Beer 35 of winter – imperial

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Brewer: Goose Island       Craft: The Illinois       ABV: 9%

How about a little daytime drinking?  I didn’t have any plans to go anywhere today, so I thought I’d indulge.  And an imperial IPA at 9% seemed like a good choice.  Now, Goose Island is one of those, what I would call, “craft breweries”.  They are now owned by A-B InBev.  You know – Anheuser Busch?  So, in practice, they have the bottom line in mind and are tasked with producing a consistent product.  But, I feel like they, at heart, probably are still a craft brewery.

That being said, they still make some good craft beer.  The Illinois being one of them.  This imperial IPA is definitely imperial at 9%.  Take your time.  The malty biscuity aromas are a good start to this craft.  As I begin to sip, (and like I said, you want to sip), the first flavors I get are the citrus notes.  Orange, lemon, and tangerine all come forward.  Then the beer transforms into a malty sweet, bready, and smooth craft.  It had a surprisingly full, but welcomed, mouth-feel.  And, as I was hoping, the solid, bitter hoppy finish is strong and lingers on your tongue.

In my opinion, this is what an imperial IPA should taste like.  The citrus notes could be less forceful, but they do not detract from what is a pleasant drinking experience.  I like how the citrus blends with the smoothness and ends with the bitterness.  That’s a good progression for any IPA.  Don’t get me wrong – I don’t mind an IPA that is just bitter.  But there are so many different varieties of hops out there now, I like to taste when brewers are testing the limits and pushing the creative boundaries.  This craft is not for the faint of tongue.  I’m still tasting that bitter finish.  Yesssss.  Enjoy!

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