Of all the Knights of the Beer Roundtable, I probably drink the least amount of beer at home. It takes me at least a week to go through a six pack of anything, and I find that I'm often finishing off stray bottles left over from sixes I bought one or two months before (sad, I know).
Consequently, I bring you my latest beer diary with a meager two beers to discuss.
16 February 2008 - Avery Brewing's Old Jubilation Ale
This was one of those lonely, stray bottles that I was just speaking of. It was a poor, neglected leftover from one of our Big Car/World Class Beverage tastings from November or December. After cracking this one open, I wanted to kick myself for letting it languish in the back of the fridge for so long.
The Old Jubilation is an English Strong Ale. It poured with a deep, mahogany color and a thick, tan head that left a lot of lacing on the inside of the glass. The Old Jubilation's nose gave hints of so many things--caramel, toffee, hazelnuts, chocolate, bananas, and cloves. The flavor came across in much the same way, with a little more sweetness on the tongue than I expected. The mouthfeel was what I'd call "medium"--not quite chewy, but not watery, either.
This is an enchantingly complex beer. Avery's website says its release window is October to December, but I'd bet that you can still find some on the shelf at Parti Pak, Kahn's, or the Hop Shop. Go get this one, quickly!
14 February 2008 - Goose Island Pere Jacques
Jason has already given his views on this beer, but I thought I'd chime in with mine.
A nightcap for a wonderful Valentine's Day with the redheaded knockout (that's my wife, in case you're wondering). The bottle in question was the third of a four-pack I purchased at the Trader Joe's in Castleton, which tends to have a fair beer selection. I'm not a big fan of Goose Island's bottled beers, though I've had several stellar selections on tap at their Clybourn location in Chicago. The Pere Jacques is, without question, the best Goose Island beer I've tried.
This Belgian-style ale (brewed in the dubbel style) poured with hazy copper color and a fine, off-white head that dissipated quickly. As one might expect from a Belgian, the Pere Jacques had a sweetish nose with clove, banana, and plum notes. The mouthfeel was what I'd call "slippery"--not unpleasant, sort of like what WD-40 might feel like in the mouth if it were not poisonous. The taste was sweet and malty up front, fruity in the middle, and slightly boozy at the end. Not a beer for those who are afraid of a prevalent alcohol bite in their beers, but a delightful Belgian-style ale for those who don't mind that bite. Trader Joe's is running a pretty good deal on the four-packs at the moment -- $10.49 for a four-pack. There were only two four-packs left on my last visit, which was on Sunday evening. A beer well worth the purchase.