Goose Island IPA is reviewed by Chris Hall.
“Goose Island IPA honks with hops, and at this strength it’s as fierce as a goose, too.”
Goose Island India Pale Ale
Goose Island Beer Co, Chicago USA
Goose Island began life as a brewpub in Chicago called the Clybourn in 1988 (which is still open). When demand for the beer grew, a proper brewery was opened, and Goose Island became one of the USA’s big craft beer names. It is also the first ‘craft beer’ company to be bought out by a beer conglomerate. AB Inbev (of Budweiser, Beck’s, Stella Artois) have their claws in 58% of the company, and the remaining 42% is in their sights as well.
Goose Island’s IPA is an American classic. If you’re wondering what the honking goose on the label is saying, I would guess that it’s probably ‘HOPS!’ When I poured this beer into my tulip-shaped tasting glass, it had that beautiful, burnished gold colour that American pale ales have, and displayed such a fierce carbonation that a veritable whirlpool of bubbles illuminated the glass. These form a dense head that laces the glass a treat.
From this appetising head, there’s a noseful of lemon sherbets, marmalade, orange rind and a sour note I would associate with Kentish hops. A promising start, and it arrives on the palate just as impressively. That earthy, sour note is hops all right, and they set the agenda. The initial sweetness hints at toffee, orange and lemon curd, but the eye-poppingly blunt hops smack those flavours right out of your mouth. There’s big helpings of hops both English and American (Goldings and Cascade for certain), that seem to brawl with each other all over your tongue. The debris left by their battle is sticky, lip-puckering, mouth-coating sweetness, and a gradual, drying bitterness that makes the glass jump back into your hand.
There’s little to dislike about this brash but beautifully-put-together beer. Goose Island IPA honks with hops, and at this strength it’s as fierce as a goose, too.