The perception of USA beer in the UK is often that it is weak and watery, based on Coors and Bud and their team of low taste mass produced beer. But every American craft beer that I have tried so far has proven that there are beers which equal if not exceed those in the UK. So as not to scare off the faint hearted my first American beer on Beer for the Weekend is not a radical one, but I hope that the interesting flavours in Goose Island 312 urban wheat ale at least stir some interest in what the USA may have to offer in terms of beer.
The nose is citrus and grapefruit with a hint of yeastyness. The initial flavour is smooth grapefruit, little of the usual bitterness and none of the astringency which normally accompanies grapefruit flavours in beer. The middle is tropical fruits, pineapple a little mango and citrus. The end a smooth citrus which fades to pleasant lingering after-taste.
The thing which makes this beer special is that the hop flavours that are present are normally associated with very strong bitter beers. Goose Island 312 urban wheat ale has a much more subtle flavours with little bitterness and is relatively mild in alcohol at 4.2%.
For those who really like the hoppy IPAs such as Thornbridge Jaipur this beer may be a little bland on the taste buds, but personally I like the occasional break from beers which suck my palate dry with their bitterness. Goose Island 312 urban wheat ale is very refreshing. As a wheat beer it is lacking, but it is best to ignore that label and simply consider this a nice refreshing hoppy ale.
Of the Goose Island beers I have tried, 312 urban wheat ale is the best, the Indian Pale Ale is not bad but a little on the strong and clawing side. As American beers go 312 is a good introduction, a bit mass produced, but still it shows that some interesting and very drinkable beers are brewed in the USA – far from the now dated view that all American beer is weak tasting and watery.
Goose Island 312 urban wheat ale is fairly easy to find, pretty much any UK on-line beer retailer has it – and I would suggest that it is worth tagging on to a beer order.