Monday, January 9, 2012

Goose Island Demolition

Craig joins me for a back-to-back review. This time we review Goose Island's "Demolition" which is described as a "Belgian-style Golden Ale". My brother gave this to me for Christmas. I was a little concerned, though, as the bottle was dated July of 2010 and it says it's best within 6 months of the date. Would it hold up?
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   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (602) - Albany, New York, USA - JAN 7, 2012
I tend to roll my eyes at American beers described as a "Belgian-style golden ale" since that’s such an umbrella term and few beers using that term are any good. My brother gave me a bottle of Goose Island Demolition that was bottled in July of 2010 for Christmas of 2011, and I didn’t have high hopes for it since it’s not bottle-conditioned. But as I’ve said many times, one of the best things about being a beer reviewer is when a beer catches you by surprise and that was certainly the case here. It’s a slightly fruity, somewhat refreshing, Belgian-ish beer that’s still American at the core.

I split a 22oz bomber with a friend. We each poured it into tulip glasses.

Appearance: Dark maize yellow, almost completely opaque. Forms a small, white, foamy head which dissipates completely and leaves no lacing on the glass.

Smell: Authentic Belgian aroma of banana peel, coriander and an assortment of other light spices. Slight hop flowers, too.

Taste: As soon as the beer hit my tongue it was immediately lit up with zesty spice and traditional Belgian energy. It’s similar to what you might get in a Trappist tripel, but without any alcohol presence or heavy density. Orangepeel, coriander, banana, clove, and a mélange of light spices are all individually distinguishable, but also combine for a delectable palate overall. The orange taste is probably the most prominent - similar to the tangelo flavor notes that Amarillo and the "C" hops tend to impart. But here it’s just the fruit flavor without the bitterness, tartness, or acidity.

For a moment it’s a little refreshing, especially during the first half. Then the spices appear en masse and dry the palate out (but not completely). Confectionery tastes of caramel and butterscotch are subtle, but noticeable. The aftertaste is remarkably clean considering how much spice is in the palate. It’s an enjoyable for sure, but not quite wonderfully delicious.

Drinkability: The best way to describe the palate and the mouthfeel is "zesty." Plenty of spicy energy, taste, and residual dryness - but nothing extreme. Not as highly carbonated as many actual Belgian strong pale ales like this tend to be, which makes it quite smooth and easy to drink in bigger swigs. At 7.2% ABV and in 22oz bottle it’s very easy to drink it all yourself without feeling overwhelmed. Probably something I’d prefer in warmer weather, but it works well as an after-dinner brew year-round.

Grade: 8/10

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