Top Fun: Hudson and Goose

By Ron Swarner on February 26, 2015

Top Fun: Hudson and Goose

Chef Hudson Slater stands in the kitchen at Maxwell's Speakeasy and Lounge on ready alert, staring at his stovetop. Hudson draws a breath, then forces himself to grab the saute pan off the heat. The flames shoot into the air. Suddenly, the kale breaks apart. The purple leaves break in every direction as he BLASTS through their formation. Something comes up through the flames. A sous chef darts by. The line cook drops in and locks onto him.

"Talk to me, Goose," pleads Hudson as he turns toward Goose.

The clanking of cookware drown out the roar of the flames.

"Critical point," Hudson quips to Goose.

Hudson takes a 180 turn and presses both hands on his Tom Douglas cookbook sitting on the counter, the inspiration for his career. ...

He stares at the cover as if he can read page 59.

He twists back around.    

"I'm gonna go! THREE ... TWO ... ONE. ..."

Hudson engages his cutlery and cookware as if in a dogfight. Blades twirling, ingredients airborne, liquids falling like Niagara Falls. His kitchen companions gaze in disbelief. A fusion with steamed edamame sprinkled with black-olive powder, garnished with shiso leaves and surrounded by dots of black-olive-and-citron crème, morphs into a curried green-coconut-milk soup with tiny clams, scallops, flying fish eggs and garnished with flash-fried whitebait turns into grilled sardine brushed with jalapeño juice. He dumps each dish into the trash. Hudson gives a nod to Goose, and with adrenaline pumping as a charging bull, a rabbit mignon in a syrupy caramel of Iberian-ham drippings with a smoked-eel petit four suddenly appears, as if it was pulled from a hat.

The twirling stops like Dorothy's house in Oz. Panting, Hudson takes a swig of Goose, dumps the rabbit down the hole and dives back in. Gaining speed, he plunges toward the dessert. His Marzipan spacers and zester become one with his hands; a slow-motion blur that would draw a smile from Morpheus.

The music builds. The action increases. As the scene fades to black, you can make out a smile as Hudson asks permission for a fly-by from Maxwell's owner Steve Anderson.

Judging from the frequency of high (and low) fives, Chef Hudson Slater and Goose Island Beer Company do it all well, and they prefer to do it together. In a kitchen full of barely contained roars and lots of nutty oak, dark dried fruit, molasses, vanilla, bourbon, bittersweet chocolate and burnt raisin, Hudson and Goose have the real bromance. They're on top of their game and they're always there for each other with a commendable loyalty.

>>> Chef Hudson Slater

When he's not posting exquisite cuisine art on his Instagram, brewing craft beer with bacon, sharing recipes for published cookbooks or pushing the envelope in Maxwell's Kitchen, Chef Hudson Slater is winning chef competitions - almost every one he enters. The young family man from University Place cuts his teeth at Gordon and Steve Naccarato's The Beach House at Purdy before rising from cook to executive chef at the stylish fine-dining restaurant he clocks in today.

>>> Derek Wieting, sales representative, Goose Island Beer Co., Anheuser-Busch

In the late '80s, traveling salesman John Hall turned his passion into a career when he introduced his craft beer brewing Goose Island Brewpub to the macrobeer chugging city of Chicago. In 1992, Goose Island gave the beer industry a new reason to belly up to the bar: bourbon-aged beer. Then in 2004, America had a new tradition - the annual post-Thanksgiving release of Goose Island's Bourbon County Brand Stout, one of the most important beers in the history of American brewing. Heavily charred barrels from bourbon distilleries give way to roasty cocoa flavors with traces of caramelized wood sugars and vanillin compounds.

Last night, 20 people floated like gods, above Maxwell's dining tables, above the dinnerware, looking down at what one of the top bromances on the planet can create in the kitchen. With inspiration from his co-pilot Goose, Chef Hudson presented his five final dishes for a beer-pairing dinner.


"I strived to awaken your palate with this first dish," announces Chef Hudson. "The green curry edamame puree and japaleno bring a little heat; also on the plate are shiitake mushrooms from across the Purdy Bridge, a poached quail egg - so pop it open - plus pickled mustard seed and fennel."

Derek Wieting, the Washington, Oregon and Idaho sales representative for Goose Island Beer Co. - and all the Anheuser-Busch InBev products - as well as a Seattle Queen Anne Hill neighborhood resident, praised Chef Hudson for choosing the Goose Island India Pale Ale with his spicy dish. Wieting proudly announced the IPA is made with hops (Pilgrim, Styrian Golding Celeia, Cascade, Centennial) from Elk Mountain Farm, Goose Island's own hop farm in the Idaho panhandle, so it has Northwest roots. The multiple award-winning IPA has 55 IBUs, "making it really sessionable," he says. "This beer pairs really well with food, especially the dish in front of you. It's not a typical Northwest IPA, and shouldn't destroy your palate." 


