Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Festivity Ale - Goose Island Beer Co.

    Festivity Ale is Goose Island's Winter release Brown Ale, and wouldn't you know it, the only bottle I had left has a wonky label.. Goose Island (Chicago, IL) releases a Brown Ale every year to celebrate the holidays. Each year they slightly alter the recipe for a new, unique brew each year. This year, Goose Island chose to highlight some of the sweet, dark fruit flavors that specialty malts can lend to ales. I can only hope this holiday brew brings joy to my mouth!

    Festivity Ale is a surprisingly clear, light brown color with a very thin head at pouring. There is very little retention to the head, though a thin ring of bubbles hugs the glass long after the foam has dissipated.

    The Brown Ale smells unsurprisingly malty, with sweet toffee and caramel aromas. There is an almost sour, fruity smell to the ale that I've usually only smelled in strong Belgian style ales. There isn't really any hops scent to the brew.
    Festivity has a nice smoothness to it, though there is a bit of a watery character to the ale. The brew is medium bodied and has a medium carbonation level which gives the beer a nice tingle on the tongue. Though the dark-fruit smells usually warn me that I'm about to drink a super-strong ale, Festivity Ale has an ABV of 7.7%; still not a weak brew, but not the 9-10% I would expect.
Ugly Sweatervests are the next big Christmas thing

    The Brown Ale tastes slightly roasty, though it avoids the bitterness that can sometimes come with roasted malts. Sweet toffee and caramel malts make up a portion of the beer's flavor with the remainder featuring dark, candied fruit flavors such as dates, raisins, and even a little bit of apple. I even taste a bit of brown sugar in the beer's flavor. The brew's hops add a subtle, grassy earthiness to the mix, grounding the sweet flavors.

    Since I was little I've been amused by flavors and how they can change depending on what you expect when putting something up to your mouth. I first discovered this when taking a sip of milk from a cup as a child, only to spit it out when it tasted extremely disgusting. As it turns out, there was iced tea in my cup, not milk. Once I realized that it was iced tea, the tea tasted fine. It was just the fact that I was expecting milk that changed my perception of what I was tasting. This beer is no different. I started drinking the first couple of beers in this six-pack not knowing that there were supposed to be fruit flavors in the brew. When I didn't know what I was looking for and expecting typical roasty Brown Ale flavors, I was disgusted by Festivity's fruity malt flavors. I actually opened one of these and refused to drink it, handing it off to someone else . After doing some research into the beer, the flavors suddenly make sense to my tongue.

    Even after knowing what to expect, I still find the dark fruit flavors to be confusing in a beer that is also somewhat watery. The beer's body tells my mouth that it should be easy-drinking, while the extreme flavors make me want to sip the beer slowly to avoid becoming overwhelmed by the flavors. Overall this brew comes off as too confusing to easily enjoy, though interesting in that it seems as though Goose Island pumped a good bit of flavor into a mass-produced, watery beer.

Amulets and Ale Rating:

Friday, January 2, 2015

Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood - Xbox 360

    Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood is the third game in the historically based Action and Stealth game series. Released in 2010 on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC, and Mac OS X, Brotherhood picks right up where Assassin's Creed II left off, and adds some new features to the already improved gameplay of the second game.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Unsessionable - Revolution Brewing Company

    Unsessionable is an Imperial (or Double) India Pale Ale brewed by Revolution Brewing Company in Chicago, Illinois. With 6 hop varieties and a high alcohol content, this beer nearly lives up to its name. You're going to want to make your best effort to challenge its name once you taste the brew, however.

    Unsessionable pours a golden-bronze color with a decent head topping it. This foam shows remarkable retention, and leaves a good amount of lacing once it does finally fade.

    The hop aromas in this one are undeniable. Scents such as tropical fruits, lemon, pine, and grassy notes meld together seamlessly, and represent the huge range of scents thats hops can lend to a brew. Sweet caramel malt scents lure you in to the first taste, even if the hoppy aromas might have made you hesitant to dive in.

     Unsessionable is extremely smooth, with a slight alcohol warmth that is pleasant on the tongue. The IIPA is medium bodied with a similar level of carbonation that effervesces the many hops scents and flavors. The alcohol content of 10% ABV is really the only reason you wouldn't want to session drink this beer!

He tried to session it, he failed.

    With the incredibly hoppy scent of this beer the super sweet taste you get at first sip can be a bit of a surprise. There's definitely the expected hops bitterness, but the malt backbone really keeps the astringency at bay. Hops flavors of juicy fruit, lemon, pine, candied orange peel, and more delight the mouth as the smooth beer is enjoyed. For a brew with so much going on, Unsessionale never gets overcomplicated on the tongue and strikes an amazing balance that is incredibly pleasant.

    This is the first specialty brew that Revolution has canned. Normally, one must visit their brewpub or taproom at their brewery to get a taste of their specialty ales, so I was extremely excited at the precedent of this one being canned. I can only hope that Revolution continues the trend, and releases some more amazing beers for distribution across the country!

    Imperial India Pale Ales can be intimidating due to their massive hops content. Personally, I find that IIPAs are actually much sweeter than IPAs, and are easier to drink as well. The high alcohol content of Unsessionable is part of what makes it great, though it will definitely shut down anyone trying to finish more than a couple cans in one sitting. If you see this golden can in your local store, by all means, pick it up! I cannot put into words how impressed I am with this beer!

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Sleeping Dogs - Xbox 360

    Sleeping Dogs is an open-world, or Sandbox, style game that focuses on Action. The game was developed by United Front Games with development assistance and publishing by Square Enix. The game was originally slated to see release back in 2009 as the third entry in the True Crime video game series, but after many delays and budget problems, the game didn't hit shelves until 2012. The game is available on PC, Xbox 360, and Playstation 3.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

312 Urban Wheat - Goose Island Beer Co.

    312 Urban Wheat is a Pale Wheat Ale brewed by Goose Island Beer Co. in Chicago, Illinois. I'm pretty torn when it comes to Goose Island beers as a lot of their distributed beers seem to mirror the low quality of Goose Island's owner, Anheuser-Busch's products. Their in-pub only brews, however, are on par with those of the best craft breweries in the country. We'll see what side of the coin 312 sits on in just a minute, though I already have my guess.

    312 Urban Wheat pours a pale straw color with vivacious bubbles swarming inside the glass. A two finger head forms at pouring, but quickly subsides into a thin layer of bubbles which lace the glass as the beer is enjoyed.

    Aromas of wheat malt and a bit of sour corn predominate the beer's smell. Very light, hoppy, citrus scents give the beer a bit of a grassy quality.

    312 has a light body and a high level of carbonation. There is a slight bit of wateryness to the beer that I could do without, though it finishes dry. The beer is sessionable at 4.2% ABV.
Goose Island's next Headquarters?

    Goose Island's 312 Urban Wheat beer tastes of light wheat malts with a slight aftertaste of corn. Very light citrus hops give the brew a hint of lemon zest.

    I remember having this beer soon after it was first released and thinking that it was a pretty decent wheat beer. Now, at this tasting, I'm shocked at how much the flavor has chanegd. I wonder if production was changed to make for being able to sell the product to a larger market, and in the process the recipe was reformulated to reduce the wheat malt used in brewing.

    Whatever the change was, it's definitely for the worse. I would definitely look elsewhere for a beer with great, clean wheat malt flavor. If you want something light, 312 still wouldn't be a horrible choice, but you could find better...

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