Goose Island Summertime Ale: It's for the summer, ya know?
So, there’s no misunderstanding when you are to drink this stuff, right? Americans seem to have developed the need to be told when to drink various styles of beer lately. There are now varieties of Christmas ales, Summer lagers, Winter stouts, Oktoberfests…. What’s next, Arbor Day wheats? Tuesday evening malt liquors? Anyway, the Goose Island people are exactly right. Their Summertime Ale is, indeed, perfectly suited for the hot months. Since it will only be available between April and September, it’s a moot point anyway.
Goose’s Summertime is a simple little golden ale inspired by the Kolsch-style beers of Cologne. True Kolsch beers, like Champagne, can only be brewed in that region, and the brewers in Cologne don’t bottle much for export. So, unless you head off to Germany, this is what you’ll have to settle for to slake that craving for Kolsch you probably didn‘t realize you were having.
This style of beer is a bit of an oddity since it happens to be an ale but is one of the most lager-like ales you’ll come across. It is very light and is similar to a pilsner -- only, short a hop or two.
Everything about this ale is soft and delicate. There is almost no head atop the pale yellow beverage, and the slight aroma doesn’t provide much of interest, either. The flavor follows to form and has a berry fruitiness that helps to provide a little nip of crispness that the hops would supply in a typical summer beer. But, overall, the taste is uncomplicated and clean; and simple enough for even the most unsophisticated beer palates.
There’s a time for these beers, and it’s obviously the summertime. This is a lunch-on-the-patio-with-a-salad beer. The beer to slug back at the picnic. A poolside beer. It’s not going to challenge the taste buds or spark any oohs and aahs, but it’s unobtrusive and won’t have you stumbling over the deck after the cookout. A beer made for drinking outdoors and not thinking about its complexity.
Goose Island Summertime Ale is an easy drinking alternative for the normal Bud Light crowd. Though muted, there is still more flavor than that of the macros overflowing most of the ice coolers in the hot months. It pairs well with all the grilled food piled on the picnic table and isn’t filling. It’s just a comfortable beer for those lazy days when the living is easy. When we’d rather think more about the weather than the beer.