For 2012, I had set myself a few goals in a beery sort of way. The first was to get my Brewneversity PHD at Taco Mac by trying my 325th different beer there. That mission was accomplished a few months ago. Goal two was to try different beer 4200 by year end, which, as I sat at the bar watching football the weekend before Christmas, I hadn’t attained yet. But I was close….
Anyway, both goals were in my mind while I decided which beers to have at Taco Mac that day. Oh sure, I’d got my PHD as I mentioned, but that just created a new goal, a $50 bonus at beer 425. And I needed but 13 new beers to hit 4200 by year end.
OK, you say, what has this got to do with Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale? A lot, really, because the fact that I hadn’t had this beer yet meant that I could add it as a credit on my Brewneversity syllabus, and inch a bit closer to beer 4200 as well (I ended up at 4191 by night’s end). So, I decided to try the Urban Wheat, despite the fact that my expectations for it were on the low side.
First off, I wasn’t quite sure what an Urban Wheat beer was. Here’s how Goose Island describes it, and some info they provide on the beer:
Inspired by the city of Chicago and densely populated with flavor, 312’s spicy aroma of Cascade hops is followed by a crisp, fruity ale flavor delivered in a smooth, creamy body that's immensely refreshing.
Style: Urban Wheat
Alcohol by Volume: 4.2%
International Bitterness Units: 20
Color: Hazy Straw
Hops: Liberty, Cascade
Malts: 2 Row, Torrified Wheat
Apparently the beer has been entered at the Great American Beer Festival in the English Summer Ale category and won Gold Medals in 2006, 2007, and 2010.
My mug of Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat arrived a pale golden color with a minimal, wispy head formation and a faint wheat nose. Taking a sip, I got a bit of crisp, tart wheat-but only a bit. Mostly, the beer was watery and flavorless, and not at all like the description above. Fruity and creamy were certainly not adjectives that came to mind. The finish was as bland and boring as the beginning and middle of the beer.
As you may know, Goose Island was recently acquitted by brewing conglomerate Anheuser-Busch Inbev. Beers like 312 Urban Wheat are exactly what the company needs to beware of, because the perception can be that they are blandifying their beer. To be fair, the beer may have been watery before AB bought GI, though the gold medals would make that hard to believe.
The price was about average at $5.50 a pint, but everything else about this beer was subpar to say the least. American Wheat ales, as this beer really should be styled, are on the light side. I get that. But this beer has no flavor at all, and for my taste I'd rather just have a glass of water and be honest about it.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.