Beers in Review: Sextet

With the upcoming series of Irish beers this week, I don't want to leave any kind of backlog of pending beer reviews. So, I'll be knocking out six different beers in today's review. Let's get to it!

Leading off is Goose Island Beer Company's Green Line Pale Ale. It pours a crystal clear gold or honey color. Generally mild and well-balanced, initial impressions are of piney and citrusy hops and a hint of fruitiness. This all leads to a mild maltiness in the finish, along with some herbal flavors. The ABV is slightly high to fit into this category, but this pale ale otherwise falls into the "sessionable" category.

Next up is Brewery 85's Quittin' Time. Pouring a pale gold with a moderate amount of body and a notable amount of carbonation (with a white, pillowy head), this beer had some grassy and biscuit or grainy notes, but the most notable flavors were that of banana, and some kind of spice, something in the clove/all-spice vein (though, that may just be me interpreting the banana flavor).

Westbrook Brewing Company's Bearded Farmer #5 (also called "Thornhill") is a combination of sour and non-sour ales. Westbrook's Bearded Farmer series is a series of Saisons, which makes this all add up to quite a complex beer. A pale-yellow color, the first thing that hits are the citrusy notes from the sour side. The sour kick is noticeable but pretty mild, not overwhelming like some sours (this is helped by the "hybridness" of the ale). Eventually, the flavors transform into some very light grains as well as some funky Belgian notes along with some fruity Belgian sweetness. I would have called this one of the most complex beers I've had recently, if not for what came after this last night...

Evil Twin Brewing always makes stuff that's out there. It's not a surprise--they're from Denmark. Their collaboration with Connecticut's Two Roads Brewing Company resulted in Two Evil Geyser Goze. Now, because I don't think you'll believe my impressions, I feel the need to quote the Two Roads website's description of this beer, where they used "Icelandic moss, rye, herbs, sea kelp, skyr (Icelandic yogurt) and birch-smoked sea salt" in creating this beer. The Geyser Goze pours a light lemon color, and has very little body. Flavor notes? Smoky. Vegetal. Seaweed, of course. Peas (like, the vegetable). Once my palate started to adapt a little bit, I got some sweet hints, most notably of strawberries, but it was very faint. It wasn't sour, and only barely sweet. I can appreciate what Evil Twin and Two Roads were going for, but at the end of the day, it wasn't a beer for me.

Alpine Beer Company's Duet IPA brought me back down to earth a bit. Maybe it was just my palate recovering, but I found this beer to be quite straight-forward. A nice golden color with some body, I got a strong grassy aroma. Flavors of piney hops and sweet fruitiness. Pretty light overall. I enjoyed this beer, but I probably need to give it a second chance considering how extreme its predecessor was.

Finally, Southern Tier Brewing Company's 2X Smash, a Double IPA. Again, this is a beer I may need to revisit at a later date, but my local watering hole seemed to be excited about it, and had it in very short supply. I found the color beautiful, a rose gold (reddish-gold) hue. The DIPA led off with mild dank hops that leads to lots of nice tropical fruit notes--things like passion fruit, mango, and maybe some citrus. The hops were present but there was no bite; a bit of hop sweetness blended well with these tropical notes. The result was pleasantly sweet without being overwhelming.

Beers in Review, Labor Day Weekend, Goose Island Edition

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!

Digression over.

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.