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Good Harbor Golden Ale | Leelanau Brewing Company

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Good Harbor Golden AleGood Harbor Golden Ale

Brewed by:
Leelanau Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Bière de Garde

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by ypsifly on 11-20-2006

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Reviews: 66 | Ratings: 123
Photo of twelvsies
4.92/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is probably my favorite beer that I've stumbled upon over the past few years. Had this several times at the Spuyten Duyvil on a trip to New York last summer, and luckily got another chance thanks to a trade w/ vrazionale. Shared on the stoop with the Lady at the end of a long hot day. Pours a beautiful vibrant golden, almost florescent looking, slightly hazed, healthy two-finger head receding slowly into a creamy covering layer. The nose is full of oak and funky citrus zest. Lemon-lime, sour apple, orange zest and a nice woodsyness. Reminiscent of the finest gueuze Belgium has to offer. First sip is like stepping into the past. Maybe that's because I'm reminded of the good times I had when last drinking this beer, but it also has that old world, rustic farmhouse vibe to it. Initially tart, giving way to loads of complexities. Funky bugs, musty, earthy, dusty, spicy, slightly floral and a subtle herbal hop profile and passive pale malt. And then lots of citrus. Familiar lemon rind but also a deeper juicyness to it. I'm getting notes of fresh squeezed OJ here. Pineapple maybe. As it warms I'm almost reminded of Gatorade. An artificial flavor indeed, which amazes as this beer is of course all natural. Despite a lot of acidity and a wrenching, dry finish, this beer is somehow extremely refreshing. Truly an artisan product. Will search this one out on my travels again and again... Supple and delicious.

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Photo of vrazionale
4.89/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 mL bottle at refrigerator poured into a snifter.

A - Pours a bright golden hazy yellow with a thin layer of head formation that quickly fades to patches across the top of the brew.

S - Wow. Bright citrus meets musky basement funk. A wonderfully complex combination of citrus fruit, wet hay, musk, bitter and floral honey, sweet grass, sweat, and oak aromas.

T - Wow, again. All of the aromas that showed up on the nose here combine to produce a brew that is truly one-of-a-kind. There is an absolutely invigorating combination of bright citrus fruit, old wet basement funk, honey, vanilla, and salty sweat, with a long finish of mouth-puckering citrus and hoppy citrus and pine. So deliciously balanced and enjoyable.

M - Perfect carbonation - this brew is crisp and addictive. The finish is long, complex, and beguiling on the palate.

D - This is about as good as it gets for me. I can't even begin to describe how wonderful of a brew this is.This brew is a boon to the esoteric beer drinker - its complexity is so enchanting and beguiling, and every sip is unique. I love to pair beer with food, but this brew is too good to drink with any food - just put on some good music, sit back, enjoy every sip, and enjoy life.

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Photo of ypsifly
4.72/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750 purchased at Merchant's in Dearborn and poured into a Duvel glass.

Slightly hazed apple juice with a tall head of white that is sticky and leaves sheets and rings as it goes down.

Wonderful funky aromas of earth, wood, past ripe pears and apples. A bit of spice hangs underneath. Sour, tart, and cellar. Awesome!

The oak barrels are very apparent in the taste. This is followed by a fruity tart like flavor with a tasty funky sourness. Bitter to tart apples. Lingering sourness with hop flavors in the aftertaste.

The mouth is spritzy and tart yet in no way light. A very complex and flavorful beer that makes you want more and the abv allows for indulgence.

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Photo of flowerysong
4.71/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Whoa, this one's a gusher. Cracked it open and a torrent of foam inundated the table. Vigorous carbonation in the pour makes it difficult to serve. Pours an extremely hazy lemon yellow with a towering white head.

Nose: Cellar funk and citric fruit.

Taste: Acidic apple and lemon fruit up front, followed by a gentle earthy funkiness and some mild oak influence. The acid is balanced by a mild caramel malt sweetness. Slight hop influence on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Creamy medium-full body, bubbly carbonation.

Overall: Excellent beer, but I can't help but feel that it's quite a bit overcarbonated.

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Photo of macher0
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A. Beautiful light straw. Light head that retreats to a fine bubble rime. Very fine carb. Translucent.

S. Your traditional JP yeast. Neutral oak. Light malts. Minor fruit notes such as green apple, lemons, pears, and persimmon. Dusty straw.

T. Moderate tartness. Sour yeast dominates is a very good way. Follows the nose nicely. Strong neutral oak and dusty grain. Similar fruit notes as the nose with a noticeable sour apple presence. A little hop bite.