"Since Goose Island is from Chicago, this next dish is my tribute to the city. I created a Chicago Hot Dog - kind of," says Chef Hudson. " I call it "Chicago Dog Ravioli," with all the elements of a hot dog - beef sausage, braised tomato, onion, sport pepper, dill pickle relish and a mustard sauce, plus a poppy seed aioli."

Wieting chimes in, "Our Goose Island Ten Hills Pale Ale has its roots firmly planted in the Northwest. All the hops come out of our hop farm in northern Idaho." Wieting went on to explain a dedicated Goose Island hop farm is one of the advantages of A-B purchasing Goose Island four years ago. The Goose Island brewers spent quality time on the farm and the community surrounding Elk Mountain Farm, forging a relationship between farmer and brewer to a point in which Elk Mountain Farms now grows more than 100 acres of hops for Goose Island annually. "We have access to hops that aren't readily available to a lot of other breweries," says Wieting. The Goose brewers picked the hops (Perle, Cascade and Saaz) on site for the Ten Hills Pale Ale. The apricot and tangerine aroma, with sweet honey and toasted flavors paired well with Chef Hudson's pasta dog. It's more floral than the IPA.


Touting the Goose Island Matilda Belgian Style Pale Ale as his favorite beer of the night, Chef Hudson wanted to complement the beer's spicy yeast flavor, so he choose a smoked mussel aioli as well as a single smoked mussel on the plate. He added a poached halibut seared in nutty brown butter with butter lettuce, puffed quinoa and roasted shallot.

Wieting explained the legend of Matilda of Tuscany, who lost her wedding ring in a lake. A fish appeared clutching the ring in its mouth. Overwhelmed with joy, Matilda funded the neighboring monastery and its brewing operation.

Inspired by great Trappist ales, this complex Belgian Style Pale Ale is fermented with the wild yeast Brettanomyces. The Goose brewers claim its has a farmhouse funk taste, "with lots of dried fruit and clove aromas," adds Wieting. On the tongue, thickness from sweet malts coat the tongue followed by flavors of earthy mushroom, orange peel and heavy yeast. The clove and peach preserves are present, with hay - mingling on the tongue while spiciness pushes out from the finish.

Wieting says the Matilda is aged in wine barrels, not so much for the flavor but rather as a second fermentation. The pale ale is part of the brewery's Vintage Series where they blend beers aged in wine barrels for different lengths to bring out complex wine-like notes paired with evolving tart or fruity qualities.

With the wild yeast slightly altering the taste every year, a five-year vertical flight can be a fun, tasty experiment. He added with the A-B buyout, Goose's Barrel House went from 30,000 barrels to 130,000 barrels.


"I love Bourbon County so I went with clean flavors for its pairing - braised beef short rib, celery root and parsnip puree, roasted Brussels sprouts and stout demi glace," explains Chef Hudson.  "It's not overpowering."

Wieting introduced Bourbon County Brand Stout saying, "I commend Chef Hudson for pairing the Bourbon County Aged Stout with a main dish and not dessert. Typically, chefs save this beer for the end of the meal. I applaud Chef Hudson's innovation."


Wieting paused. ... "There are a lot of bourbon-barrel aged beers now - Goose was the first." Goose Island was indeed there first - in 1992, long before anyone in the Idaho hop field had anything to do with the brewery. The Goose brewers age the beer in a warehouse that has no temperature controls for nine months to a year. The result is a rich, complex SMOOTH blend of bourbon, chocolate, cherry, leather and many more layered flavors at 12 to 13 percent alcohol by volume. "By the way," Wieting adds, "if you get a hold of our Bourbon County Coffee, please let me know and I'll buy it off you. It's ranked number two in the world."


"This is by far my most favorite beer in the Goose portfolio," says Wieting. "Named after Goose founder's granddaughter Sofie, we age the Sofie Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale for nine months in wine barrels with an abundance of oranges fresh from our fields - bacteria, dirt and all. I'm talking fifty pounds of oranges per barrel. It's bubbly with almost a champagne-like effervesce. I love this beer in the summer - light, refreshing with a creamy vanilla finish."

Chef Hudson created an upscale take on the banana cream pie to pair with Sofie's citrus notes. He offered a beautiful play of roasted bananas cream panna cotta, Nilla Wafer, strawberry mousse "macaron" with whipped cream, Nilla Wafer brittle and meringue. He added a dehydrated candy strawberry that's not on the menu.

"I feel the need ... the need for more beer," Chef Hudson didn't say as he bought the room another round of Bourbon County Aged Stout, as well as poured his personal bottles of Matilda and Goose black saison Pepe Nero.

You can be my wingman anytime Chef Hudson!