A change of pace today – apologies, whisky fans. Gearing up for the Bank Holiday weekend soon, I thought it’d be interesting to quickly look at three beers – largely because I was sent them, but also because as the weather changed a few days ago, and sometimes a whisky in the middle of a warm day doesn’t quite hit same spot. My sherry bombs were underperforming in the sun, and peated whiskies are really – for me – best in colder weather or cool evenings.
So with that in mind, I tasted three beers from Goose Island Brewery. The company was set up originally as a brew-pub in Chicago in the late 1980s after the founder, John Hall, was inspired by the variety of European beer. It’s now much more of a worldwide brand, and straddles that line between its craft heritage, and being owned a bigger beer manufacturer. Today it produces a huge range of beers, and their releases have consistently performed very well on the awards scene over the years.
312 Urban Wheat Ale
A pale colour, with a hint of lime to it. A lemon note to the nose, very refreshing in that it’s a bit like a shandy (though I mean that in a good way). Light on the taste, though I wouldn’t describe it as hoppy. Apples. Herbal, with a pleasant bitterness on the finish. Clean. Grassy and still herbal on the finish. The beer equivalent of Aultmore.
The darkest of them all. A lovely maltiness here that reminds me of the mash tun in a distillery. Quite raw, potent and very nice indeed. Fruity: cherries, apples. Foams in the mouth more so than the others. Again, a malty to bitter finish, with slight touches of caramel. (More like an English bitter, I suspect, but it doesn’t share the same texture.) This has the most difference of the three, in my mind. Clocks in at 4.3% ABV.
Colour is mid-way between the two. Massive citrus notes on the nose – it’s exceptionally refreshing. Lime cordial. Fresh. Hoppy, perhaps with a touch of yeast. Crisp and very clean. A mild finish. For me, the most drinkable of the three, despite it being the strongest of them at 5.9% ABV.
So there we go. Three Bank Holiday beers from Goose Island, all very pleasant and each a little bit different. For me, the Goose IPA is the one I’d serve in the garden with a barbecue (however, as I write up this post, it’s actually raining).
They each cost £1.75 – oh, to be a beer reviewer! – which strikes me as a bit of a no-brainer.