M. Uber smooth, high carbonation, light body, and crisp finish.

O. Go get this. Worth the price of admission. I think this crushes it's ultimate predecessor - Petrus. It's so smooth and refreshing. Wonderful for a summer day. The abv is a little surprising at 7.5. It comes across as less. I'm not sure the precise relationship between JP and Leelanu but they have a very similar yeast profile. Gots to love the Dexter microbes.

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Photo of GoldenChild
4.7/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Kinda Pricie beer at 19$ a bottle

Pours a beautiful Golden yellow with a very bubbly white head.

Smells like oak and funky citrus zest, Pears, apples, and Grapefruit.

Taste is extremely tart followed by oak flavors, apple, grapefruit and lemon.

Nice beer very refreshing and I need to have more.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.66/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From the bottle at Meridian Pint. Pours a slightly-hazy light peach color. Nose is light funk, wheat, and heavy stone fruit. Reminiscent of fruity batches of Fantôme Saison. Fruity and tart with a bit of body. Really exceptional and super smooth for 7.5%. An amazing beer that I was absolutely stunned by.

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Photo of andymurray
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Shocking straw golden color. Verging on Sunkist. How's that for a technical term? Great refreshing tartness, but has a sweet citrus side that reminds me of ripe grapefruit. If you are a fan of extreme beers or big, in your face fruit flavors, it's worth tracking this beer down. I would argue it's better than Jolly Pumpkin and I wish it had wider distribution (i.e. Massachusetts, please). Mouthfeel was fine. Like I said it seemed to have some residual sugar which definitely gave it some body. Drinkability? 22 oz. was gone. Rapidly.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a foggy straw with a thin off white head. Nose is a good level of funky that carries an almost lambic kind of nose at first. Slight fruit tone. Dies off to a more earthy and subdued woody character. Flavor brings a severe complexity. The first thing I think is cheese (most specifically brie). Why bother picking up half a pound at the Bedford Cheese Shop when you can get it here. Actually. It just makes me want to take a bite out of some hunk of cheesy goodness. Great thinner mild fruit tones. Body is very nice. Smooth carbonation on a consistent liquid body. Extremely drinkable. I don't usually like this style, but this is good. Definitely unique. The most memorable beer I have had in quite some time.

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Photo of WeisGuy
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - first pour from the 750ml bottle was a very clear bright amber, subsequent pours were very hazy with a good deal of sediment, medium white head with decent retention and lots of lacing, many bubbles continually rising to top

s - very fruity, lots of granny smith apple and pear, nice sour smell, a little woody, reminiscent of a flanders red but not quite as funky, no hint of alcohol

t - very sweet and fruity up front, nice granny smith/pear taste as the aroma suggests, quite sour and tart in the body, somewhat earthy, no hint of alcohol, finish is sweet and quite dry

m - fairly light-bodied, lots of carbonation, very dry finish

d - the super sweetness and dry finish might limit the drinkability slightly, but I could sip this all night

I didn't know what to expect from this brew as it was my first biere de garde and this is only its second review, but I was really impressed. I can't imagine a much better example of the style. Amazing beer, especially for such a small brewery I'd never heard of before. Definitely worth seeking out this Leelanau offering.

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Photo of johnd513
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my first time trying any of Leelanau's beers. Not sure why I havan't picked up any of there beers off the shelf in the past but here it goes. Pours a bright golden color with a two finger fizzy white head that fizzles down much smaller in size and leaves nice lacing on the glass. Smells of wheat and big citrus flavors. The taste is extremely tart followed by oak flavors, apple, grapefruit and lemon flavors. The mouthfeel is high in carbonation and right on target for the style. Drinkability is high, goes down easy. I could drink this one all night.

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Photo of Ambiorix
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Batch dated 8-12-10. Picked up a bottle at Jolly Pumpkin's Ann Arbor location. Clear golden pour, with a fine white head. The nose is sour, barnyard funkiness. Flavor is very sour, barnyard, wheat, lemongrass, pineapple. I've been looking for a bottle of this since reading the New York Times review of best Belgian-style beers and saw it listed. I really enjoy Jolly Pumpkin's beers, and this one, brewed for Leelanau, is no exception.

