SofieSeptember 1, 2009 Chicago, IL
Goose Island Beer Co.
Sofie is a saison. It is dry hopped with Amarillo hops, then barrel aged in cabernet wine barrels. Juiced orange peels and a wild yeast strain are added during the barrel aging process, which takes a total of six months to complete.
Original gravity: 1056
From the outside in, this beer’s a looker, with a very subtle label that resembles that of a nice wine; it would look great on the table of any fine dining establishment. And it’s gorgeous on the inside: it pours into the glass a bright, hazy brassy yellow with a nice head on its shoulders that fades to a see-through white skiff. Apparently, life gave Goose Island lemons, and they made a tasty, beery lemonade. There’s a pleasant, spicy Belgian mustiness in the nose, but the predominant aromas and flavors are of an amiable, summer-day lemon that is just assertive enough to marry nicely with the underlying peppery spiciness, subtle orange and coriander notes you would expect from a well-crafted saison. A medium body, not-too-spritzy carbonation and creamy mouthfeel make Sofie a joy to spend some time with. Just add a hammock—and maybe a good friend to share the bottle—and you have a perfect summer combination.
- Lisa Morrison
The label is plain and simple: the beer inside is not. This is described as ‘80% Belgian style-ale blended with 20% Belgian style-age aged in wine barrels with orange peel’. Perhaps you can almost taste it already. The aroma is that typically Belgian paradox of unpleasant barnyard combined with intrigue and excitement. The taste is infinitely more palatable but just as provocative. It’s both sweet and dry, with a gentle lambic-like tartness and acidity that is tempered by the citrus freshness of lemon and orange. Dryness fills the increasingly bitter finish, brightened up by more zest of orange. A crisp, effervescent beer.
- Jeff Evans
Lisa Morrison, aka The Beer Goddess, writes about beer whenever she can and also gets to talk about it on a weekly radio show in her hometown of Portland, OR.
Author of the Good Bottled Beer Guide and The Book of Beer Knowledge, Jeff Evans is an eight-time editor of the CAMRA Good Beer Guide and one of Britain's best-known beer writers.
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