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Goose Island Mild Winter - abv 5.6 per cent; £2.20/355ml
DURING his travels around Europe in the early 1980s, Chicagoan John Hall was struck by the individuality of the various beer styles he encountered in the different localities he visited.
He decided his home city required a brewpub, an ambition he realised in 1988 when Goose Island opened. By 1995 the brewpub was so popular that the decision was taken to expand into a freestanding brewery with a bottling facility, and four years later a second brewpub was added to the empire. More than 50 different beers are produced and distributed across half the states of America, and now to Europe.
This week we taste Goose Island’s Mild Winter, appropriately named if we ignore that nasty week at the beginning of February.
The colour is chestnut brown, and it pours with a deep, foamy head. It is quite sweet on the nose, and decidedly nutty, with plenty of hazelnut, a little almond, and some milky chocolate, raisins and bread in the background.
There is chocolate on the palate too, but drier and more bitter, with toasted nuts still evident, and a very soft, creamy mouthfeel. Some roasted malt, caramel and spicy hops join the party, leading to a rounded, roasty, and slightly smoky bitterness at the finish.
Mild ale or winter ale, or even porter, this is a tasty and distinctive beer.