Galena Brewing Company

The Galena Brewing Company is located on Main Street in Galena, Illinois.  They offer a flight of five beers for $8.  I tasted both their flagship beers as well as the seasonal brews.  In the past, I was impressed with their offerings and I was not disappointed during this visit.

Flagship Beers

* Farmer’s Cream Ale: crisp, refreshing, slightly malty, light, unassuming, no bold flavors, 4% ABV, 15 IBU

* Miner’s Treasure Amber Ale: deep amber in color, slightly malty taste, lightly hoppy, sweet aftertaste, 5% ABV, 20 IBU

* Annabelle’s India Pale Ale:  golden, slightly citrus and pine flavors from dry hopping, 7.5% ABV, 70 IBU

* Uptown Brown Nut Brown Ale: deep chocolate brown color, roasted malt flavors including nuts, molasses & toasted bread, 6% ABV, 25 IBU (one of my favorites!)

* Uly’s Dark Chocolate Oatmeal Stout: rich, creamy, full-bodied ale, notes of chocolate, roasted malts and coffee, light/drinkable stout, 6.25% ABV, 45 IBU

Seasonal Brews

* Summer Weisee Bavarian Style Hefeweissen: citrus, light, crisp, easy on the palate, appreciate no lemon more orange flavors, 4% ABV, 10 IBU

* Rustic Rye Saison Farmhouse Ale: light, crisp, little more bitter, higher alcohol, best flavor with ABV, 7% ABV, 22 IBU

* Identity Crisis India Black Ale: dark, stout, coffee flavors, 8% ABV, 83 IBU

* Rastafa Rye Carribean Rye Ale: interesting, almost hemp flavor (maybe my imagination or the power of suggestion with the name!), 5.7% ABV, 22 IBU

* Intombi Tart Berliner Weisse: lemon flavor, summery, too sweet for me, 4.8% ABV, 5 IBU

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Fat Tire Amber Ale

Fat Tire has crossed the bar into my hand plenty of times, but I have never officially analyzed its properties until recently.

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Basic Info (via Fat Tire website)

Fat Tire is named in honor of the co-founder’s bike trip through Europe. Belgian beers use a far broader palette of ingredients (fruits, spices, esoteric yeast strains) than German or English styles.  Fat Tire won fans with its sense of balance.

ABV: 5.2%

IBU: 18.5

Hops: Willamette, Goldings, Target

Malts: Pale, C-80, Munich, Victory

Body: Medium

Aroma: Sweet biscuty and caramel malts, subtle notes of fresh fennel and green apple

Mouthfeel: carbonation and light sweetness finish on your palate

Flavor: Toasty malt, gentle sweetness, flash of fresh hop bitterness.  The malt and hops are perfectly balanced.

Visual: Clear, amber and bright with white lacing

My notes:

I drank multiple bottles of Fat Tire recently.  The beer is accurately described as a clear, amber shade.  I did not pick up on the sweetness described, but I whole-heartedly agree that this beer strikes a nice balance of hops and bitterness.

I am not very familiar with the International Bittering Units (IBU) and from my research I found that beers with under 20 IBUs are considered to have no apparent hops present.  Most beers have an IBU ranging from 20 to 45 and have mild to pronounced hops.  Beers with an IBU of 45 or above are heavily hopped and can be quite bitter.   As in most tasting scenarios, the apparent bitterness of the beer is subjective to the taste of the drinker.  In this case, even though the IBU was 18.5, I still felt that there was a slightly pronounced bitterness to the beer.

I enjoyed a burger with the second Fat Tire I drank, and I felt that the toasty flavor of the ale paired nicely with the burger and the saltiness from the kettle chips I was eating as well.

312 Urban Wheat Ale

One of my goals is to try a new wine, beer or spirit each week.  Although I have seen 312 on tap often, I have never tried it.  As I sat in a local pub, reading and studying for my introductory sommelier course, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try.

This beer is produced by Goose Island and the name 312 comes from the area code of the Loop in Chicago.

312

Basic Info (via 312 website)

Brewer’s Notes: 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

ABV: 4.2%

International Bitterness Units: 18

Color: Hazy Straw

Hops: First Gold, Liberty, Cascade

Malts: 2 Row, Torrified Wheat

Preferred Glass: Tall Glass

Food Pairings: Salads, Fish

Cheese Pairings: Fresh Chevre, Buffalo Mozzarella

Cellaring Notes:  Enjoy within 180 days

My Notes:

I drank a draft pint of 312 at a local pub.  A fresh keg was put in immediately after I ordered, as the tap was running out. The beer was light golden in color, with minimal foam after the pour.  There were small, fast bubbles rising to the top of the pint glass immediately after the pour.

The first drink was light, effervescent and refreshing, with mild citrus and pine flavors. The aroma was also filled with citrus and pine notes. I loved this beer while it was ice cold! As it becomes room temperature, the mouthfeel became bitter and astringent.

I will definitely be enjoying this brew in the summer.  Because of the lemon/citrus flavor, I think that it would be best consumed sitting on the deck on a summer evening after work, watching the sunset or grilling out.  Perfect for light drinking.