Prior to 2014, I had never even heard of Chicago-based brewing company Goose Island. Then all of a sudden, it was everywhere—at beer festivals, at bar grand openings, at the liquor store. I’ve spent the better part of this year trying everything from Goose Island I could get my hands on, and I’ve rarely been disappointed. GI produces a wide range of products, but I decided to start with its 312 series.
There are two 312 beers: Urban Pale Ale and Urban Wheat Ale. Both are readily available at almost any store in the Las Vegas Valley, not to mention on tap at selected bars. Here’s how they stack up:
Urban Pale Ale (5.4 percent ABV)
The lesser of the two beers, but that’s not to say this isn’t a solid product. There’s nothing inherently flawed about Urban Pale Ale; it’s just what it is, with nothing in the flavor profile to take it to the next level. Amber color, mild hoppy citrus, creamy texture … I’ve sampled many pale ales in my life, and I’d rank this one solidly in the middle of the pack.
Urban Wheat Ale (4.2 percent ABV)
An unexpected surprise. Wheat ales in general leave me more or less uninspired, but GI’s product has a crispiness that wakes up your taste buds and demands a second sip almost immediately. I love the cloudy yellow color and the endless carbonation.
Welcome to Nevada, Goose Island. Looking forward to my next visit.