization based in Georgia. Fair Fight Action was founded by Stacey Abrams and needs all the help they can get dealing with voter suppression laws in Georgia, Texas, and most likely Florida. (Because, you know, it’s Florida.)
Better Distractions pours a resplendent gold color and very clear. “I can clearly see my finger and anything else on the other side of the beer” clear. The head starts off at about a finger and a half, slowly dwindles to about half a finger, and finally stops at a thin layer. In other words, a technically beautiful looking beer with proper head retention.
As a peach lager, the aroma is pretty straight forward. Typical lager notes of creamed corn, lemon and biscuit mingle with a light stone fruit note. It’s obviously peach, but it could be peach or apricot. A floral potpourri mingles amongst all the aromas as well as bringing some levity to the beer. Surprisingly, a slight yogurty note appears, adding a bit of heft to the proceedings.
The most immediate difference in Better Distractions comes in the finish. I like my lagers with a crispy finish and not much hanging around. Better Distractions opts for a more creamy mouthfeel that lingers on the palate a bit. All the aromas show up on the tongue in equal amounts – a nice creamed corn note with some lovely lemon and bready biscuit. Peach – or at least some fruit – comes at you near the end, making Better Distractions a refreshing and fruity overall experience.
The creamy mouthfeel has support from the carbonation that coats the tongue and lets you taste the flavors. All those lager notes mentioned above and the peach hang around a little, not leaving like a typical lager. It comes off as a more full-bodied and fruity lager than anything else.
While I prefer my lagers crispy, Better Distractions nails what Goose Island and Faye Webster set out to make – a refreshing lager with some fruit notes. While I wouldn’t say I’d like multiple pours of this in 90-100 degree July weather (when the Pitchfork Music Festival usually takes place), I could easily drink a few during the 80-90 degree September weather (thanks global warming!).
Due to the creamy mouthfeel and fuller body, I would characterise Better Distractions as a late summer/early fall kind of lager. It warms you up a tad bit more than a traditional lager and the classic lager flavors combined with the peach really hits the spot. I would definitely recommend picking up a 4-pack if it’s still available at the Goose Island Fulton taproom. Guaranteed it would be a better distraction from work!