Normally at this time on Good Friday, I'd be running through the music for the 3:00 services with the St. Andrew Chamber Group. This year, sadly, I'm sidelined with lingering effects from the cold that's kept me from reviewing most of the past three weeks: gravel voice. So I'm going to drink beer and listen to the songs I'd otherwise be singing. Join me: Johnny Cash's version of "Were You There". (putting this up on the day after Good Friday because I didn't get out for a draft till today...)
Omer Traditional Blond, 8.0%
I love the family-owned Belgian breweries. Brouwerij Omer Vander Ghinste has been owned by the Vander Ghinste family for four generations. They mostly make pilsner -- gotta pay the bills -- but they're making a set of traditional ales as well, and Omer is the big blond in the family. A Vander Ghinste named Omer has run the brewery for all four generations; kinda solid. I like that, too.
So what do we have here? Bright yellow beer, clean white foam with tenaciously tight little bubbles. All beers are beautiful, but this one's especially captivating to the eye. Oh, and the nose, too. Sweet clovey candy, orange marmalade, sweet and spicy without being sticky or cloying. It smells interesting, which is what I'm looking for.
Sipping time. First thought: 8%? Really? That's scary. Because this drinks like about 5.5%. Well-attenuated but not thin, and still spicy-sweet without being sticky. The fizzy fine carbonation runs all over my tongue and teeth and roof and cheeks, what a rush! This is more spicy than sweet, and there's no stickiness in the finish at all. That's by God well done, and I'm kinda regretting that I gave half of it to my wife!
Goose Island Four Star Pils, 5.1%
Whatever shall I do? Goose Island is owned by ABInBev! I believe I shall taste the beer with an open mind and leave my readers (both of you) to decide what to do with the information. I will say this: Goose has always made refreshing and thirst-quenching beers, and I expect more of the same in this 16 oz. can. Let's crack it.
Hmmm...kind of funky smell like pineapple and sweet cream; not unpleasant, just totally unexpected. Is this some more of these new hop strains brewers have been experimenting with? Still, it looks proper, with a beautiful white bloom of foam. Tastes better: malt, bitter hop, the right body, clean finish.