Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Goose Island Christmas Ale

It's Christmas and therefore time for Christmas Ale, in this case, Goose Christmas Ale. The label of this beer purports that you can cellar it for five years, so last year I stashed a six-pack for tasting the next Christmas and here we are...the wait is over!

This 2007 Goose Christmas Ale pours a dark red to brown hue with plenty of carbonation that forms thick off-white foam.The first sip is exceptionally smooth, silky smooth, with flavors of candied fruits. Lacework is left behind down the sides of my goblet as the head falls.The sweet caramel malt flavors are mixed with notes of toasted marshmallow balanced well with hops that offer up just a hint of spiciness. The body is medium and the finish is fairly short, dry and a bit tannic. The tannin seems to subside after a few sips, increasing the enjoyment of this ale. I may have one or two more of these this winter, but I'd like to see how the rest age. This bottle has certainly aged gracefully as a delicious winter warmer.

Next I crack open this year's Goose Christmas Ale. It's just as soft as the 2007 edition, but with a little harsher bitterness and less complexity. Perhaps some age will improve the character. It's not bad mind you, just not as good as the '07. There's a slight hint of papery oxidation which has me concerned about cellaring this year's batch. I guess I'll cross my fingers and hope for the best.

I also picked up a 2008 Anchor Our Special Ale today, but as I've already had a half two Christmas Ales and half a bottle of wine, my notes on this beer will have to wait. It's a favorite though, so I'm eager to pop the cap on it.

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