Good Harbor Golden Ale - Leelanau Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Good Harbor Golden AleGood Harbor Golden Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
91
outstanding

65 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 65
Hads: 114
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 7%
Wants: 39
Gots: 14 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Leelanau Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Bière de Garde |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ypsifly on 11-20-2006

This Golden Ale is Inspired by Franco-Belgain bière de gardes, but not exactly fitting the profile of its European counterparts, this beer is best described as a Michigan Bière de Garde. Hand-crafted by Ron Jeffries at his Jolly Pumpkin Brewery in Dexter, which is consistantly rated as one of one of the best in the world, all of the Leelanau Brewing Company beers are distingushed by their time spent in a large French oak barrique prior to bottling and re-fermentation. The wild yeasts inhabiting the brewery give all the beers made there a common thread, creating a family of beverages with rare harmony, despite their diverse styles.

Decidedly refreshing despite the 7.5% abv, this style of beer was originally brewed in the slow winter season as payment for farmhands in the summer. We certainly don’t mind sitting down after a long day of work and breathing deep the symphony aromas wafting from the lofty, lacey head burgeoning from our tulip glass. Subtle notes of peaches, apricots, canned pineapple, bitters, and a faint herbaceousness belie the smooth and delicate taste. The slightly malty, fruity body quickly transitions effortlessly to a crisp, dry and somewhat tart finish. Signature hints of French oak and the complex yeast character place this all-natural beer among the best saisons, stock ales, and farmhouse styles of Michigan, France & Belgium.
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Reviews: 65 | Hads: 114
Photo of WVbeergeek
2.75/5  rDev -33.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Appears a bright clouded golden hue with a large white head, forms nice even but rather scant clad lacing. This is from the first bottling, same sticker as noted on the website. Green bottles why?

Aromatics offer up tart acidity almost vinegar like notes I think the green bottle created a mild off note but it doesn't overwhelm and it definitely doesn't smell like a skunked Euro pils. Oak barrel effects weigh in with some earthy wood notes. Some pineapple and tropical notes are aroused as it warms.

Flavor is full of sharp acidity and it feels like time did not create complexity in this brew but a one dimensional oaked sour beer. I like the puckering sour nature but I wouldn't mind some other balancing flavors. Oak barrel in the finish among bitter and dry spices. A pretty harsh brew nothing like aged Ora de Calabaza that I've had. I'm thinking this bottle must have been exposed to light to create an unbalanced lactic yogurt or cider acidity.

Mouthfeel is dry to the bone, carbonation of course is dead on effervescent and bubbly for the style. The acidity and dryness from the oak along with the spice additions outweigh the malt and hop bill.

Drinkability is pretty pour a complex sour and wild ale I enjoy, but this one is tasting acrid and overdone with the acidity and oak barrel notes. Creating an experience that I would not like to relive anytime soon, I love all of the beers from Jolly Pumpkin and Ron Jefferies however this one did miss the mark for me. I still blame the green bottles. (1,516 characters)

Photo of scruffwhor
3.08/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours clear, golden, sunshine amber with just a light, three-quarters ring of foam. Some faint lacing and pretty good bubbling. The aroma has a note of malt vinegar with some very tart bananas. The taste is a toasty champagne with some aged orange peel and granny smith apples. Pretty tart palate with some mixed tart fruits. Almost malt vinegary. (347 characters)

Photo of rings
3.24/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

It pours a golden straw color, not unlike any macro brewed swill, at least until the yeast arrives. Appearances, however, are the last thing standard about this brew. It opens very fruity with a pronounced tart finish. The malty sweetness blends with hints of vanilla and an estery sweet-tart carbonation as it rolls around the tongue. The tartness can be a bit much alone, but it pairs nicely with many dishes or cheeses and its lighter body belies the supposed 7.5 percent ABV and 1067 original gravity, according to the brewer's notes. While it certainly doesn't seem that strong, it is very complex. I found hints of tannins, citrus lemon, and pineapple over the course of the bottle.

That all said, this ale is probably not for everyone. The tartness can be offsetting and its complexity is pretty standard for most Belgian yeast strains. As a biére de garde ("beer for keeping"), I'm also not sure how the lighter body will hold up if this beer is aged--per the label suggestion--up to a decade ...although, I have a feeling it will do nothing but sour for the worse.

It's a nice brew, very interesting, but nothing extraordinary. (1,140 characters)

Photo of sbrotschul
3.53/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked this bottle up at House of 1000 Beers (http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/15450) in New Kensington, PA. It was my first time in the store, so I picked up a few guilty pleasures beer -- including three from Leelanau Brewing Company. I had lived in the county and know of the brewers through friends. This was my first time trying their beer.

