312: Urban Wheat Ale

When I was a lad, 312 was the only area code and Old Chicago was the only beer associated with Chicago.  Well now Peter Hand is long gone, 773 and 872 are in use and Chicago is producer of many fine brews.  Goose Island was at the forefront of the Chicago brewing renaissance in the late 1980s and has continued to produce above average beers, even as their output increases annually.  312 Urban Wheat Ale is one of my favorites in the Goose Island repetoir, and certainly not a provincial offering.  This cloudy, straw yellow wheat ale has plenty of carbonation and holds its head high, with plenty of lacing to boot.  The bouquet is sweet, with a hint of lemon and light malt, and just the lightest touch of spicy peppercorn.  The texture is a bit more substantial than a typical wheat beer, being both smooth and sweet, with a dry hoppy finish.  The spicyness is again noticed at the end.  It’s a very drinkable American wheat beer, and would not be confused with its German counterpart, lacking the banana/clove esters.  I highly recommend 312, even to those who are not big fans of traditional wheat beers.  There’s a lot more to this one, and if you are fortunate enough to find it on tap, all the better!

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