Review of Goose Island Honker’s Ale

17 Jul
Today’s craft beer review comes from the Goose Island Brewery located in Chicago Illinois.  The brew is called the Honker’s Ale.

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,, 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.

Thanks for all the support guys.  It means a tremendous amount to me.  Thanks to all the people from all the different countries, who take time out of their busy days to read a few of my posts.  It’s the greatest compliment of all.  I appreciate you all and hope that all is well.

Thanks again.

Score:  3.6 out of 5
Grade:  B

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Posted by on July 17, 2011 in Country: USA, Goose Island


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