Halia (Goose Island Brewing Company/AB InBev)

Style: American Wild Ale Fermented with Peaches in Wine Barrels

7.5% ABV

International Bitterness Units: 11

Color: Golden

Hops: Amarillo

Malts: Pilsner, 2-Row, Torrified Wheat

Brewery’s Note: “Halia is a farmhouse ale aged in wine barrels with whole peaches, resulting in bright, effervescent fruit notes in a soft, hazy body that finishes slightly tart and sweet with the pleasant character of ripe, juicy peaches. Literally meaning “remembrance of a loved one” in Hawaiian, Halia was brewed in memory of the dear friend of one of our brewers who loved peaches.”

The beer pours a pale, peachy yellow. This may be placebo from me knowing that it is peach colored. Weak head, mostly eggshell white. Scrim ring. Tight waves of lacing that leave thin, segmented caterpillar bodies in rising and falling link around the glass. The body is cloudy, and damn near opaque with a deep haze and distortion despite the light coloring. On the nose, the beer smells of deep, rind-funk washed is layers of peach juice and topped with peach flesh. Slight apricot and nectarine minerality accent bright cheese rind and mushrooms with a svelte yet powerful peach fruitiness over-arching everything. There is a slight clean citric acidity with some white wine nuance with mild oak roundness that works through the cheesiness to keep it perfectly balanced. The smell is nuanced and ripe with fresh stone fruit and funky wild ale. It’s definitely more of a New World wild in execution, but holds some of that old world structure that really plays nice on the nose. On the tongue, the beer tastes softly stonefruit sweet with a quick turn to sharper acidity that borders on citric but plays mild pineapple tropical fruit and rich stone fruit acidity, too. This moves into a sweet cheesy mild and finish that is funky rind and mellow oak barrel sweetness with a mild touch of sweet white wine with clear peach juice flourishes. Flavor is peach juice with cheesy oak funk and a bright acidity in the start and middle. The cheesy funk is a touch too much and draws slowly away from the rich stonefruit, but the flavor is still quite fresh and though the acidity is a little too soft to cut the funkiness, it does provide a nice balance to the funk.  As it warms, slight burnt rubber develops out of the peach, which is too bad. It never becomes too strong, but draws a little away from the drinking experience. In the mouth, the beer feels languid and medium bodied. It has a building effervescence that pops with an upper-middling carb. The peaches definitely leave a slight turbidity to the overall feel, giving slight peach flesh fluffiness to the tongue.

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