Beer review – Goose Island

When it comes to the end of a stressful working week, there are few things that lift my spirits faster than a tasting flight. Fortunately Beer Hawk in Farringdon was on hand to sort me out with this trio of Geese.

From left to right: Midway IPA, Fog Bowl, Brut IPA

Midway IPA, 4.1%

The Midway isn’t Goose Island’s flagship – that would be the imaginatively named Goose IPA – but it is one of their more commonly served beers, with pubs across London generally stocking one or the other.

This brew is pale gold, sporting only a little head and few bubbles. The aroma is bright and floral, like grapefruit blossom, rising over the scantest hint of tin. Gas hits the tongue initially as the bubbles burst, then sharp, bitter hops. It’s a pretty dry beer: a little sweetcorn, some grain on the palate, but it’s dominated by the hops. The finish is short and bitter.

The Midway is ok. I’ll drink it if it’s a choice between this and something like Doom Bar, but I know Goose Island can do better. 2/5

Fog Bowl, 5.7%

The Fog Bowl is appropriately cloudy, and a rust/copper in colour. Malty sweet on the nose, with perhaps a hint of sourness and a hit of dank grass. It tastes seriously sweet, with a little smoke – like the Hemel & Aarde but not done quite so well. Plum, balsamic vinegar, red wine, followed by cloves and cinnamon on the finish.

I’m struggling to make my mind up on this beer: is it good, or just interesting? On balance, I think it’s sufficiently different from what I’ve tried before to warrant a 3/5.

Brut IPA, 7.0%

Having just finished a very sweet beer, now we’re moving onto something extremely dry.

The Brute is pale gold with a very light, dry grain aroma. The bubbles hit first on the tongue: it’s sharp, acidic without tasting off. It does, weirdly, taste a bit like dry Champagne. There’s that drying, almost bitter taste of white grape skins on the palate, and a subtle, just shy of buttery richness.

More flavours emerge once it warms up a little – pot pourri, like chewing on Grandma’s perfume, floral without adding any sweetness.

It’s a decent beer, but again I can’t see myself going back for a third or a fourth. At 7%, that’s probably for the best. 3/5

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