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Goose Island – Madame Rose

Madame Rose
Nick Alfonse

Colored in crimson, aged in red-wine barrels and soaked in sour cherry deliciousness—what more could you ask for? A seductive member of Goose Island’s now famed ‘Three Sisters’ group, Madame Rose is one of the brewery’s elusive bottled wild ales that tantalizes and plays with our taste buds from start to finish.

Joining Juliet and Lolita to form the treacherous Three Sisters trio, Madame Rose is expressive and outspoken, pouring on the tart wild ale fun you’ve come to expect from Belgian krieks or Flanders red ales. As sexy and refined as the packaging is, enough already, let’s crack open a bottle of the 2012 vintage to see what’s inside.

Goose Island Madame RoseAfter popping open a chilled 22 ounce bomber, Madame Rose cascades into the glass like a slinky red dress, coating the vessel in a dark cherry color with bright golden hues dancing in the sunlight. A crop of bubbly white head perks up, only to dissolve into a few wisps of film and some spotty lacing.

Now that I’m done drinking with my eyes, let’s take this one step further. Breathe into a swirling combination of sweet and sour scents, punctuated by bushels of cherries and ripe fruit skins. Oak and red wine lurk underneath with Belgian yeast and earth.

Madame Rose skirts the line between puckering sourness and pleasantly tart, seemingly aiming to keep both the seasoned sourheads and newbies stoked at the same time. The cherries deliver a blast of flavor like stepping on a wild ale landmine, softened by the wine barrels, oak and funky Belgian yeast. Continue to search deeper and unearth mild malted sweetness topped with ripe fruit skins.

Being an unabashed sour, wild ale and lambic fiend, Madame Rose hits the nail on the head, delivering plenty of great cherry and red wine flavor without becoming too acidic or sweet. At 7.1% abv, it’s higher than more traditional Belgian sours, but not quite high enough where it interferes with the flavors.

While this is still a limited release, Goose Island’s production and distribution footprint is dramatically larger than most other breweries creating beers of this ilk, making it easier to locate than something from Russian River or Cantillon. For added fun, search out the other two wild ale temptresses, Juliet (blackberry sour) and Lolita (raspberry sour) so you can get down with the whole group.

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