We were very exited to get our hands on some Goose Island beers, imported from Chicago this 312 is described as an ‘Urban’ Ale and boasts its unfiltered wheatness. If I’m completely honest, I don’t really know what urban alludes to on the beer circuit. Is it location? Is it the brewing process? Is it some sort of gritty, unrefined taste? Is it pollution? The only image in my head (I can’t work out the reason either) is this. I’m probably missing the point.
Let’s have a (goosey) gander
Without further ado, I take my trusty bottle opener and remove the cap from this rather oddly volumed 355ml bottle – but hey it’s the States so I shan’t complain (NSA might track us down), and I should probably correct that to 35,5cl bottle.
Moving swiftly on, it pours nicely. An energetic little number with some very heavy lacing, presided over by quite a thick energetic head. It looks a little like cloudy lemonade and so I pine for the sun whilst I wait for the sediment to settle. As mentioned, this cheeky little Yank is unfiltered, so it’s hazy amber yellow. It’s quite attractive, I must say, but then I sniff. And I sniff again. And then I really sniff.
Okay, that one did it – but I’m left a little disappointed. It’s a wheat ale, and I can definitely smell a freshly baking baguette, a hint of hop and is that a greasy grapefruit? I don’t know, it’s… weak. I don’t like to judge though, and shall not cast the first stone, so I drink with an open mind. The smell foretold the taste – but, it’s not… weak, it’s just not punchy.
The flavours are there, the wheat, the hop mix (of which there are three), I can even detect the slight hint of spice that is focused upon on the website, but there’s no punch. I had illusions of grandeur that this would have been the beer Al Capone bootlegged in his speakeasies when the Whisky got too much, but I imagine Al Capone liked bitter, strong flavours. So I stow my trilby and swig on. I genuinely can’t find much more to say about this beer. The aftertaste isn’t an aftertaste. There’s no bitter wash, there’s no growing citrus. But, that being said, sometimes (very occasionally) that just isn’t what you’re after.
And although the beer is mild, I quite enjoyed it. I could quite happily, one August afternoon, sit in a pub garden without a care in the world knocking this one back a session beer. It’s inoffensive, it’s mild, it could be drunk in large volumes – and although I can’t say it’s a personal favourite, it would be a very good starter ale and something worth searching if your not a fan of bitter.
In conclusion, our first beer from the States has been a little less Seal Team 6 and a little more Dad’s With Swords: