Goose Island - Sofie
Goose Island is an American brewery located in Chicago. They are known for their quality Belgian style brews, and this particular example, "Sofie" is their version of a traditional Belgian Saison aka a "Farmhouse Ale." I wasn't quite sure what the definition of a Belgian Saison Ale was, so I google-educated myself on the subject.
Apparently, "Saison" is the French word for "season" and it was the name originally given to the lower alcohol, pale ales that were brewed in the French-speaking part of Belgium. They were traditionally fermented during the fall and winter so that their peak flavor would be achieved by the late summer harvest. Goose Island ages this beer in old wine barrels with orange peels to give it the characteristic citrus flavor.
Now on to the tasting. The beer pours a lovely golden color with a thick, white head. With my nose in the glass I detected a strong citrus aroma with hints of lemon and orange. I also detect hints of apples and wheat. The mouthfeel is nice. I would classify it as medium-bodied and moderately carbonated. Not surprisingly, there is a strong citrus flavor to the beer. Lemon and orange dominate the flavors, but I detect hints of apricot, apple, clove and coriander. The alcohol is nicely hidden for a beer that is 6.5% ABV, which is about the midway point (5-8%) for a traditional Belgian Saison.
Overall I would say that this is an extremely high quality beer, and quite delicious. The fruity notes are so strong that it almost drinks like a cider or a sparkling wine. It would be quite nice on a hot summer day. Some similar-tasting beers that come to mind are Blue Moon, Sam Adams White Ale, Sam Adams Summer Ale, and Avery White Rascal. I would recommend this beer to a friend, but it is not easy to find, and is quite expensive at $12.99 for a four-pack of 12 oz bottles. I only recently obtained regular access to the Goose Island beers when my wife and I moved to Ohio. If you can get your hands on some, try it and let me know what you think!
I rated it as follows: