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.
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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: