Honker's Ale | Goose Island Beer Co.

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Honker's AleHonker's Ale
3,956 Ratings
Honker's AleHonker's Ale

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States

Style: English Bitter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.30%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Golden sunset color, fruity hop aroma, biscuity malt flavor, soft body.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 08-08-2001

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 3,956 |  Reviews: 1,136
Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

Poured into a tulip glass. Color is amber with a nice off white head. Starts at 1.5 fingers of head and then falls down throughout. A good bit of spotty lacing. Nose is nice with a bit of caramel and nutty malt as well as some nice floral and citrus hops.

The taste is quite nice with a good dose of nutty malt with a slightly-sweet caramel and toffee taste. Good floral hops throughout. Feel is moderately light; nice body and good carbonation. Drinkability on this one is quite nice. I love that I can get this in DC, but please come to VA!

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Honker’s Ale, poured out with a nice thick aroma of wheat at hops, fresh hops! It’s a semi-dark amber color and is slightly hazy with little carbonation. The head is thick, fluffy and light tan, it like an open invitation to jump right into this ale. There are plenty of citrus fruit smells that com through beside the wheat and hops (wheat smell is very, very mild). It’s very light on the tongue and feels and tastes very light and mildly crisp. There are some evident hop flavors as it reaches the corners of your mouth and the back of your tongue. It does have a nice semi-tart aftertaste and no alcohol is present at any point while drinking this ale.

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Photo of atlbravsrno1
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of ygtbsm94
2.75/5  rDev -24.9%

Photo of russpowell
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

BBD of Aug 12 06, so its fresh:

Pours amber to caramel with a 2 fingers offwhite head. Good head retention & not much lacing

Smell: Slight fruittyness & pepper

Taste: Fruitty & caramel notes. Later, a slight peppery bitterness. Finished slightly bitter (piney) fruitty & crisp

MF: Light with good carbonation

Drinks pretty good, but there wasn't enough flavor to really make me think "I should buy this the next time I see it!" Hopefully I can find it on draft sometime

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Photo of BEER88
3.42/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Photo of wethorseblanket
3.6/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of atrocity
2.5/5  rDev -31.7%

Photo of Hayley_86
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of 22Blue
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.91/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

16 ounce pint - $5.25 at Taco Mac in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Served up a rich, copper-colored body with a half-inch of smooth, off-white foam. Good lacing, too.

Smell: Pale maltiness with a notable note of toast. Additionally, some fruitiness, herbal hops, and some implied sweetness in the taste.

Taste: Pale malts, then, a light toastiness joined with a crust of caramelized sugars for a touch of sweetness. Some fruitiness present giving off a bit of dehydrated apple and even, maybe, a little bergamot. Herbal, spicy hops with ample bitterness. Leisurely drying, light finish with a carry over of some of the bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body. Medium carbonation.

Overall: A likable, refreshing little ale.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3/5  rDev -18%

Photo of duceswild
3.38/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of SadMachine
3.5/5  rDev -4.4%

Photo of mdaschaf
3.88/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Baysox game.

A: Honker's was a clear amber color with a one finger off-white head that had moderate retention and spotty lacing.

S: Not a ton going on, but some biscuity malt and a little bit of citrus and orange peel.

T: Pretty mild fruit flavors with more biscuit/bready malt. More orange flavor and a slight tropical citrus flavor.

M: On the lighter side of medium bodied with medium carbonation.

O: A solid beer, easy drinking for sure. Was happy to get it at a minor league game as opposed to having to get a macro lager.

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Photo of rab53
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.18/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this tonight at Mondo's in Iowa City. It was served way too cold and in a frosted glass. So, I let it warm a little....

Medium gold with a creamy bone white head. The cap faded to a broken film and deposited a good bit of intricate lace on the pint glass. Very nice for a bar pour. The nose wasn't too impressive, but to be fair, I did most of my aroma assessment when the beer was still fairly cold.