Appearance. Light in color, towards the orange, it reminded me more of a wine than a beer. Little head, but the colors danced around in the light.

Smell. Oddly enough, it smelled like fruit gum. The smell worried me, as I am not a huge fan of fruity beer.

Taste. Crisp, fruity and complex. Far different than I would have expected.

Mouthfeel. Lots of bubbles and activity when taking a mouthful.

Overall. A fun beer -- to be shared amongst friends after a hot day. Very refreshing, fun. Different taste, which was a nice break from the complex and heavy beers I have recently been discovering. Thank you Leelanau Brewing Company -- keep up the great work! (1,010 characters)

Photo of kbutler1
3.58/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Not cheap at about $18/bottle. Pours a slightly hazed light golden color with a slight white head. Some lacing. Nice nose, lemon zest and some caramel. Medium/light mouthfeel. Lemon and pineapple off the bat. Some oaky notes in the back end. lingering Chardonnay like flavor. Decent but not sure if it is worth the cost. (328 characters)

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.68/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 10/25/2009. Bottle. Pours a cloudy golden yellow with a small white head. Aroma of funky barnyard, sour candies. Flavor is tart/sour/funky in the initial sips with sweet sour candies in the finish. Some dry, lemony hops as well. Quite tart and acidic. Biere de Garde? This was a sour ale all the way... (314 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
3.78/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

1/24/2010

Another bottle generously opened by Javier(javib458), thanks man. The beer is yellow gold with a one inch white cap that quickly dissipates and leaves a little lacing in its wake.

The nose is of earthy hops, prominent oak, a little wet leather with a light sweetness and a subtle citrus. The taste exhibits a light tartness and a subtle sweetness that dries out with the arrival of oak midpalate. Wet leather Brett is noticeable and lemon makes up the bulk of the fruit attribute. There's a touch of acidity in the end. (531 characters)

Photo of robbyc1
3.79/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from the bombers at the Goose Isand April tasting.

Not much of a look, like Bud lite.

Nose is interesting, leathery funk, with not much malt backbone.

Taste is sweet, then sour from the oak, then sweet at the end. Very much like a hard lemonade, needs more malt but good as is.

Mouthfeel has the right feel, oak vanilla comes through. Have some more, maybe? Nice. (374 characters)

Photo of putnam
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The energy and substance of this beer is revealed by a rising column of foam from the neck of a freshly opened bottle. It pours very pale and clear yellow. Aromas of marsh grass and moldy lemon peels. A dry herbal attack of lemon and grapefruit is supported by slick, muscular texture. Very tart. Bitter finish. Bubblegum powder stitches chipped basement rocks to yellow leather flavors. Begs to be served with grassy alpine cheeses, kraut and organ meats. (456 characters)

Photo of maximum12
3.8/5  rDev -8.2%

Thanks to fiver29 for this extra, a celebratory bottle after a very long work trip (which was also filled with good beer, of course). 750ML bottle from a brewery I’ve never heard of split with my wife.

Pour is an unfiltered yellow with a low-T level of carbonation. Not much coming off the surface, vague light fruits. Uninspiring.

Good Harbor Golden Ale brings just the right amount of toe-tapping funk. There’s a lovely must - as opposed to the usual boggy, marshy, squelching ground mustiness – that greets the palate. Green apple & lemon are folded in after the swamp gas, light vinegar, & the oak is a subtle refinement on the tongue. The barrel gives it a distinct vinous quality & makes me want to stomp some grapes.

Not a style I usually enjoy, & I’m enjoying it even more due to that fact. A very good beer. (835 characters)

Photo of mattcrill
3.82/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: funky, Pils malt, oaky, chardonnay notes pop out of the glass and on to the nose. Slight spicy phenolic notes round out the aroma.

Appearance: Well, golden. Truth in advertising. Vibrant carbonation streams up the cloudy body leaving a big fluffy white head that laces in a classic Belgian-style fashion.

Flavor: Sour chardonnay, oak, white grapes, a bit of horse blanket, and some yeasty funk. Peppery spiciness that is well-knitted with the other up front flavors.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, highly carbonated, spritzy, and clean. Leaves a little bit of yeast funk on the palate. Finishes crisp and dry.

