Brewer Di Rodriguez came by brewing almost by accident, falling into the job after going to school for medical assisting and getting her start as a server at DryHop Brewers. During her off time, she started volunteering to brew, which eventually led to finding an internship at Goose Island. Now she’s a brewer at Goose Island, coming up with her own ideas and (sometimes) getting to implement them for release at the Fulton Street brewpub. We caught up with Di to learn about what it takes to be a brewer, what’s up next for Goose Island and her favorite off the job spots.
What brew are you working on? I went to Tulum, Mexico, and we had mescal mules instead of Moscow mules. They were delicious. We’re going to work on the two-barrel brewing system made for trials (some of which come into the taproom) to try to do a mescal mule–inspired beer.
What’s the best part of brewing? The camaraderie within brewing, among our own team and with other breweries—I love how people tend to work together instead of against each other in the brewing industry. You have to be a problem solver, you have to be an engineer, you have to be a chemist—it’s a lot of things wrapped into one. It keeps me busy and it keeps me learning something every day.
Anything exciting we can look forward to from Goose Island? Four Star—it’s a hopped up pilsner and I think it’s fantastic. It’s so refreshing and so good. It’s just one of those staple beers that you go to that’s easy to drink, that hits a lot of people’s flavor profiles that they like.
What do you look for when you order a beer? Honestly, the way I drink beer is more seasonal, so in the winter I like porters and stouts and in the summer I like a good kolsch or a pilsner and lagers.
What beer will you always order? I really like Off Color Brewing. The Apex Predator is fantastic. And Le Woof, it’s the Bière de Garde—it’s really good. I like Chicago breweries in general, but I’m really into Off Color right now.
Where do you head for a drink on your night off? I love the Matchbox. That’s more cocktails, but if I’d rather do something that isn’t beer—they have a great beer list, too. Beer-wise, it’s been Pub Royale, but I love the Map Room as well.