25 July 2011

Does this taste irony to you?

There's something just a little bit poignant about Goose Island Demolition in the weeks after the Chicago micro was acquired by Earth's largest beer company. The beer was brewed as a tribute to those who kept the Goose Island spirit alive as their Chicago neighbourhood was ripped down around them. Whether A-B InBev end up doing a different sort of demolition job on the brand remains to be seen, of course.

My bottle pre-dates the takeover by several months. In fact, it's over a year since it left the windy city and the label specifies it's best before six months. I was worried that the flavours may have done their own self-destruct job as well, but if they did, they've built a damn fine edifice in their place.

The vital statistics are a 7.2% ABV Belgian-style golden ale. I was expecting something Duvellish: quite bitter with lots of fizz. The carbonation is low, however, though enough to leave a layer of foam on top. The beer itself is rather dense, gold coloured with nonchalant floating sediment through it. The real action starts on the aroma.

First out is a sticky honey scent, quickly followed by light and succulent melon fruit. The middle eastern theme continues on tasting as the honey is accompanied by chopped nuts and buttery pastry, finished off with the mouth-watering juicy fruit. There's nearly mead-like quality to it, though it also reminds me of sauternes or similar botrytised dessert wine.

And it is insanely easy to drink. The light and subtle fruit flavours do a great job of distracting the drinker from the weight of malt behind it, and a dry tannic finish sets up the next mouthful straight away. The 650ml bottle is probably meant for sharing, but nuts to that.

Close the door and stage a demolition of your own.

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