Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale: The 312 (mis)representin’ by way of the 315

Next up, Goose Island’s 312 Urban Wheat:

Beerbecue doesn’t like to harshen the mellow by getting all uptight about beer style guidelines, but I don’t know what in the name of Conway Twitty this beer is. And the label is about as useless as hen crap on a pump handle. It claims to represent the 312 (Chicago), but it’s made in the 315 (Anheuser-Busch plant in Baldwinsville, NY). And it says it’s an Urban Wheat Ale (because apparently wheat ales are now classified by population density), but I don’t know what the hell that means.

On closer inspection of Goose Island’s website, I learn that the wheat they speak of is torrefied wheat. My only previous encounter with torrefied wheat has been with the sugary, puffed-wheat cereal peddled by a frog named Dig’em, who is so whacked out on high fructose corn syrup that he literally flies about giving impressionable youths high-fives for cajoling their parents into buying Honey Smacks. Although, he still beats Cliffy the Clown:

Damn, Cliffy, you scary.

But apparently torrefied wheat is a common adjunct used for improved head retention and body. And because it’s heated, puffed, and pregelatinized, that means it’s cocked, locked, and ready to rock the mash. Also, it can apparently be used in lieu of raw wheat.

So, since 312 doesn’t use any wheat malt, it’s probably not a Hefe or an American Wheat. Maybe since torrefied wheat can be used in lieu of raw wheat, it’s a boring version of a Belgian-style Wit or Wheat (sans any spicyness or yummies like orange peel, coriander, or interesting yeast). Or maybe it’s not a “wheat beer” at all, and it’s actually a freaking English-Style Summer Ale, as it was judged at the GABF. Aaargh! The lies! I never would have bought a 6 pack of English-Style Summer Ale! Although maybe you can’t blame them…you try marketing an English-Style Summer Ale year-round in Chicago.

It pours a hazy straw color, with a head that shows promise (after all, it is a “wheat beer”). Alas, the head dwindles quickly. More lies! The smell is very faint: Slight wheatiness, a hint of lemon, and a bit of grassiness. The taste is quite faint as well: Scant citrus and maybe an ever-so-slight spiciness. The finish is clean with a barely-there bitterness. The carbonation is adequate, but 312 isn’t creamy as you would often expect when you plunk down coin for a “wheat beer”. And when it warms and the carbonation wanes, more sweetness comes out along with some pineapple flavor.

Overall, it’s an unobtrusive, but unremarkable, beer. I resent it for its lies and for exposing my public school education’s failure to prepare me with enough adjectives to express “light” with adequate elegant variance.

The Haybag: I am unimpressed by this beer. You’re fired for picking it out.

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10 thoughts on “Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale: The 312 (mis)representin’ by way of the 315

  1. Wow, when AB bought it and moved it they only went from 312 to 315! That’s actually not to bad. We had this recently and weren’t impressed either. The fact that it’s light (my education isn’t any better) and unimpressive as a wheat beer is either a statement to why AB wanted it, or what AB has done to it now that they have it.

    Good luck in your job search.

    • It is very blah. I read something somewhere that they put this out right before AB. Perhaps it was a deal sweetener. 🙂 I will say that its one redeeming quality was that there was nothing really offensive about it.

  2. Hopefully you were like me cause I only picked up a single of it at Rick’s at one point. I would have been real disappointed if I had to work through the entire six pack. You’ve certainly shed light on why I didn’t like it though.

    • I was kicking myself. I was about to get a 6-pack of Levitation, and I thought: I haven’t reviewed any Goose Island yet…I’ll grab this. On the way home I was wondering to myself why hell I didn’t get the 6-pack of Levitation and 1 bottle of 312. Ah well…I was in a hurry.

    • My deepest apologies. I will have to make it up to you and your fellow Gauchos somehow. Our nondescript hefe glass was used as a vase for a flower gift (I don’t know that this excuse is making it any better), so the UCSB hefe glass is stuck enduring good and bad.

    • Yeah. I think it was pretty smart to let Cliffy go. We went to a Ringling Bros circus last year, and I will say that clowns are significantly less scary these days. Way less face makeup and ill-fitting clothing. They must have hired a PR consultant, or something.

  3. As a representative for The 315 (as the kids say it), I can say that nothing should ever be proudly representing the black hole of hopes and dreams that is Baldwinsville, NY.

    Long live all other upstate NY cities.

    Sidenote: Great context for the creation of the beer. It’s interesting stuff.

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