Rule 5 Draft/Yerminator | Goose Island/Fabulous Freddie’s
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I think it was Spring Training 2020, before the pandemic closed everything and changed the way we live. I was preparing for what I thought would be a full season of fantasy baseball, figuring out who to draft and where. The White Sox’s lineup started coming together and was tagged as being one of the better one in baseball. The White Sox had signed Yasmani Grandal over the winter and still had 2019 All-Star James McCann on the roster to back him up or split starts with.
Fantasy sites kept mentioning the White Sox catching issue. Along with Grandal and McCann, the White Sox had Zack Collins and Yermin Mercedes. I would hear some rumblings about this Mercedes guy and how he wasn’t the greatest catcher but he could really hit. The White Sox had also signed Edwin Encarnacion over the winter to DH (designated hitter), so that path to playing time closed. The pandemic hit and obviously changed everything, a full baseball season included. When things got going again in late July, Mercedes wasn’t on the roster and eventually only got one at bat during the 2020 season.
Tony La Russa became the White Sox manager over the winter. Eloy Jimenez injured himself trying to rob a meaningless spring training home run, putting him out for the year and opening up left field. Andrew Vaughn, slated to the Sox primary DH, would shift to left field. Although La Russa would play basically anyone but Vaughn in left, the DH position was available. Collins started at DH on opening day against the Los Angeles Angels. Mercedes started the second game, playing DH and batting 8th.
And so the Yerminator was born.
5-for-5 with a double in that game. He started again the next night, got base hits in his first three at bats (including a home run) and finished the game 3-for-4. 8 for his first 8 to start the season. And he just kept hitting. Mercedes finished April with a ridiculous .415 batting average. And of course, merchandise started being produced. T-shirts, hats, memes – everything. One of the more notable items was the Yerminator burger from Fabulous Freddie’s on 31st Street. And then a beer from Goose Island, following this exchange on Twitter:
This past Friday I thought it a fine time to get the Yerminator burger and Goose Island’s Rule 5 Draft hazy IPA and pair them together.
Rule 5 Draft – hazy IPA with Galaxy and Amarillo – 7.3% ABV
Rule 5 Draft pours on the lighter, milkier side of a hazy IPA. Two fingers of white head greet you. The head slowly dissipates until only a fine layer remains. While I’ve had whiter and milkier looking IPAs, Rule 5 Draft definitely hangs out in the same neighborhood as those. It’s a gradient so the white on top gives way to a light straw-colored yellow near the bottom of the pour. Purely based on the head and resulting fizz, Rule 5 Draft looks very well carbonated.
You’d think you were on a beach smelling Rule 5 Draft. Pineapple, mango and melon greet you at the entrance, while the hops provide some relaxing grass and resin notes. I’m not 100% on whether this is double dry-hopped or not, but I would guess it isn’t based on the aroma (I’ve been wrong about this before). That aroma isn’t overbearing either – more like how a soft pillow lulls you into its dreamy, hazy realm. Between the look and smell, Rule 5 Draft resembles something akin to a pina colada. So much so that I convinced myself that coconut emanated from the glass. Delicate and not overbearing aromatics.
Rule 5 Draft kind of gets caught between bases on the taste. It doesn’t go too far on the juice that most hazies do. In the same vein it has some bitterness, but nothing that you would mistake for a West Coast IPA. Possibly some mango, pineapple and melon could be there, but it comes off as more of a tropical melange than anything overly specific. Despite being 7.3%, Rule 5 Draft somehow remains sessionable, with the entire 32 ounce crowler vanishing near the end of the meal.
That sessionability gets an outfield assist from the carbonation. Staying medium to high, things move and leave quickly, with only a little bit of tropical fruit and bitterness staying behind. While I would’ve like a bit more bitterness, Rule 5 Draft does its job and gets out of the way. Think of Goose Island Sox Golden Ale, but with a bit more fruit, mouthfeel, and bitterness.
Verdict: Solid single
You’ve probably heard about this burger if you’ve been following the White Sox this April. Fabulous Freddie’s created this burger to make Yermin Mercedes feel more at home on the South Side. Mercedes hails from the Dominican Republic, so this burger takes its cues from there The Yerminator features a ground beef patty seasoned with Dominican flavors and topped with tomatoes, slightly pickled red onions, shredded cabbage and some of Freddie’s secret Chimichurri sauce. This concoction sits on a garlic bun. (Full disclosure – I added provolone and did not have tomatoes on mine. You can also make it a double if you’d like; I went with the single.)
First off, I had to move the burger far away from where my Rule 5 Draft pour sat as I reviewed it. I couldn’t smell anything but the peppers, onions and spices. A very potent aroma. I will say the garlic bun really keeps everything in place and on the bun, with minimal condiments falling off. A+ for that in my book.
Get ready for some crunch! Between the sweet peppers and onions, a satisfying crunch comes free with every bite. Those sweet peppers and onions combine with the chimichurri sauce to provide some sweetness to the burger. Those sweet flavors are counteracted by the earthiness of the spices on the burger. The balance really makes the burger easy to eat.
While I was very skeptical of it, the peppers and onions add a nice crunch while the burger is delicious and satisfying. I would definitely get one again if in the neighborhood for a White Sox game.
Verdict: RBI Double
Rule 5 Draft/Yerminator burger pairing
Wow. Just wow. The Rule 5 Draft gets out of the way and lets the Yeminator work its spicy magic. When the Yerminator lets you off its spicy ride, the Rule 5 Draft arrives with some of those tropical notes and mild bitterness to finish you off. It causes you to get into a rhythm – the Yerminator makes you grab for the Rule 5, and that Rule 5 finish makes you grab for the Yerminator. It just works so very well together.
The Rule 5 Draft being so soft and not big on the palate makes it a very strong candidate to pair with a wide variety of intensely flavored foods. The biggest miss of this whole thing? Rule 5 Draft is draft/crowler-only right now. If you have the ability and/or time to, plan a trip to Fabulous Freddie’s and then Goose Island Fulton to pair these two together. Goose Island Fulton allows for outside food to be brought in, so go grab some bench there!
Verdict: Put it on the board, yes! Home Run.
Fabulous Freddie’s is located at 701 W 31st St. in Chicago and open 7 days a week. You can order food to go here. Goose Island Fulton is located at 1800 W Fulton St. in Chicago and is open from Wednesday through Sunday. You can order beer to go here. Both places allow for in-door dining/drinking, takeout, and delivery.