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Photo of superspak
4.42/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 4/29/2011. Fast gusher upon opening as expected, but didn’t lose any. Pours very cloudy golden straw color with a 2 finger dense and fluffy bright white head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with plenty of carbonation streaming off the sediment. Aromas of huge tart lemon, peach, sour apple, pear, apricot, pineapple, pepper, clove, oak, hay, straw, funk, and earthy spiciness. Incredible aromas with great balance and complexity of fruity, spicy, and funk notes. Taste of big peach, tart lemon, sour apple, pineapple, pear, apricot, clove, pepper, hay, straw, oak, funk, light leather, and earthy spiciness. Moderate tart acidity on the finish; with lingering notes of tart lemon, peach, pear, sour apple, pineapple, apricot, clove, pepper, hay, straw, oak, light leather, and earthy spiciness on the finish for a while. Fantastic complexity and balance of tart fruity, spicy, and funk flavors; with nearly zero cloying flavors present after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium bodied; with a crisp, acidic, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is very nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an absolutely incredible barrel aged wild golden ale. Huge complexity and balance of tart fruity, spicy, and funk notes; and very smooth to sip on. A highly fantastic offering. As the carbonation died out because of the gusher, it became slightly harder to drink; but with full carbonation this was absolutely insane.

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Photo of ballewblake
4.4/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up in Chicago I think, poured into my Duvel tulip

Thick white head on pour that dropped to nothing within a minute. Fast carbonation flowing up through a golden transparent body. Smell is gueze like, sour, tart, just like the taste. Wow, I wasn't expecting this when I got it or opened it. Tasty. Mouth fill is good, drinkabilty is good. I like this brew. Great to have an American craft brewery that produces a great sour like this.

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Photo of alexgash
4.38/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Gushing out of the bottle lemon yellow with a mild haze. Tall, rocky, pillowy, glass-lacquering powder white head. The head eventually settles down and it leaves behind aromas of tart citrus (grapefruit, lemon juice), sour fruit candy, hay, musty wooden barn door, and faint powdered sugar.

Tart, acidic fruits up front. Hay and faint tropical fruit sweetness follow with a near-biscuity malt backbone. Citrus sorbet explodes into the tartish, dry, bitterish, refreshing finish. Medium body with a soft, smooth feel underneath rolling, bottle-conditioned carbonation. Very drinkable and damn good! I'm excited for this brewery and wish them luck on their forthcoming facility. In the meantime, you can't go wrong with having Ron at JP helping out!

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.35/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Labeled as a biere de garde but sample tasted is very sour -- probably from oak aging. I'm rating it as a sour ale.

A: straw colored
S: decent, with a slight earthy funk from the brett
T: very enjoyable, quenching, refreshing but not overly tart
M: dances on the tongue and well-balanced
D: very, especially on a summer day (if other versions are just as funky)

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Photo of aasher
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer is courtesy of mystikyle, thanks Kyle!

It pours a light bodied very cloudy, almost Belgian wit gold in color with a soapy one finger head. The nose is phenomenal. It is slightly tart with a white orchard fruit type subtle sweetness. There is just a soft touch of butter. The flavors are both sweet and tart. It has some pear and white apple characteristics and finishes with a good amount of brett. It's just a really well balanced sour. It drinks a about medium in body with adequate carbonation. Overall this is a really nice and easy drinking sour. I love the fruit characteristics with the right amount of tartness. This is a really nice beer.

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Photo of mikereaser
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a slightly hazy golden yellow with an inch or two of bright white foam that is just hanging out bubbling away on the surface.

S - The aroma is very familiar, i'm guessing this is a Jolly Pumpkin beer. It has that slightly sweet horse blanket type of funk. There is some sort of citrusy fruit as well that livens it up a bit. I don't think I've had this one before.

T - Slightly peppery, a bit weaker than the aroma would lead you to think. Some sour apple, grape skin. Its slightly sour, horse blanket funk. Very nice flavor and very drinkable. This would be great on a hot summer day.

M/D - Light crisp body with some nice carbonation. It has just a tinge of tartness that makes you want to go back for more.

Very nice beer indeed. I was thinking a Jolly Pumpkin but I second guess myself, so lets open it up.

Leelanau Good Harbor Golden Ale
So I was right, kind of. Very nice beer and I never had this one for sure. Very enjoyable, very drinkable.

A - 4.5
S - 4
T - 4.5
M - 4
D - 4.5

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Photo of readbaron
4.33/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a cloudy golden yellow with white foam, decent retention, and excellent lacing.

Smells like lemons, with a bit of vinegar and barnyard funk.

Tastes very gueuze like. One of the tarter sours I've had. Lots of lemon, very acidic, with just a hint of funk. Crisp and sour.

Mouthfeel is great. Carbonation is good. Light bodied and crisp.

Overall. Very nice beer. Perfect amount of sour - any more and it'd be difficult to drink.

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Photo of jasonpeckins32
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow, really quite a one-of-a-kind beer here, atleast when compared to what I've tried in my past.

