In celebration of their shared 25th anniversary, five craft breweries are working together to brew commemorative beers for the Class of ’88. Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon and Goose Island Brewery from Chicago, IL, have each brewed their own versions of a Belgium Style Ale, and features a recipe that the two breweries concocted together. The recipe includes Mt. Hood hops, Pilsner malt, Michigan Riesling and Oregon Pinot Noir grapes, and an aging process in Muscat barrels. We tried and compared these two beers for this week’s 2 O’Clock Tasting, and even with a similar recipe, the two beers were very different.
Keep reading to see our thoughts on these two unique beers, and if you’ve tried them, give us your impression in the comments!
Deschutes’ candidate for the Class of ’88 Belgium Style Strong Ale featured a candied orange color and a natural cream-colored head. Despite the beer’s clear and cheerful coloring, its nose was complex and wine-like, with aromas of Muscat and Riesling really coming through. Other sweeter notes reminded us of oranges, honey and golden raisins. Due to the ale’s high ABV, the beer had a warming effect, and the flavors matched the aromas quite closely, particularly with sourness coming through. Like a wine, the beer had a thick mouthfeel and had a lasting aftertaste.
Even with a similar recipe and brewing technique as the Deschutes ale, Chicago’s Goose Island Class of ’88 Belgium Style Strong Ale seemed quite different. The beer has a similar coloring, but had a slightly lighter orange, much hazier and finer carbonation compared to the Deschutes style. The nose of this beer was lighter and tasted less like wine. The Goose Island beer had a higher ABV, and a much tarter flavor. The sour taste reminded us of lemon candy and we thoroughly enjoyed this beer with its puckering properties. The fact that it came in a larger bottle meant there was enough for everyone to enjoy!