Beer Review: Goose Island Christmas Ale 2009

Welcome to December my friends. Not only does this mean that we need to break out the winter weather gear for our tailgates, but we also need to break out our cold weather beers!

This month I will be focusing on Seasonal/Christmas beers that you can offer up at your next tailgate. For those wondering what the heck makes up a holiday brew, it tends to be a bit heavier with a focus on spice rather than hops. This time around I went with Goose Island Christmas Ale from the fine folks at Goose Island Beer Co. out of Chicago. A few years ago I went to Chicago before making a trip out to South Bend to take in tailgating Notre Dame Fighting Irish style. Since I enjoyed Goose Island then, I thought I would give their holiday brew a try.

Appearance: The fact that this is a Christmas beer is clear from just looking at the label. It features the traditional Goose Island Goose sporting a Santa Claus hat. The color of this beer is very interesting. Not sure at first if it was a red or brown. I’m color blind so I will trust the folks at Goose Island and go with brown ale. When it is poured into a glass beer mug and held to the light it glows a ruby red.

Smell: The smell is reserved in comparison to the color. Slight hints of holiday spices are noted with faint hints of hops aroma hiding deep within this one.

Taste: This is very much a holiday beer that is flavored accordingly. It is smooth in flavor with notes of holiday spices including cinnamon and nutmeg. This beer offers flavors that go far beyond the normal beer but unlike normal craft brews it doesn’t overpower you with hops. There is an alcohol flavor noted in the aftertaste but not distracting from the general flavor.

Alcohol: 5.7%

Availability and Cost: This beer is only available in bottles. I found it in my local Bevmo and it cost me seven bucks for a 650 ml bottle.

Final Thought: The fine folks of Goose Island Beer Co. put out many quality beers that I would recommend. This holiday edition Christmas Ale is no exception. It has enough flavor complexity to make it interesting and also make it a good cold weather brew. A portion of all the profits made from this brew go to a charity called the Chicago Christmas Ship that distributes Christmas trees to many disadvantaged families in Chicago. So, today I’m not just drinking, I’m doing charity work! I’ve noticed lately that several beers claim to give a portion of its proceeds to one charity or another. Your homework assignment this time is to find a beer that supports a local charity in your area and do some solid drinking, er, I mean charity work! This week I will be hosting a beer tasting that will focus on seasonal or holiday beers and will be offering up my suggestions for a tailgate beer that Santa would enjoy.