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Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week": Goose Island Harvest Ale

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Oct 10, 2007 4:00PM

2007_10_botw41.jpgOne of our favorite seasonal beers at Chicagoist was Goose Island Oktoberfest lager. Our major issue with the beer was that the brewery always ran out of it by early September, right before Oktoberfest celebrations were just starting to kick into high gear. Besides, Goose Island's forte isn't lagers, anyway. With the exception of 312, they're all about brewing bold ales and bitters.

We were caught slightly by surprise when Goose Island retired their Oktoberfest beer and replaced it with their new Harvest Ale. This Extra Special Bitter lives up to the brewery's reputation and stands up to the scrutiny of fans of dark lagers who might be put off by the retiring of Oktoberfest. Harvest Ale is brewed using Washington Cascade hops and Midwestern toasted malt. When we decanted this beer, we could smell the hops immediately. The head on this beer was slight, but took a while to fade, leaving nice lacing on the glass. The Cascade hops lent a bright spice flavor to the beer to complement the caramel brown sugar sweetness of the malt. Harvest ale finished with a lingering, pronounced sweetness. It would be easy to classify Harvest Ale as a more accessible version of Honkers Ale, but that would be a disservice to both beers.

Best of all, Goose Island brewed enough Harvest Ale that we can still find it at the CVS pharmacy down the street from our house. Try it with some roast beef, a spicy soup like Mulligatawny, Cajun cuisine or cheddar cheese. Goose Island Harvest Ale is Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week."