Good Harbor Golden Ale | Leelanau Brewing Company

Good Harbor Golden AleGood Harbor Golden Ale
Liked This Beer
4.15 w/ 126 Ratings
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

View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 126 |  Reviews: 67
Photo of Envelopes
3.25/5  rDev -21.7%

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.

 306 characters

Photo of americanjones
5/5  rDev +20.5%

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.

 1,605 characters

Photo of MaseFace
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of warnerry
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of Gtg642
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of chrisbokmuller
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

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.

 800 characters

Photo of KCM
4.75/5  rDev +14.5%

Photo of Rifugium
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
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 birchstick
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of bsuedekum
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

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.

 658 characters

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.

 300 characters

Photo of ChugginOil
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shout out to Brant @ St. Charles Binny's for the recommendation!

Split with my buddy wesside89

Pours a very hazy, yellow/orange color with a fingers worth of white head. Tons of spotty lacing.

The nose is funked up for sure! There is some lemony, citrus fruits along with that barnyard, weirdo funk. Loving it. There is also an extremely mild tartness that is melded with the other scents.

The taste has some horse blanket, funky, grassy flavors up front. These are followed by some citrus fruit flavors that create a nice balanced profile against the funky yeasts. There is some white grape that hangs for a moment, like a quick bite into a grape. That light tartness lingers and keeps my palate beggin' for more. There is just enough tartness to keep this brew very diverse. Lots of incorporated flavors working here.

The mouthfeel is crisp and enticing. There is an amble amount of champagne-like carbonation that works well with the sweet and semi-tart characteristics.

Overall, nice barrel treatment. This shows how you can integrate a biere de garde with a barrel to create a very tasty brew. I just wish i was a millionaire so I could buy cases upon cases. Well, I guess i can dream.

 1,198 characters

Photo of mrebeka
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of mjmadsen21
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

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

 1,001 characters

Photo of GRPunk
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle marked with a bottled on date of 4-29-2011, poured into a Lion tulip. Would like to have a fresher bottle, but it says it can be stored for a decade, so here it goes.

A- It's a slight gusher, just topping the rim of the bottle upon opening. The resulting pour produced a 2-finger, foamy white head head. The 1st pour was clean, golden body with bits of yeast suspended with moderate carbonation. The head sustains nicely at 1/2-finger and leaves good sticky spots on the glass. It's definitely lighter in color on the Biere de Garde spectrum, though not off the charts. Reminds me of Les Bière Des Sans Culottes. The final pour was nicely cloudy with a yeast swirl and dump.

S- Even in the bottle, I picked up a ton of funk. Lots of apple peel, bubble gum, musty accents, and lemon. After the pour, I got a lot of the must, green apple, and lemon zest. Underlying, cracker-like malts. Some warmth brings out some tropical fruit or melon-like qualities. Hints of white pepper.

T- Very pleasant funk. Apple peels up front, with a dose of black pepper in a spicy middle, and a lemony finish. It's really dry, and really pleasant. The dose of black pepper is nearly perfect. I could drink this all day. The 750ml isn't enough. While most of this review was food-free, the final pour even contrasted nicely with some homemade, spicy, shredded chicken tacos.

M- Light without being watery. Quite dry and refreshing from the citrus qualities. Moderate carbonation.

O- An easy drinker and a great beer. As Biere de Gardes go, it's not as malty as most. It's been a while, but I want to compare it to Les Bière Des Sans Culottes. It's nearing something of a Saison. I had an initial concern with the sticker shock creating disappointment, but all was relieved. At $13.50 for a 750ml, it would be more of a special occasion beer than every day drinker. It was great on an unseasonably warm January afternoon (blue skies and temps somewhere around 40). It could be a nice summer treat on the deck with the grill fired up.

 2,031 characters

Photo of kbutler1
3.58/5  rDev -13.7%
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 pwoody11
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of brkstoutfiend
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Good Harbor Golden Ale from Leelanau Brewing Company
Beer rating: 88.9% out of 100 with 126 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.