Among American beer drinkers, the battle for who can drink the bitterest, hoppiest ale can be something of a pissing contest. But in Europe, hopheads are giving way to sour nuts, as sour ales become increasingly de rigueur. In this spirit, Goose Island’s Juliet Belgian Style Ale makes for a nice change from über-bitter beer. Its flavors of sour cherries and blackberries (it’s fermented with wild yeasts and aged in cabernet barrels with Michigan blackberries) make the mouth mildly, pleasantly pucker.
The beer comes in an attractive 650-millileter wine-like bottle that is meant to be ordered for the table. Brewmaster Greg Hall says he intended the beer to not only be had with food, but to be paired with certain types of dishes, the way wines are. This tart, tannic, fruity, spicy ale might stand in for a pinot noir with a light dinner. Or you can hole up with a whole bottle of it and a block of sharp cheese and have yourself a pity party like a true sourpuss.
Beer: Juliet Belgian Style Ale
Color: Deep rose
Type: Belgian-style sour ale
Foam: Thin, lace covering of bubbles that quickly fade
Brewer: Goose Island, Chicago
Size: 650 millileters (22 ounces)
Alcohol: 6.7 percent
Rating: 82 stars
The Rating System: Out of 100 possible stars. Coors Light is arbitrarily assigned “0,” and we’re not telling you what “100” is, because we don’t want to reveal our beer prejudices.
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