Tuesday, December 31, 2013
I got a bottle of Gillian Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale from Goose Island a few weeks ago and decided this was the perfect moment to check her out. So I went to BFF Google and typed in "Gillian Beer" and voila, um, nope, no beer. It was all about some famous British academic of that name, worthy of lots of articles and a Wikipedia page! Anyway, I refined my search and actually just went to the Goose Island page about it. I can only dream about having the last name Beer. Mmm. Beer.
Gillian comes packaged in a wine bottle with a reddish brown label and nice yellow and gold lettering/accents. Elegant as usual for their vintage line. The cap is covered with a (I guess you call it a) cover that has the 2013 vintage noted on it. This beer is brewed with strawberries, honey and white pepper then aged in wine barrels. It's also able to mature for another five years in the bottle, according to the label. Mine was bottled on 12SEP13 so you can see I lasted 3.5 months. 9.5% alcohol. 1 800 GOOSE ME!
Sweet strawberries, soft honey, spice and a good dose of funk on the nose. Extremely funky and tart "blamo" on the first sip. I can't say I'm shocked but I think it's always a shock. No distinct flavors to start, just that hit in the mouth. Vinegary, acidic, wine character.
After that initial palate whack, the other flavors start to ease into the picture very nicely. Light strawberries, a bit like Kool Aid, juicy, very soft yet persistent and prominent. What's bigger is the funky, in-your-face yeasty attack. So two total opposites are competing here for your attention.
Spicy, tart and vinegary, wine barrel dryness. More yeasty funk--by the end of the bottle, you will probably agree that it's a bit overdone and you wish like I do for more strawberry and honey in the mix, a bit sweeter competition. Anyway, great carbonation, effervescent. I probably would have saved it until New Year's Eve tomorrow had I know that. Definitely an enjoyable beer, and it certainly took the edge off before my meeting with the Little League Commissioner later tonight!