Overall impression: A light, refreshing, funky French-style ale. Not my cup of tea but well done. Drinkability suffers a bit for me due to the sourness. Not overdone but 12 oz would go along way for me let alone 750 mL's. (844 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber from Champagne Cellars. More of a wild ale than a bierede Garde as the spicyness was muted. The aourness fortunately was udner great control and accompanied food nicely. taste grew on me. Bottled in August of this year, it would be interesting to try after some cellaring. Good amount of head and a lace lines. (317 characters)

Photo of Rifugium
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: bottle at some bar (I forget and my notes don't specify)

Poured from the bottle into a goblet, a cloudy, golden yellow with a fluffy white head that receded to a wispy layer; minimal lacing. Aroma of earth and barnyard funk, notes of grains and light fruits. Taste follows the aroma, with flavors of grass and funk, woody, grainy, light fruits and distant peppery spice. Light-medium mouthfeel, a little stale in the aftertaste, but nothing offensive. Nice overall. (477 characters)

Photo of BieresDesMoines
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the MBGSF. Pours blonde with a good head and good lace. The aroma is earthy, fruity, and funky with some distinct lemon peel and some hay. The flavor is nicely dry and earthy and slightly but nicely sour. The beer reminds me a good bit of Champagne. (259 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle picked up at Champagnes in Warren a few months ago, <$16. When opened it started a slow but persistent gush. On pouring it has a very pale yellow color, looking a lot like Hoegaarden (the only wit-like attribute thankfully). The nose is slightly funky and bretty, not exactly sour but more early level funk like you get out of some saisons. Plenty of tart fruit character (apples/pears) too.

I get a saison-like flavor more than biere de garde. Funky brett and light spice (not sure if actual spices were used, but it has a light pepper quality), with a nearly medicinal component I could do without. Luckily that last flavor is very minor.

Good carbonation, controllable gushing, nice funkiness, I liked this beer quite a bit. Another great one from Jeffries. (773 characters)

Photo of psiweaver
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750Ml Bottle poured into Reidel Stemless red wine glass.

Beautiful hazy golden yellow with a soft white head.

great complex spiced smell. You can definitely smell the barrel in this one. Almost like a good Chardonnay in terms of barrel impact.

Great rich complex silky buttery taste fantastic complexity with a nice spice impact. A great beer!

Very easy to drink with its satisfying full mouthfeel and complexity, while not overpowering you with its alchohol. (466 characters)

Photo of brewandbbq
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer is contract brewed at Jolly Pumpkin.

Pours clear gold, with a light chill haze. A three-inch head of dense white sank slowly, and a partial skim-coat remained for the duration. A few strings of lacework also.

Aromatics are lemony, hay-like, and brightly acidic. Slightly lactic, with plenty of wheat twang and grapefruit.

Light bodied and crisp. Tart and quenching mouthfeel.

The pallet delivers what the nose promised. Lemon zest, wet hay, grapefruit pith, and clean acid. Slightly prickly on the back of the throat.

Finishes with plenty of lemony tartness and cut grass on the farm.

This ones a bit cleaner than the JP brews in that the lactic quality is minimal, while the acid is bright and clean. Some more funk would be nice, especially some brett.
Mildly sour in comarison to an authentic lambic or other American wild ales, but certainly more sour than any Biere de Garde.
Pretty damn tasty on a hot summer's eve. (937 characters)

Photo of paco1029384756
4.02/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light gold color with very little head and decent carbonation.

Scent of tart cherries, yeast, sugar, earth, and spices.

Taste of yeast, cherries, sugars, earth, spices, and some oak in the finish. A nice tart and tasty beer.

Mouthfeel is light bodied with fairly strong carbonation. (293 characters)

Photo of Kegatron
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle into a pint glass and shared with some fellow BAs. Big thanks to my trading buddy joe1510 for the hook up with this.

Pours a hazy pale gold with a 1/2 finger of brite-white head. Nice foamy retention that doesn't shrink much, leaving back some rich swathes of lacing that just COATS the sides of the glass. The aroma is strong with the tart scent of woody oaky tannins and sour green apples. Floral, grassy hops, and sweet wheat notes mix in, as well some additional funky character.

The taste is quite similar to the aroma, with acidic tartness (but not overpowering so) coming courtesty of citric fruits and maybe some Brett-like funkiness. An undercurrent of spicy hops and bready malts glide underneath, as does some slippery feeling oaky character. The mouthfeel is lighter bodied with a generally easy feeling lower carbonated feel to it that carries the flavors well. I'd also be remiss, if I didn't mention that this drank very nicely for an almost 8% beer.

This was the first that I had heard of this beer or the brewer and was most surprised. A Golden Ale jazzed up with some yeasties and oak-aging, this kept the funky feel to a tasty but not overdone minimun and stayed relatively quaffable. Thanks again for the chance at this Joe! (1,264 characters)

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big ole 750 Ditmier brought over the other night... I am pretty sure this was the first casualty of the evening... Poured into my small La Trappe goblet... Thanks Eric for a "new to me" brewery.