The golden thing is accurate, as it looks just that way sitting in my pint glass. Kind of murky, nice lacings throughout the drink.

It smells like ripened citrus fruits and herbal spices. Floral, but not in a hoppy way. Something more unique.

The taste is great, those same notes of citrus, herbalness, floralness, combine with chardonnay and hard apple cider to create quite a nice tasting beer.

The mouthfeel is very nicely carbonated and goes down easy. I stumbled across this one, and didnt quite know what to expect, but I'm glad I found it. This is really something worth trying, I wouldnt suggest letting it pass you by.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.32/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a tulip. Thanks to Dunt for bringing out this bottle and introducing me to another fun Michigan brewery.

Appearance: Out of the bottle this pours a relaxed yellow, cloudy, with a soft off-white cap. Just a few gentle spots of lace remain down the glass.

Smell: Full of fun bugs. Very tart, vinegar, lemon rind, some apricot, and a little funk.

Taste: Nice and sour. The flavor starts and stays sour the whole time, with a lot of lemon, some apricot, and some grassy notes playing in the forefront preventing the Brett from wreaking havoc on my palate. Some spicy notes and a little oak add some depth.

Mouthfeel: The body is definitely on the light side, with medium carbonation. The tartness creates a nice puckering sensation without being over the top. Overall I find the feel works well with the flavors.

Overall: This is an enjoyable brew and I would be interested to try their other offerings. This is big enough to keep me interested, but light enough to be refreshing in the summer.

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Photo of crossovert
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml green bottle.

It pours a slightly hazy old with a fizzy bright white head that dissipates rather quickly with no lacing.

The smell is really sour, I was surprised. It has a tingly passionfruit nectar scent along with some sour green apple, tangerine, lemon, and pineapple. There are some sweet malts in the background accentuating the tropical nature. There is some flowery/herbal scents going on too. There is a slight funk but not too much, more of just a slightly funkier saison yeast.

The flavor is interesting. It is nicely sour with sour green apple peel, lemon zest, and acid. There is a bit more funkiness going on with a long funky aftertaste. There is a tiny bit of hops and oak. This one is mostly sour.

A great surprise, something I have passed over a lot but glad I got to try.

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Photo of BillRoth
4.28/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Had at Spuyten Duyvill in Williamsburg Brooklyn. Sitting outside in courtyard. Poured in tall stem white wine glasses at perfect temperature. Short lived but attractive head. Soft golden color really caught the courtyard lights nicely. Aromatics were full and pushed the wild yeast and barrel. Taste likewise with soft but rich tartness. Very nicely done. Wonderfully smooth with gentle carbonation but still plenty to brighten the taste. Overall a very nice if not overly complicated beer. Would enjoy drinking this again, and is perfect for a summer evening like this one.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

New Beer Friday! A huge thanks to erikkoppin for this great beer. Cheers!

Appearance - Pours a hazy golden color into my Bell's tulip. About a finger of brilliant white head is achieved, which dissipates relatively quickly leaving light lacing around the sides of the glass.

Smell - Oh my. An immediate sour/tart aroma is detected which makes me salivate. Barnyard funk, wet hay, floral grassy hops, and actually sweet citrus makes its way through with appearances by lemons, granny smith apples, and is that slight strawberry I smell? A slight oak scent is also present the more this beer warms up.

Taste - Similar to the aroma, with acidic tartness/sourness up front. I disagree with what others have said and feel this is not an overpowering flavor. It is actually more subdued than I expected. The other flavors bring down the acidity of this beer, allowing the citrus from the fruits and the funk from the brett to do their jobs. There is a slight breadiness, spicy hops among other spices, and some oak. Very tasty.

Mouthfeel - Medium to light bodied, nice carbonation, finishes a tad dry.

Drinkability - Extremely so. I know this brewery is somehow related or deals with Jolly Pumpkin, hence my picking up the three beers they offer. This beer, to be honest, is less funky than I was expecting (in comparison to say the Bière De Mars from JP). However, this adds to its drinkability. There is zero showing of alcohol and I am restraining myself from quaffing this fine brew. I can't wait to try the other two offerings from Leelanau Brewing Company.

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Photo of BeaBeerWife
4.27/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The first thought that came to mind when drinking was Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales. And Belgium. Real nice stuff. I've been really getting into the Open Fermentation style lately. Those wild yeasts are so lively :) With the whole oak barrel aged thing, I wondered if the barrels previously held white wine, as that is what it reminded me most of, beyond dang good beer!

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Good Harbor Golden Ale from Leelanau Brewing Company
4.15 out of 5 based on 123 ratings.
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