Sunday, July 6, 2014

Quick Sip 007. Goose Island Sofie - Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale

With this Quick Sip having the number 007, I was tempted to find something with a spy theme, or perhaps to try to force some heavy-handed metaphor about something hiding beneath the surface. But after taking one sip of Goose Island Sofie Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale, I decided that wasn't going to work. You see, this is a good, nicely spiced farmhouse ale, but I don't think it has a lot of lurking nuance to report back to the home office.

This bottle was actually made in 2013 and has been sitting in my beer fridge -- nice and cold, only occasionally agitated by the opening and closing of the door -- since I bought it some time last year. When that was, I cannot say. I do know this is a large bottle (750 ml) and I don't buy them often, but I seldom pay more than $15 for a bottle this size ($10 being far more common).

This is a good farmhouse ale -- appropriately light and spiced for the summer. Opening it, I actually had to do an emergency suck at the mouth to catch the ample head as it foamed over. I didn't really agitate it much carrying it to my desk, so perhaps it was the extra time spent aging? Unless I find another (more recent) bottle, then there's no way for me to no. But as i was sucking suds from the neck, I was greeted by pleasant citrus notes with hints of pepper and perhaps some coriander. Pleasing, to say the least.

The pour was a light yellow color with a huge head (as to be expected). lacing was lighter than expected from such a glorious 3-finger head. Carbonation was medium but persistent. It's still got bubble after 10 minutes. Again, as to be expected, it's very cloudy.

"80% Belgian Style Ale Blended with 20% Belgian Style Ale Aged in wine barrels with orange peel."
-- From the label

I think fans of farmhouse ales (also known as Saisons) will like this, but it was a little too sour for me. In fact, this borders on a shandy and the sour notes give me the impression of drinking a tart lemonade, but without the lemon flavor. I will say this, though, it has a relatively dry mouthfeel that I expected to increase the bitterness, but that didn't happen. It didn't get more sour the longer I drank it (and since it was such a big bottle, there was a lot to drink). Another thing I expected was a strong presence of hops, but they were nicely in balance with the understated malt and managed to play nicely with the spices and aromatics.

This is a good summer beer and I might actually like to try a more recent vintage so I can decide whether the faint yeast taste and persistent carbonation are intended, or just by-products of staying on the shelf too long. The next time I try it, I would like to try it with some pork barbeque and a good, vinegary cole slaw to see how it pairs. If I get the chance, I'll post an update.

ABV: 6.5%
My Rating: 6.5 out of 10
Summer fun in the sun rating: 8

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