06 November 2013

Goose Island Brewery

It's been a while since I've written a beer review, and it's not because I've lost my taste for it. On the contrary, we're experiencing a golden age of beer appreciation. You might consider yourself in the know with wine if you can properly pronounce sommelier and know how to work with one in a dinner situation, but brace yourself for the era of the Cicerone.

Goose Island Brewery is an interesting example of how writing about beer can get complicated, and while wine is so tightly focused on specific geography and terroir, a successful beer can be replicated anywhere through adjustment of water and using the same mix of hops and malts (that come from multiple sources around the country). In that respect, the modern beer industry has a lot more in common with the soft drink business.

Goose Island was founded as a Chicago brewpub in 1988, which was early for the craft brewing revolution. After years of expansion and popularity, the company was purchased by Anheuser-Busch InBev in 2011. Note that ABInBev is headquartered in Belgium. And although I am closer to Chicago, the Goose Island beer that is distributed to Memphis is brewed in Baldwinsville, NY, a town between Syracuse and Lake Ontario.

Considering the number of options I have for tagging the regional identify of this beer (including the possibility of St. Louis), I'm going with Chicago. Guinness gets the Irish flag regardless of where it is brewed, and besides, I haven't had the opportunity to break out the iconic flag of Chicago in a while.

Goose Island Honker's Ale
English Style Bitter
4.3% abv., 30 IBU

Lovely copper color and a nicely rounded ale flavor. Just a touch of bitterness on the finish, and otherwise a fairly pleasant and quaffable beer.

Goose Island India Pale Ale
English Style India Pale Ale
5.9% abv., 55 IBU

Of the two, I preferred this one, even though it's not as bitter as some IPAs I've tasted in the past. The hops are just enough to provide a nice bite without completely overwhelming the palate. Dark golden color and a touch of citrus flavor in the background. Quite good with the pork enchiladas in green sauce I had for lunch.

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