It's amazing how with some beers the aroma and the flavor don't match up with respect to quality. This was one of those cases because Honker's Ale was delicious. Perfectly hopped with a flavor of candied grapefruit peel, it was wonderful from the first cool sip to the last room temperature one. The hops were so much in the foreground that it seemed more like an IPA than a pale ale. Not much malt, but that's perfectly fine with me.

The medium body and the creamy mouthfeel was the icing on the cake. It also stood up very well to a spicy Buffalo chicken pizza. I haven't heard Goose Island mentioned in the same breath as a lot of the other quality U.S. microbreweries, but Honker's Ale (on-tap anyway) is very good beer.

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Photo of Jason
3.86/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 12 oz brown twist off long neck bottle with a “Best When Consumed By” date on the back label.

Appearance: Bright pale copper colour with a thing head delicious looking off white lace.

Smell: Slight malty aroma with hints of caramel and toasted husk, touch of woody hop in there also.

Taste: Moderately bodied with a smooth mouth feel that gets joggled from the dryness. Soft toasted malt flavours surround the taste buds, touch of caramel within the short lived sweetness. Hops give an even woody and citric twang and give the brew a near perfect balance. Big drying finish with toasted grain and a fermented malt twang comes to the tongue in a clean way.

Notes: American session beer? I think so, pretty damn good if I do say so myself. Light enough to go down easy but right the right amount of flavour to be able to hold up against bar snack and the like.

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Photo of tdm168
3.53/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

On tap at World of Beer Raleigh

A - clear amber with a soft, white head that has good retention

S - faint caramel, faint toast

T - caramel, big toasted malts, juicy apples, very faint bitterness in the finish

M - medium bodied, well carbonated

This is a relatively simple brew, but it is a nice session beer that could also pair well with food. Ultimately, I don't think there is anything wrong with this beer, I was just underwhelmed. This isn't a beer I would turn down and I'm glad I tried it once, but I won't seek it out again.

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Photo of Slatetank
4/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.49/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Crystal clear and golden orange hued, the beer has a thick inch of white head that leaves numerous ringlets of caked on lacing. The aroma is pretty weak, with faint scents of malt, hops, and lightly toasted bread. The flavor is decent and well balanced. The finish brings a fair amount of bitterness. The feel is medium bodied, more robust than I would have expected from a session ale. Overall, a drinkable brew and worth trying.

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Photo of VeganUndead
3.25/5  rDev -11.2%

Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.75/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of mikesgroove
3.98/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this one up when I was in Ohio and brought it back down with me along with pretty much the rest of the lineup. I had forgotten they were in the fridge, and when I cleaned it out the other day I found this. Enjoyed it with dinner last night. The twelve ounce bottle was served slightly chilled and poured into a pint glass.

Appearance - Poured a nice dark amber color, with some nice reddish tints to it as well. Good two inch plus head of frothy white foam that hung around for a good few minutes before finally settling down into a thin film across the top that lasted throughout the session. Good side glass lacing and some nice carbonation throughout the glass.

Smell - The aroma was nice and malty. Pleasing aroma of caramel and nuts that blended in with an earthy and bitter hoppiness. Some nice light undertones of candy like sweetness as well mixing down and covering the grain like base.

Taste - The flavor was damn good I have to say. Crisp, and rich with a good dry and bitter finish, Started out with a good rush of caramel and morphed into a kind of wet hay like flavor which drew out some cereal and bready malts giving the middle a sort of biscuit like flavor. Nice hint of some slight fruit in there, maybe a touch of grapes as well.

Mouthfeel - Very nice medium bodied ale. Good carbonation and a fuller then expected feel to it. No thinness of lack of body here, this was very tight and a fine ale.

Drinkability - An outstanding session ale. Good semi sweet, semi bitter profile seamlessly melded into the malted base. I could have had another and another and another. Really a solid all night brew.

Overall this was one of my first experiences with the style and I have to say I am very impressed. I would still prefer my IPA's however this was very nice indeed. I would have no issue at all trying this again any day!

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Honker's Ale from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 3.66 out of 5 with 3,956 ratings