Beer Reviews: Green Zebra (Founders) and Next Coast (Goose Island)

Beer Reviews: Green Zebra (Founders) and Next Coast (Goose Island)

Not every beer can be a “whale” and extremely hard to get and worth chasing down and dropping 20$ for some guy to mule it ontop of the 8$ the can costs. Some are going to be regular beers you drink at a bar while playing bar room poker. Some are going to be 3$ happy hour beers that you enjoy for the time being.

Thats the nature of the game and while they might not be the greatest beers you’ll ever have, there is still some decent beers, and doesn’t mean we can’t give them a little write-up and review.

So that’s exactly what I’m doing here. Giving two beers that most blogs and most reviewers will overlook a write-up. Why? Well, because I drank them, so why not? But also to highlight that there is so many different beers in the world, and so many different styles and ways to consume beers (draft, can, bottle, at home, away, at a bar, at a party, with friends, while playing poker, while doing trivia, etc.). Beer is just as much as the company you are with as it is the quality of the beer itself. The right company can make a Miller Lite taste acceptable. Or it can even make a JREAM or Utopias taste like swill. (And obviously there is times where the quality of the beer impacts the quality of the company as well. Everything is a two way street after all …..except one way streets…. they are just annoying.)

Green Zebra by Founders Brewing Company

Tuesdays at the Arooga’s on Rt. 22 means Poker Night. Many of the dealers and workers from the casino will drive (pretty much right down the road) and play. Its free. Its close. And happy hour is 5-7 so if you get early you can catch a beer or two to pre-game before the tournament starts (7:30) or grab one, then grab a second one at the last second (6:59 order for the win) to sip on while you play. (Key strategy right there.)

Despite this being a semi-regular from Founders and having been out for I believe a few years, its one I haven’t had yet, so when out at bars like this, that’s a plus for it right there, new Untappd check-in (and as it turns out has its own badge, so there we go, badge hunting at its finest), so double plus.

Let’s see what we got here:

Beer: Green Zebra
Brewery: Founders Brewing Company
Style: Sour – Gose – Fruited
ABV: 4.6%
IBU: 10
Untappd Write-Up: Subtly sour and a little sweet, this ale is a refreshing take on a nearly extinct German style, gose. Watermelon is the highlight of this lightly-hopped treat and gives it a hint of satisfying juiciness. The soft mouthfeel and dry finish comes courtesy of the addition of sea salt, a traditional gose ingredient.


This is very slight on the sour side. No real tartness and no real crazy sour. It is very much on the sweet side of things. Not quite like their Lizard of Kaz where it was super syrupy and sweet, but this is sweet and clingy all the same, kind of like a hummingbird nectar that you could put out on the back patio and watch the hummingbirds swarm to and acts and other bugs bathe in.

That’s not to say this is a bad beer. Its a refreshing beer, and its very sweet, and a good sipping beer to start a poker tournament with. The aroma is very nice, heavy watermelon, heavy sweet fruit notes, and there is no bitterness to this at all. It is cloying and clinging and the mouthfeel is slick but sticks to you.

And for those of you fans of poker : started off the tournament doing pretty well. Some nice early hands, even getting pocket Kings followed by pocket Jacks as well as A10 and AQ and hitting a broadway with the A10 to double-up and knock a player out. The mostly dealer table got wiped pretty clean early and we began getting players from other tables, while I moved onto ordering my next beer.


My Untappd Rating: ***.75
Global Untappd Rating: 3.76 (as of 7.23.19)


Next Coast IPA by Goose Island Beer Co.

Yes, I am fully aware I’m doing a beer review for the dreaded In-Bev machine. And yes, I am also aware that its stupid to give them a shout-out and a review. Primarily because I hate a lot of the things they stand for, and their handling of craft beer and craft breweries. I will attempt to pass this off as a mistake thinking it was by Great Lakes (which I did), but its neither here nor there.

For those not in the know, Goose Island Beer Co. is a subdivision of In-Bev which owns Anheuser-Busch. The makers being Bud Light, Budweiser, etc. They have a notorious record in the craft beer market and community for basically attempting to destroy it. Through many ways (a lot of which are nefarious, though ultimately all legal). Things like buying up lots of smaller craft breweries (or at least regional/medium sized ones) like Wicked Weed, Blue Moon, Goose Island, Elysian, etc. They have also done some underhanded commercials aimed at craft beer and craft breweries with making stereotypes out of craft drinkers (hipsters, effeminate, etc.) as well as doing other shady things like attempting to buy hop farms in South Africa and other places. They also do a lot of practices of tap manipulation at bars to push craft breweries/beers off the tap lists as well as shelf space at grocery stores and gas stations.

