THE EDITOR’S DESK :: Goose Island’s 25th and Thirsty Dog’s Citra and Rail Dogs

by Harvey Gold on June 27, 2013

Chase Cutting

Chase Cutting

Cutting directly to the chase:

Tried the Goose Island 25th Anniversary Extra Special Bitter. Mild malty nose, promising a mild everything as I had to adjust to in Europe, but not to be. First, it’s got a 6.5% ABV, so more jet fueled than European Bitters. The head was nice, lacing minimal. A rich mouthfeel, sweet, malty, caramely, with enough of a proper hop component to maintain a slight bitterness throughout.

indexUltimately I drank it with an odd food mixture. I had a very garlicy roasted beef brisket with soba noodles and sauce (super salty), and green beans sauteed in olive oil with shallots, seasoned with Thai Kaffir lime leaves and a bit of sea salt. It was an odd plate, each offering awesome in it’s own right, but operating on it’s own little flavor island. The interesting thing I found, not having the slightest idea of which flavor note in the diverse group of foods triggered it, was a smokiness to this tasty bitter. Other reviewers have written about an “earthy” quality, but none spoke to a smokiness. I suspect if the brewer isn’t offering that they’ve used any smoked malts or done anything to merit it, well …clearly I can’t say everyone (anyone?) will taste it but I’ll be on the lookout for it again, particularly as I pair it with other foods, but it made this very easy drinking Anniversary Ale from Goose Island something a little extra special.

Thirsty-Dog-Citra-Dog-American-IPA-labelAlso special was Thirsty Dog’s Citra Dog IPA. I call it a new offering, but I first tasted this out of a growler on ice over a year ago at a museum event called The Art of Ale .  Brewed from 100% Citra Hops, I described it then as tart and crisp, and a wonderful palate cleanser, feeling it would be an awesome summer beer, which it most definitely IS! They kept it a draft only brew until now, just in time for summer, and let me say it’s as killer in the bottle as I remember it that night. It’s got a nice bite at 95 IBUs and substance, with a 6.5% ABV.

indexThirsty Dog, in the same bottle release brought us another “special event” beer, one they also have been offering on tap a while, called Rail Dog, a beer whipped up to celebrate the anniversary of the Cuyahoga County Scenic Railway in NE Ohio. This is described as a smoke profiled lager. Given our historic happiness here at YBN with smoked offerings and my weirdly framed note above about the Goose Island 25, I grabbed a six and dug in. I found it to be a grand and vivid brew. So good, with such a great mouthfeel I almost couldn’t help approaching it after playing a gig, finding myself parched, as a session beer, a bit dangerous at 6.7%. NOT smoky to the point that this is how I would sell it, by any means, but there is some smoke to it. All this said, while I may have loved this more than him, as to the actual elements of this, I leave it to Hustleworth from Thirsty Dog’s Great State of Ohio as seen in The Beer Advocate:

4.45/5  rDev 0%

look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- totally black with a shred of mahogany at the bottom of the glass. Nice khaki colored head drops thick rings of lace.

S- chocolatey and roasted with coffee and burnt caramel. Praline and toffee in there too with light applewood smoke and hazelnut, whiskey barrel, pipe tobacco.

T- cocoa and vanilla with a deep roasted flavor and some dark fruits. Coffee comes out near the end with barely perceptible smoke along with brown sugar, roasted nuts, and cucumber (very oddly, but it works). Earthy herbal hops can be sensed in the long roasted finish with soil, stone and damp wood.

MF- full and thickly juicy with well behaved carbonation. Coating roasted feeling on the cheeks with some residual burnt type sweetness and the tiniest pleasant flicker of alcohol warmth.

D- pretty good version of a kinda higher octane schwarzbier. Not smoky enough to go all Rauchbier on em, but enough to impart some character.

Serving type: bottle

He liked it and SO DO WE!

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