Goose Island Honker’s Ale

The first beer I ever had from Goose Island was the Honker’s Ale. Because of this (and because of the distinctive goose head tap handle), I tend to think of the Honker’s Ale as Goose Island’s calling card. Realistically, I think more people actually prefer the 312, but, well, lots of people like wheat beers.

Basic Info:
Name:
Honker’s Ale
Origin: Goose Island Beer Co., Chicago, IL
Style: English Bitter
ABV: 4.2%
IBU: 30
I drank this: on tap at Old Chicago, Olathe

If you’re ever watching a show or a movie filmed in England, populated by English actors or written by English authors, during which the characters take themselves to a pub, they will often ask for a pint of bitters. This beer is an example of what they’d receive (or what you’d receive were you to wander into an English pub and order a pint of bitters – I suspect that if you did that Stateside, most bartenders would just look at you funny).

Let me say at this point that for a beer referred to as “bitters,” this is not a particularly bitter beer – compared to the hops extravanganzas so prominent in American brewing right now, this stuff is positively malty. The scent is medium malts (caramel, biscuit, that sort of thing) with a touch of a hoppy bitterness floating on top – the bitterness is noticeable, but only if you’re looking for it. Otherwise, malts.

Taste-wise, this is a nice mishmash of malts (which sort of remind me of Oktoberfest malt profiles) with a little bit of sweetness and some slightly bitter herbal/grassy hops. The hops are sharp – they feel biting on the tongue moreso than they provide any sort of bitter flavor. The aftertaste is faint and lightly bitter, gone in a few seconds.

Body-wise, this is medium, with what my notes incomprehensibly describe as a “slight hint of caramelly sort of something in the body if that makes sense to anyone but me.”* To translate as best I can, the body feels overall fairly light, but there’s a hint of something that seems thicker and which also reminds me of the texture of liquid caramel (like a caramel sauce). This is all simultaneous, making the body of the beer one of its most interesting qualities in my book. I’m pretty much incapable of describing it in a not-nonsensical way.

It’s a nicely balanced ale, very easy to drink. The fact that it’s fairly low in alcohol also makes it a great session beer – it’s totally within reason to be able to throw back three of these during the course of an evening and not be too far gone. (I think, anyway. I haven’t actually tried drinking three of these in one sitting.)

_________________________________________________________
*not that this makes all that much sense to even me at this point. Note to self: take moar bettar notes!

Advertisements

About Kim

Kim spends a lot of time writing, thinking about writing, reading, writing more and dealing with writer's block. When she's not writing, she might be found having a beer. She often combines the writing experience with the beer experience. The combination tends to lead to more creativity but significantly impaired spelling.
This entry was posted in Beer Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Goose Island Honker’s Ale

  1. Amy says:

    In the Chicago area, 312 slowly replaced all of the Honkers taps at most restaurants and bars. It’s like a special treat to find Honkers.

    • Kim says:

      I think it’s probably easier for me to find than it is for you, honestly, since everyone carries Boulevard Wheat. I see 312/Honkers about 50/50 down here.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I’ve actually had the chance to enjoy this lovely beer on tap at the Goose Island brewery up by Wrigley. It was a great experience of epicurean (me) sitting at the bar + superfriendly bartender = epic beer sampling. I recommend.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s