October 9, 2013

Beer Mail: Goose Island, Magic Hat, Kona Brewing Company

I've been remiss in sharing some of the brews that have arrived on my doorstep over the past couple months. Things have been pretty busy around here. For one, I've been writing quite a bit of content for the E. C. Kraus homebrewing blog. I've also started with an exciting new project, which I'll share very soon. For now, some beer reviews from Goose Island, Magic Hat, and Kona Brewing Co.:

Goose Island Brewing Co., Chicago, IL

I was genuinely pleased with Goose Island's beers, a few were pretty impressive. Some people give Goose Island a hard time for "selling out" to AB-Inbev, but based on the quality of the beer itself, I can't fault them...

  • Honker's Ale - An easy drinking English style bitter. Burnt orange in color with an off white rocky head. Pale malt and some ale yeast esters in the aroma, with low hop aroma. Crisp grain flavor with mild hop bitterness. Some wheat gives it a medium-light body and good head retention. Finished somewhat dry. (4.2% ABV)
  • IPA - Similar to the Honkers in that wheat is used for head retention and body -- it's there in the aroma, along with sweet caramel malts and moderate spicy hop aroma. Not especially bitter in the flavor, pretty well balanced. Medium bodied. (5.9% ABV)
  • Urban Wheat - Light yellow in color with a big rocky white head. Faint aroma of lemons in the aroma, but nothing like the banana/clove of a hefeweizen. An easy drinking wheat ale perfect for a hot day. (4.2% ABV)
  • Matilda - This is where Goose Island's portfolio really begins to impress. Matilda is a Belgian style pale ale featuring complex aromas of orange, spice, phenols, and some dark fruit. Medium and frothy body with a moderately sweet finish. Excellent. (7% ABV)


    Goose Island Matilda - there's a winner.
  • Sofie - Sofie is a farmhouse ale, pale yellow in color with a white head. Somewhat tart with a prominent lemon character, plus some mild farmhouse funk. Light, yet chewy mouthfeel. (6.5% ABV)
  • Bourbon County Stout - This highly coveted imperial stout pours black/brown and viscous with a big brown head on top. Sweet chocolate is balanced by bourbon spice. This one's definitely a sipper! (15% ABV)

A pretty impressive lineup from Goose Island.



Magic Hat Brewing Co., South Burlington, VT

Say what you will about Magic Hat, but they sure make some inventive beers. These beers are part of the Magic Hat "Night of the Living Dead" variety pack.

  • Seance - A dark Saison, pouring dark brown with a creamy, tan head. Features an interesting combination of chocolate, citrus and peach fruit, and farmhouse flavors. Frothy mouthfeel, but a little thin. (4.4% ABV)


  • Deveiled Amber Ale - This beer defies the style guidelines for amber ales. It's a very dark, robust amber, a borderline brown ale. The hop aroma is subdued, with the caramel malt more prominent. There is some dark fruit in the flavor as well some roasted malts, with a somewhat astringent finish. (5.2% ABV)
Also included in the variety pack are Magic Hat #9 and hi.P.A.



Kona Brewing Co., Kailua-Kona, HI


  • Pipeline Porter - A dark brown with a big cocoa aroma. All Hawaiian coffee comes through in the flavor. Roasted and bitter malts with some floral hops and a moderately dry finish. Overall a good porter. (5.3% ABV)