A taste of summer from Goose Island

 This week we're going to look at a seasonal offering to go with our summer (or what's left of it,) Goose Island's Summertime.Goose Island is a Chicago-based craft brewer, formed in 1988 as part of a movement to counter the dominance of mass-produced beers in mid-western America.

First making a mark on these shores with their IPA (India Pale Ale,) a wide range of Goose Island products can now be found in specialist craft beer stores (such as Molloys.)

Summertime pours a nice light golden colour, slightly darker than most lagers. We got a small head with very small bubbles, though that may have been our pour, the Goose Island site shows a massive frothy head at home in any German beer hall. Speaking of German beer halls, Summertime is a Kölsch style, famous around Cologne and noted for it's refreshing but not over-powering hoppiness, and it's quite a good version of the style. 

The first taste is refreshing, with the hops adding a very slight bitter taste, combined with a gentle fruity acidity. The after taste is quite pleasant and sets you up nicely for another mouthful. The mention of fruitiness can put some people off a beer, but it shouldn't be the case here. Summertime is nowhere near as fruity as popular blond beers such a Hoegaarden, as there's just enough acidity and bitterness to make it genuinely refreshing. 

Summertime with colleagues Harvest Ale and Honker's Ale. Rest of the gang out of shot.

Ideal food pairings would be salad and fish, but realistically the flavour isn't intense enough to take away from anything on a barbecue. 

At 4.7%, it's slightly stronger than most beers aimed at the lighter tasting summer market, but the extra hit of alcohol is hard to detect. 

In terms of complex flavours and long term memorability, Summertime isn't up there with some of the more serious ales, but from the bottle alone you can see it's not trying to compete. Summertime aims to be a refreshing sunny-day treat and on that count it's successful. It may not be exciting enough for the serious beer drinker, but in terms of flavour it's a step up from many of the traditional warm weather beers. 

Summary: Refreshing beer,  a stronger flavour for those who want more bite than their normal summertime Corona or Sol.