Well, I'm a sucker for American Craft Beer and Cool labels. So what. I'm into design, and Goose Island's Matilda really caught my eye - and I'm glad it did. My favourite Belgian beer, without a doubt, is Orval, and what we have seems to be a bit of a Chicagoan Homage to that sweet, sweet beer ( A truncated version of the Orval 'Mathilda's Wedding Ring' myth is elegantly transcribed on the label). So far, So good.
It pours dark amber, with that familiar phenolic/banana nose that Orval displays albeit a little softer. So far so good. Matilda, however, proves to be a much simpler girl that Orval; much sweeter, with the hops coming through with bitterness long after the sip. Toffees and hard - candy flavours percolate, rather than the deeper clove and citrus you'd expect from a 'typical' Belgian - and I guess that's where the American influence comes in.
Don't take that as a negative review - I loved it, and would happily drink more. It's almost too simple to say that Matilda is a straightahead American twist on a Belgian classic - but it is.