Recently I’d tweeted a link to a quick little write up I’d posted back in 2012 about a bottle of Goose Island Imperial IPA that had been in the cellar since 2007. The social media folks at Goose Island reached out to me and sent a couple bottles of their new The Illinois imperial India pale ale my way. As someone that works in social media, it’s awesome to see a companies that follow what people are saying about them on social and work to build great relationships with their consumers through social media. Thanks to Goose Island for paying attention to what your customers are talking about and for making social the two-way conversation that it should be.
The Illinois is the first imperial brew out of Goose Island this year and packs a heavy 95 IBUs and 9% ABV. It’s always nice to see bottles that offer serving instructions and this one suggests a nonic pint. It pours beautiful a deep golden color with a fluffy white head. The foam slowly fades a bit and leaves a nice layer of sticky lacing on the walls of the glass. Big citrus aroma with notes of grapefruit, light lemon, and melon from the mix of Chinook, Cascade, Citra, and Meridian hops. A hint of alcohol heat comes through in the nose once the beer has warmed a bit. The flavor is nicely fruity up front, followed by citrus and a nice clean bitterness. A medium to full malt body balances the bitterness well and there is a touch of sweetness with a light caramel note in the aftertaste. The finish is nicely dry, which keeps it from becoming overly sweet like many DIPAs these days. Just a hint of alcohol in the aftertaste to let you it’s there and it will kick you down should you have a few of these beauties.
As the craft beer revolution has continued to grow at an explosive pace, the market has become a bit crowded and hard to stand out. The Illinois from Goose Island definitely stands out as a great imperial IPA with wonderful fruity character, a nice malt balance, and a clean finish to make it deliciously drinkable. While Goose Island has grown to become one of the largest craft brewers in the country, they continue to release great new brews like The Illinois. While many doubted InBevs purchase of Goose Island back in 2011 would result in good things, their beers like Bourbon County Brand Stout have drawn even more thirsty drinkers than ever. Goose Island has continued to make a world-class product and create beers that delight their drinkers. If you love a great DIPA, you’ll surely want to seek out The Illinois.