Sunday, November 13, 2011
Harvest-time beer reviews, continued...
More beer reviews sadly neglected last month. Most of these can be likely found in most Midwestern United States-area stores, and these are all solid craft beers. Remember the system...1 is awful, 5 is awesome. in-between, well, let's just say that 2 would be bleah, 3 drinkable, and 4 worthy. Make sense? As always, judge on your own taste buds, and give these breweries your support.
GOOSE ISLAND - HARVEST ALE (Chicago, IL) - 4.0
This Fall seasonal from Chicago's fine Goose Island pours a fittingly rusty amber, and boasts of an ample head and stunningly gorgeous spiderweb lacing. The aroma is malty - like Fall leaves and grains...robust and sturdy. Tastes well-balanced, with a biscuity malt profile at first, followed by a hoppy, sharp bitter finish. Very good, and a welcome break from the usual Fall Marzen/Oktoberfest styles.
WIDMER BROTHERS - DRIFTER PALE ALE (Portland, OR) - 3.5
Nice clean pine-amber color, with a modest head. Slight but attractive lace.
Aroma is pleasantly pine, with some orange tones.
Easy-drinking hops presence, but very well-balanced with the malts. Flavor reveals more pine and orange/citrus character. Fine and likeable, this is a superb session-worthy pale ale.
GREAT DIVIDE - HIBERNATION ALE (Denver, CO) - 4.5
This dark red/amber English-style old ale pours with a massive and lovely retention on the glass. A strong start, for sure. The aroma says roasty, peaty malts. Earthy, like wet leaves and yeast. Nice. Taste is huge - strong peat-roasted malts, followed by a dry hops sharpness. The strong 8.7% alcohol isn't too apparent, but it is there underneath all the powerful flavors. I get even more of a pungent licorice, raisin, and tobacco taste upon slight warming. A potent, heavy, and complex ale. High marks here.
GUINNESS BLACK LAGER (Dublin, Ireland) - 3.5
Deep and black (as Guinness well should be), this new brew leaves a large but erratic lace on my pint glass. Nose is grainy like most lagers, barely hinting at the flavors to follow. Tastes mildly burnt/roasty - but still light on the body, as opposed to the usual heavier stout. Very enjoyable, and though I'd rather sip on a warmed Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, this one hit the spot.