* Prices may differ from that shown
I don't know if it's because of the time of year, but I've noticed some new beers making an appearance in my local store, and quite a few from the former colonies of the New World. They've stocked a nice selection of beers from the USA. So, with that in mind, today I'm going to tell you all about GOOSE ISLAND'S HONKER'S ALE.
Apparently a goose making a goose-like noise would be termed a honker. Fine.
In my part of the world if something is honking, it means that it's stinkin', mingin', beelin', gantin', pure deid bowffin', or to put it simply, not up to an acceptable level of quality. Let's hope that's not an omen.
When I checked out the website for the Goose Island brewery I came across this little gem of information.
"Because no preservatives are used in the process and the beer is not pasteurized, Goose Island feels it's important to remain close to home (Chicago, USA)...."
They go on to say that European beers taste great in Europe, but after being sent here (or there), they can quite often taste stale. Accordingly, they know their limits and how far they can ship them and still maintain freshness.
Well that's not right, because I bought a six-pack of this right here in Bonnie Scotland, and we're not part of the US of A... yet.
The website also goes on to say that Honker's Ale is craft brewed with pure filtered water, Midwest malt, the finest hops and their own special yeast which creates an exceptionally balanced American Pale Ale with a spicy hop aroma and a rich malt middle.
Well, let's see just see how true that is.
Since we were discussing islands, and they're surrounded by water, and cruise liners are never very far away from water, here's a joke that fits right in with the thread of this opinion.....
There once was a magician who got a job performing on a luxury cruise liner alongside a very clever talking parrot. Unfortunately the parrot kept on spoiling the tricks by saying things like: "the card's up his sleeve" and "it's not a real coin". One evening though, the liner sank and the magician and his parrot were stuck together on a life raft. After several long hours the parrot turned to the magician and said: "Look, I give up. Now tell me what you have done with the ship."
Back to the beer...
It pours to a slightly hazy, deep golden to pale copper colour with a big, but short-lived head and masses of carbonation.
There's not a strong aroma, but it's hoppy with lots of citrus notes - akin to grapefruit, and a touch of woodiness. There's only the meerest suggestion of malt on the nose.
It's medium bodied with a smooth mouthfeel and initially, it's sweet with caramel and soft toasted malt flavours. There's some fruitiness, but it's very faint and hardly noticeable. When the hops kick in, they take over, giving a floral, woody, citrus zing to the beer which I think just goes a little too far. The finish is quite dry with a very clean aftertaste.
* THE VERDICT *
At 5% ABV, it's not going to knock you on your back, but it still has a pleasant alcohol bite. It's a decent brew and would make for a good session beer. If I have any criticism, it would be that there isn't enough of a malt profile and it's slightly unbalanced. But, it's still a nice beer and it seemed to travel well.
I can't remember the exact price I paid for this. It was either £1.19 or £1.39 for a 330ml bottle.
Would I drink it again? - My local store keepsa sellin' it - I'll keepa drinkin' it.
ABV: 4,3%. Brand: Goose Island / Inspired by visits to English country pubs, Honkers Ale combines a spicy hop aroma with a rich malt middle to create a perfectly balanced ale that is immensely drinkable. A smooth, drinkable English Bitter for those looking for more from their beer.