Overall MFBR rating
In the interests of fairness and full exposure, after a few comments, it seems as though we had an unfortunate bottle of Goose Island IPA – that, or we have no taste whatsoever. As such, we will be getting our hands on another bottle and revisiting this review if our opinion changes.
Our second foray into the brewery from the States, our first was their urban offering of wheat liquid refreshment, which ended up with a strange video of chunky fellas running around with swords. Clearly, we take this very seriously. So, as I am about to pop this bottle of IPA, I wonder if there will be any East India swashbuckling and mutinous drama – as long as it’s better than the recent iterations of Pirates of the Caribbean – I will be pleased.
It pours deep and strong with a thick proud head. It’s a nice, rich dark colour and overall it is quite handsome. I think of Red Beard and his wondrous, strapping mane, glinting in the sun as he looks over the deck from the crow’s nest as he… washes some dirty plates. The smell is powerfully citric and slightly soapy. I feel like I should be wearing rubber gloves in the galley. However, it’s not putting me off, in fact, it is quite intriguing – the typical pine/lemon/grapefruit of an IPA just concentrated a few thousand times added with a touch of sourness. Unfortunately this Goose Island IPA concoction makes me think of Fairy Liquid and that once proud meaty head is now the bubbles of a well-used sink.
The best way I can describe it, after a fair few sips, is that it’s a sharp beer. It’s a rapier blade, ornate and striking, but on the arm of a pirate with two eye patches. It’s slightly missed matched, very little aftertaste except a subtle, soapy kind of bitterness that I’ve yet to come to terms with. On the plus side, it’s very refreshing – big on the citrus, you are extremely aware you are drinking it and in the mouth it feels nice. If my tongue were a mighty ship it would enjoy the swell and spray of the ocean around it, calming and coating my wooden bow with grapefruit-y, piney, slightly sterile flavours.
Not a Canadian Goose
Those buggars will honk, chase and bite you (I’d know, I have scars). But this, this little goose will shout and flap it’s wings. There will be no follow-up, no bite, none of those creepy little teeth sinking themselves into you with a bitter hit. It’s an okay beer, it’s striking in flavour, but lacking in substance. As a fan of Pale and India Pale Ales this isn’t one I would recommend to someone who is getting interested in the category. It comes across as good parts of different categories, but mixed in slightly the wrong way. So, you could say old Deppster in POTC 3+ could be a good description, and – as much as I like JD – it just doesn’t work.
Photo credit: SheCat