Pour is a pale straw gold .. pretty hazy with a nice foamy head.

Nose is pretty oaky.. a bit vinous.. pale malts with a more than a bit of brett combined with some unexpected fruitiness.. white grapes and some underripe pears.. brett provides an abundant grassy/sorta musty element.

Flavor is again... pretty winey.. more oak than I would normally want lends a drying characteristic with all the brett funk.. a bit of sour grape and some citrus zest that seems out of place for the style... the oak comes back in with a sorta mineral note... light body and fantastic carbonation...

This is a better brew than my feeble review can come across... but this is interesting and I am damn glad I have a good guy across town who lets me try... Thanks Eric. (948 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy pale golden color with a fluffy head that retains as a film and leaves some lace

Smell: Barnyard funk and oak, with vague hints of light fruit underneath

Taste: A bit of sweet apple and pear, followed by a tart lemon explosion that grows increasingly funky by mid-palate; after the swallow, the tartness overwhelms the fruit flavors; the finish is dry and woody, with lingering sourness

Mouthfeel: Medium body with buoyant carbonation

Drinkability: A little overboard on the sourness, but a very nice first effort (544 characters)

Photo of GrandCruDrew
4.07/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750mL poured in my New Belgium goblet 4/27/11. Green low shoulder bottle. I believe 2008-ish

A- Great Golden color, hazy, decent head, about an inch that dissapeared quickly, very little to no head.

S- Familar Lime-ade nose with tartness, and tropical fruits, Brett aroma.

T- Sour, funky Fun Stripes gum that resembles, lime, lemon, orange...all citrus fruit with some tropical fruit lace. The Brett has started to be prominate over the fruit at this age.

M- Good feel but a quick finish. Tart and sour.

Overall- A great Summer beer. I have had this beer many times. I don't believe I caught this one in it's prime, but still showing really good for 3-4 years old. (671 characters)

Photo of kzoobrew
4.08/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into New Belgium globe. Slightly hazed golden hay colored body capped by a two finger bone white head. The head recedes to a slim cap rather quickly. Impressive lacing left clinging to the glass.

Very pleasing aroma. Soft and approachable. Tart green apple and bright citrus notes are plentiful up front. Rustic aromas are settled in just behind. The Brett is held in check, compliments the fruitier scents well.

Sweet citrus fruit rolls across the tongue before transitioning to a tart Granny Smith bite. The flavor is fairly balanced behind. Soft oak and white pepper flavors are intertwined through out. The farm house flavors are understated in comparison to to other Ron Jeffries concoctions.

Light to medium bodied beer with lively carbonation. Very smooth and slightly creamy texture. The finish is rather dry, very appropriate for the beer.

Excellent beer. Highly drinkable, slightly too easy to enjoy. The alcohol is masterfully disguised, I would not guess that this was 7.5%. The price point is very nice compared to similar beers though a bit higher than I will pay on an average day. I will revisit this one from time to time, too good not to. (1,168 characters)

Photo of ffejherb
4.09/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Via 750ml bottle, courtesy of Kegatron.

A - Poured a cloudy pale golden body with a short, bubbly white cap that receded to a thin veil and left decent lace around the rim of the glass.

S - Slightly sour nose with woody/oaky notes and plenty of funk. Some bittersweet citrus notes also emerged as well as a definite sour apple presence.

T - Like the aroma, the flavor suggests sour apple and citrus fruit with some oakiness and acidity. While some malt sweetness is present, it is overpowered by the tart sourness.

M - Light to medium bodied with a syrupy texture and lively carbonation that bolsters the tart character of this brew. Finish is a bit astringent and quite tart and sour on the palate, providing some definite pucker.

D - I found this to be a very good golden ale with a pleasant sour character, courtesy of the oak aging. This was my first experience with this brewery, and overall I was impressed. (922 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy gold pour, bone white cap of foam. Some visible carbonation works it's way slowly upward. Spots of lace, a droopy ring eventually decorates the glass.

Farmhouse aromas of lactic tartness, wheat, and well water. Reminds me of a Berliner Weiss.

Flavors of tart lemon zest, apple, cheese, mild Brett, and light bready pale malt. Well carbonated and tart, with a rustic aftertaste that lingers. Definitely thirst quenching, it would make a great summertime pairing with cuisine from the grill.

Although at $12.49, it seemed a tad inflated for what it is. If this is really going for $20 at Bierkraft, i've got a bridge to sell you. (638 characters)

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Good Harbor Golden Ale from Leelanau Brewing Company
91 out of 100 based on 65 ratings.