Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Goose Island Harvest Ale

 Goose Island makes their way into Fall with the seasonal release of  "Harvest Ale". Harvest Ale is an American take on the traditional English ESB. ESB's, or Extra Special Bitter as they are commonly known, take "top dog" status in  the English Pale Ale category for their higher bitterness and gravity rating. However by U.S. standards these beers would be considered tame. Interesting to note that English brewers choose not to put their best foot forward with ESB, but rather in the "Best Bitter" category. Here they would brew their finest products using far more premium ingredients at lower IBU's and ABV's.

 Harvest Ale pours a rich copper color with a off-white frothy head. Its aroma is a blend of caramel and nut, with some musty hop overtones. Its flavor is malt forward with those sweet caramel and nut characters ever-present. The hops provide mild bitterness with hints of citrus and pine. The mouth-feel is mild in body with rather low levels of carbonation. This is a common characteristic of  English Mild's and Bitter's. Cascade is the Hop of choice, and well balanced against the 2-Row, Wheat, Caramel and Pale malts. Harvest Ale checks in at 5.7 %ABV and 39 IBU's and is available Sept.-Oct. I enjoyed Harvest Ale, because of its mild bitterness and crisp drinkability. It makes for a great transition from those hot summer months into the cooler weather leading into, well, OKTOBERFEST of course!  Cheers!

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