My favorite local liquor store just started to stock some selections from the Goose Island Beer Co. in Chicago. Honker's Ale is fashioned after the British bitters style, and having lived in the UK for a couple of years in the 1980s, spending a lot of time in Manchester, I became quite fond of bitters. So I decided to give this brew a try. One thing Honker's Ale had going for it is that it is relatively low ABV at 4.2%. I love the big heavy beers as much as the next person, but I can only have a couple of strong beers in an evening. Two 12oz double IPAs at 7% to 9% ABV will do it for me for the night. And sometimes I want to have a beer with a whisky, which means one double IPA and one dram is about it for me.
So I have been looking for a more sessionable beer that is low ABV but pretty flavorsome. I already have a few that I like, such as Samuel Adams Boston Lager and Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale. But a few more choices would be welcome.
Getting back to the Honker's Ale...I was rather unimpressed. The flavor was weak, and I found Sam Adams Boston Lager to be a better beer. While it has been many years since I have enjoyed a pint of real British bitters, Honker's Ale did not recall fond memories of enjoying the real thing or strike any distantly familiar flavor notes. So I don't think I will be buying this one again.
The next time I am at the liquor store I plan to pick up a six pack of Brooklyn Lager. At 5.2% ABV it is a little stronger than I would like for a session beer, but it has received some great reviews and it is low enough in strength that I could have 3 or 4 of these in a night and not get tipsy. I'll probably pick it up in a few days.