Thursday, December 27, 2007
Goose Island Christmas Ale
Every year I look forward to the coming of Christmas beers. In recent years, I've been particularly fond of the Christmas Ale from Goose Island Brewing Co. of Chicago, Illinois. This mahogany ale has a wonderful spicy, hoppy aroma that covers up the scent of all the toasted and caramel malts in this brew. Hearty pine and citrus hops play well with the flavors of caramel and lightly roasted malts. The finish is assertively bitter (the brewery says 50 IBUs), but as the hops fade, the sweetness of the malt lingers. The brewery says the flavor of this beer will continue to improve over five years and I believe 'em. This beer is well-hopped, but I think I can detect some faint spices (other than hops) in the background. I'd certainly like to see how this beer might change. My guess is that the hops might fade and some hidden complexity (masked by the hops) might surface over time -- at least that's been my experience with beer that I have homebrewed. I made an extra hoppy barleywine a few years ago and it was interesting how the hop flavor mellowed over time, the hops becoming less aromatic, but their flavor mutating into more of an earthy, woody character instead of the original citrus and pine.