Style: American Wild Ale aged in wine barrels with blackberries
Malt: Pale, Rye, Munich, Rye Flake
Brewer’s Note: “Fermented with wild yeasts and aged in wine barrels with blackberries, Juliet is a tart, fruity, complex ale. Notes of wood, tannin, dark fruit and spice make Juliet an ideal beer to suggest to Pinot Noir enthusiasts and beer drinkers who are fond of Belgian sour ales.”
The beer’s label is simple and elegant, though the shiny matted material does make the label seem a bit more industrial than the old, paper-based labels of Goose Island. I like the ‘wax’ on the neck, and I like the goose silhouette on the neck. Clutter is relatively in check, though I do wish the beer’s name and the style were a placed a little further apart as they do seem a little cramped to me. The label is nice in the end. Keep it, scrap book it, it’s up to you.
The beer pours a rich, pale purple with an amber flair. It sits in the glass as a rich, rose color with a small head of off-white bubbles that quickly leaves. In body, the beer is a deep, colorful murk with a definite opacity to it. When splashed against the sides of the glass it leaves a receding tide of lacing. On the nose, this thing is richly acidic with tart lemon, rich blackberry, blueberry, and even fresh and antiseptic mint. On a second sniff I receive rich, lightly toasted oak, soft malt vinegar, and smooth caramel malt. As I sniff more and more, I do get a sense of chlorine and pool house air, which isn’t completely off-putting, but is odd. On the tongue, this beer is hugely vinous with rich acidity that blossoms into sweet fruit, very faint salinity, and the briefest kiss of herbal bitters. The finish is rich with oak tannin, sweet fruit, and soft acidity. In flavor, this beer is delicately beautiful. It begins as a rich tide of lime and lemon citrus that erupts into rich berry notes mixing strawberry, blackberry, and blueberry. This is then ballooned outwards by a rich, lightly roasted oak and soft earthy characters. The finish returns to bright citrus that blends the berry and oak into a long and fruit-forward finish. In the mouth, the beer feels on the plus side of medium with a rich, jam-like mouthfeel that gives a lovely bristle of fruit skin. Carbonation is soft but gives a nice sparkle and snap to the sip that keeps the beer from feeling heavy or syrupy. The mouth is left slightly wet and sticky from saliva. As I drink more and more the beer does become a little syrupy and left the tongue feeling a little heavy. The tannins add a touch of astringency that really helps with balancing out the syrupy sweetness. Overall, this beer is impeccably balanced. The syrupy sweetness does win out as you drink more and more of it, but it is never tiring to sip and the rich, subtle complexity in flavor makes it quite enjoyable. Goose Island must have a hell of cellar, and their blender’s tongue must be really refined because this beer is miles ahead of many of the other American Wild Ales. Haters be damned, Goose Island has still got it, and it is very good.
(Tilted photos are the best…)