274. Goose Island – Pepe Nero Draft

Goose Island Pepe NeroAs I mentioned in my last post, I was at Fat Jack’s in downtown Bloomington, IL for a Goose Island “mini invasion” where they had taken over 12 taps there.  I met up with my friend Fred, who had just finished teaching a homebrewing class at the community college.  He was in a good mood, so he bought me this round.  Since he was buying I told him to pick what I should have (and I knew I could count on him to pick something pretty good).  The notes at the event said, “With an aroma of roasted chestnuts and a mysteriously dark, mahogany hue, Pepe Nero is a farmhouse ale brewed with black peppercorns. His roasty sweetness melds into a lingering, earthy, black pepper finish that is ideal for pairing with grilled meats and roasted vegetables.”

Numbers: 6.0% ABV, 30 IBU’s, Malt: Pilsner, Rye, Crystal Rye, Black Malt, Hops: Pilgrim, Saaz

Appearance & Aroma: It looked pretty clear, and was a deep red, mahogany color.  The head was thick, creamy, and tan.  It had a roasty, bready, and caramel-like malty aroma.

Taste & Feel: It had a bit of a carbonation tingle, but was pretty smooth drinking with a medium body.  There was a bit of a caramel maltiness before a Saison-like pepperiness took over.  The finish was mostly peppery with a bit of caramel and bready maltiness.

Food Pairing: As the description said, this would be nice with grilled meats, and in particular a steak.  Steaks are often seasoned with peppercorns, so a plain steak with this beer would go perfectly together.

Overall Impression: I wasn’t sure what to expect with all the different potential flavors going on in this – malt, pepper, farmhouse ale bugs.  It was a pretty complex beer, but the pepperiness was definitely dominant.  Overall, I thought it was fairly easy drinking given its complexity.  If you like Saisons, you’ll likely enjoy this full-flavored beer.

My Rating: ★★★☆☆

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