ol’ “Bitter” might be the epitome of British-style brews. Despite the
name, beers of the style tend to be rather sweet and only mildly bitter.
Any American brewery that makes one that’s decent is worthy of
commendation; such is the case with Goose Island Honkers Ale. This is
one of their original brews and I can see why it’s maintained appeal all
these years. It’s a very drinker-friendly beer in all aspects (but not
an amazing one).
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tumbler glass. It was bottled on 7/27/15 and cost $1.66 ($0.14 per ounce).
Appearance: A pretty shade of copper/magenta with a clear body and
carbonation visible. Pours to an average-sized, off-white, foamy head
which retains and laces well.
Smell: Lightly fruity, though I detect some signs of oxidation. Slightly floral; though mild overall.
Taste: There seems to be a lot going on in this beer… and yet, not much
at all. I do taste a genuine malt flavor – quite grainy and slightly
biscuity. This creates for sweetness, but it’s mild. Lurking in the
background is a dry bitterness with just a hint of resin. Faint caramel
or treacle flavor on the backend which creates for additional sweetness,
and then it finishes almost completely clean. All these characteristics
are enjoyable to be sure. Perhaps I shouldn’t penalize it for being
mild since that’s the point of the style. Still, a little more pizzazz
would be nice.
Drinkability: At 4.3% ABV, Goose Island Honkers Ale is a sessionable
beer to be sure. The mouthfeel is crisp with a consistent moistness to
it as well. Though there is noticeable hop presence, there’s no
lingering bitterness. I would consider it refreshing while in the mouth.
I could see this working well in the summer, especially from a can,
though it’s got the palette to work as a year-round brew, too.