Thursday, 14 June 2012

Goose Island Brewery Pepe Nero

Good evening all. Apologies for the lack of blogging over the last two weeks, but the post-exam celebrations ended up going on for much longer than I anticipated and so I had no free time to review new beers. Now that I'm back in Devon for the summer I'm going to devote some more time to the blog, with consistent posts to make up for the lack of activity over the last month. Tonight's beer is Pepe Nero, a Farmhouse Ale/Saison from Goose Island Brewery (Illinois, USA). It's been brewed with roasted malt, giving it a darker colour than one would normally expect for a Saison, and peppercorns have been added to amplify the spiciness that the yeast provides. Sounds like an interesting beer, so let's get back into the swing of things! Review after the pic....

Pepe Nero (6.0% ABV) pours a dark brown colour with a thick off-white head that retains itself throughout the course of drinking, along with some lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma consists of roasted malt, smoked malt, phenolic spiciness and some chocolate in the background. The aromas coalesce every so often to create something reminiscent of oily pimento olives, which is certainly unusual but partially understandable when considering the addition of the peppercorns. The roasted malt hits first, with the Belgian aromas creeping up gradually through more inhales until eventually the olive character becomes the predominant aroma. The taste is just as phenolic as the nose, with more dry roasted malt flavours, cocoa powder and a bite in the background from the peppercorns. During drinking, the beer invokes the same response on the palette as a tart beer would, including the excitation of the tastebuds and the slight puckering that resides soon after swallowing. Towards the end of the beer the fruitier aspects of the roasted malt become more apparent, with blackcurrant and raspberry flavours residing among the chocolate and malt. The finish is dry and spicy, with some grape flavours lingering in the aftertaste and an awareness of the chocolate. The spice from the peppercorns also fades throughout the beer, being replaced by the phenolic spice from the yeast. The mouthfeel is on the thick side and the beer is well carbonated, which is what you would expect from an offering emulating a classic Belgian style. Overall, a very interesting beer that delivers lots of interesting flavours and nuances, but it certainly has more in common with a Schwarzbier than a Farmhouse Ale/Saison. This beer would compliment deli meats and oily peppers/olives very well, as the flavours would support the food and not interfere with them too much. Definitely recommended and very enjoyable, but not a beer for every occasion.

Until next time....

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