This is a brew that I have, fortunately, been able to get my hands on quite regularly. Goose Island is a great brewery that always churns out a quality product. I just hope it stays that way. (*wink*)
Here’s the description from the website, gooseisland.com, on the Honker’s Ale.
Inspired by visits to English country pubs, Honker’s Ale combines a fruity hop aroma with a rich malt middle to create a perfectly balanced beer. Immensely drinkable, Honker’s Ale is not only the beer you can trust but one you’ll look forward to time and again.
How ’bout a taste?
This English Style Bitter comes in at only 4.2% ABV and in a 12 oz. bottle.
It poured a very dark orange/amber/copper color with some brighter burnt orange highlights that outlined the edges and bottom of the glass. An off white, egg shell colored head was formed from a medium pour, which had decent size, adequate retention and left some pretty attractive lacing. The beer cleared up nicely as it warmed to the surroundings.
The bouquet revealed a sturdy caramel malt accompanied by some light graininess. It also provided a slightly toasted, sour dough bread along with very, very, very light, “hoppy” peach notes and other soft fruits. A woody, “tree bark” aroma was found (which I wasn’t expecting) melded with a minuscule butter fragrance. I thought the smell was balanced well with suitable complexity.
A definitive and plentiful malt characteristic filled the flavor. Sweet caramel combined with bread, crisp crackers and dry wafers. A genuine, earthy hop profile brought about a slight bite and more of that “soft fruitiness” completed an enjoyable savor. Again, well balanced and even, however it may have been just a little on the relaxed side.
The mouthfeel was a solid medium. It was dry, smooth, slick and somewhat crisp. I found myself taking big, refreshing gulps that left a substantial amount of flavor behind for me to enjoy.
Overall, this is a GREAT session brew. I could definitely pound several of these during an evening. This beer is not overly complicated nor is it a show stopper, but for an easy going, fun to drink beer…. it’s very nice. I think this could be a great “gateway” brew for someone interested in trying a craft beer and I also think that it has enough complexity and flavor for even the most experienced beer aficionado. Give it a try if you haven’t already. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by this underrated, light, sessionable gem.
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Score: 3.6 out of 5