Goose Island has unveiled the newest innovation to their year round lineup. Pepe Nero recently became the fifth addition to Goose Island’s Vintage Ales line, which now consists of five world class Belgian inspired brews. A dark farmhouse ale brewed with peppercorns, the obscure styled beer comes packaged in 4-packs and 22oz bomber bottles.
At first glance, it was hard to believe that our glasses were filled with a farmhouse ale, due to the deep and dark brown color of the brew. The funky Belgian influenced nose of Pepe Nero was reminiscent of another of Goose Island’s beers, Matilda. Most of the funk on the nose did not translate to the sip though. Initially the beer was earthy and grassy, before a roastiness from the dark malts swiftly engulfed our taste buds. The hops in this beer were subdued, however there was a noticeable bitterness from the roasted malts. A hint of the peppercorns and black licorice showed themselves on the finish.
We had high expectations for Pepe Nero, stemming from the fact that Goose Island chose this brew to join their year round lineup over the seemingly endless delicious beers that go on tap at both of their brewpubs. Our anticipation was satisfied as we thoroughly enjoyed this unique, cutting edge beer.
Goose Island continues to expand their lineup, and there is no end in sight for the local brewery. Big John, an 11.5% ABV imperial stout brewed with cacao nibs, will debut in April. At the end of the year, Goose Island will unveil King Henry, a hybrid English/ American barleywine brewed with American hops and over two tons of malt.