Goose Island was, of course, the subject of some scrutiny 4 1/2 years ago. As has been mildly mentioned in this space, Goose Island was one of the first craft breweries to become a NON-craft brewery, with their acquisition by AB-InBev in 2011.
Since that acquisition, Goose Island seems to have managed to utilize Budweiser's money to expand their reach without sacrificing their quality. First up from Labor Day weekend was Goose IPA. This was an enjoyable IPA that game a fruity start that transitioned into an interesting mix of hop flavors (mostly on the dank side, to me). Those hop flavors tended to linger on the palate for a little while after drinking, but overall the Goose IPA was an enjoyable beer.
Next up was Goose Island's Autumn Ale. Now, the last 4-5 months of the calendar year are my least favorite beer seasons. The cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, all spice, etc. all easily overpower beers, and the fall and winter beers tend to become major turnoffs for me. Add to this the fact the fall/pumpkin beers are being released seemingly earlier and earlier (mid-August? Really?), and I tend to really dislike the Fall and Winter beer seasons. If I had my way, the pumpkin beers could be released on September 15th, and not a damn day earlier!
Goose's Autumn was...pretty good! Hops play an unexpectedly strong role in this beer. Officially a red ale, that style of sweetness, perhaps merged with some of the spices listed above (or is it just my imagination?), is evident early, but eventually gives way to their own unique hop variety that provides a dank, piney push on the back end of the beer. The result is a nice balance for people like me who tend to be overwhelmed by the usual Fall seasonal. Goose Island has a couple of other Fall beers in their seasonal lineup, and I expect one of those may be the more common spice bomb that the industry is used to this time of year.
Plenty more beers from this long weekend, but this entry already got verbose. Check out 5 quickie reviews later this week.