So needless to say, they don’t exactly have the best reputation in the craft beer market. But I am going to overlook all of these things and review the beer impartially. (And besides, as some might have noted, I have done reviews on Wicked Weed in the past, so I’m not immune to having done reviews of In-Bev owned breweries and besides, I’ll most likely do Goose Island in the future, and I’m sure you can guess which one[s]).


Beer: Next Coast IPA
Brewery: Goose Island Beer Co.
Style: IPA – American
ABV: 7%
IBU: 40
Hops: Eureka, Nugget, Mosaic, Citra, 06277 Hop
Untappd Write-Up: It’s 7%, but totally crushable — it’s not quite like any other IPA you’ve had. Big, bracing, piney hop flavors meet a tropical bouquet of Eureka, Nugget, Mosaic, Citra, and 06277 hops. There’s a balanced bitterness that blends seamlessly into the light to medium body. Sip it or rip it. Whatever. We’re not your mom.

A total difference from the watermelon fruity nectar Green Zebra I just had, this is a hoppy West Coast traditional IPA. I think the write-up for this is a bit more marketing than actuality though (sadly) but its serviceable for what it is. (A 3$ last second happy hour grab.)


Its not really crushable like the description lists. The aroma is hoppy, piney, but not a crazy smack you in the mouth hop punch that it could be, especially given all the hops they list being in this.

(Brief poker interlude: table breaks down and we’re moving down to two tables. Sitting on a decent stack thats probably the upper of the middle, bottom of the top stacks.)

The taste is hop bitterness first and foremost. A bit overly bitter aftertaste thats not really representative of the hops (especially some of those listed like Eureka and Citra). Not familiar with 06277 Hop, I assume some proprietary hop that Goose Island has access to but most craft brewers won’t be able to access (again, one of the perks of being owned by In-Bev).

Sadly there isn’t much more to say about the flavor. Its a traditional piney hop west coast IPA that lacks any other distinguishing flavors or notes or interesting bits about it. There is a real aftertaste that is a bit overly bitter, again, especially given the hops involved, but its not too unpleasant to the point of making the beer undrinkable.

Would I order this again? Probably not. Am I upset I dropped 3$ on it at a happy hour while out with friends at a sports bar playing poker? No. So I guess it served its purpose? *Shrug*

My Untappd Rating: ***.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.68 (as of 7.23.19)
(I wonder if its not an In-Bev beer if I would have given them the benefit of the doubt and went 3.5 on it, but I dunno, and really its not worth dithering too much on a .25 on an Untappd check-in for a beer that will be checked in uptowards 30K just due to brand/market share).


And so not to leave everyone in suspense, the poker recap.

14 players left, and get moved to down to two tables. First hand on the new table, I look and have pocket 10s (10H and 10C). First person to act folds, second folds, I make it 60 (blinds are 15-30). Call. Fold. Small blind goes all in at 75. Big blind calls. Leaving him with about 45 behind. I call the 15 more.

Flop comes KH-5S-9C. Rainbow flop and a bit all over the place. Not hitting anything I’m a bit hesitant with an over-card out. Big blind is first to act (small blind is all in). He checks. I check. Turn comes 10S. He checks. I make it 45 (forcing him to be all in.) He calls. Now that everyone is all in, all hands are flipped up, the small blind had A-J suited diamonds, big blind had KD-JC. So their sharing outs and I already have the set. River comes 5 (of hearts I believe?) giving me a full house, and knocking them both out. (Got my second full house of the tournament, and my second bonus 50 chip for it.)


A few hands later I do impressively well with back to back Ace-Rags hands. On one knocking out another player and taking a decent chunk from one before he folds, and on the other taking out a pretty good chunk from a fellow dealer before he folds.

But then I donkey off nearly half my stack right back to him a few hands later with another Ace-Rags where I didn’t hit my heart with both the turn and river to go. (Ace high flush draw vs. his two pair after the flop, I had several outs going into the turn, flush draw or runner/runner Ace or two pair).

Immediately after that, I’m all in with Jacks vs. Ace-Jack. Which is a good position for me (I have two of his outs, I just need to avoid him hitting his Ace, so he theoretically has 3 outs.) Of course he hits his Ace on the flop and thats all she wrote. 11th out of 33 I believe. Respectable (especially since I haven’t played in roughly 7-8 months).


Future upcoming blog posts:
* a flight from Moo-Duck Brewery
* the Moo-Funk Homebrew Event
* Ffej of July: 17
* Mango Guyobano sWheat Tart from Rotunda Brewing
* Fuzzy Nudge from Troegs Brewing
* my hop harvest at my house
* canning day at Tattered Flag


So until then, enjoy everyone!


-B. Kline

Go to Top