|Great Lakes Brewing Co. 2010
It was time – we had boycotted Great Lakes Brewing Co throughout 2009, due to their shameful treatment of Holy Moses White Ale and Moondog ESB (nee
Moondog Ale). Furthermore, Lord Ackery had been dismayed at their new Grassroots Ale (nee Hale Ale), although to be sure, I rather liked it. Still, a boycott
is a boycott, but when we discovered Great Lakes had no less than THREE beers on tap at their Cleveland brewpub in February 2010 that we’d never tried
before, it was time for the boycott to be lifted.
There was the minor issue of freezing temperatures and several inches of snow in the region, but the beer pioneering spirit was nothing new to us – after all,
we were the two arctic explorers who had left the warm, safe surroundings of our Cleveland hotel in order to walk (yes, walk) through a raging blizzard for a
pint at Great Lakes, a few years back. I can still recall the look on my doctor’s face as she wrote me a cocktail of prescriptions for the resulting sickness from
But, a new year brings fresh promises and if you’ve tied the Huskies up, we’ll begin…
1) The Wright Pils (4%)
With a bouquet of fresh hops The Wright Pils was a lighter version of their Dortmunder Gold. And when I say “light”, I don’t mean as in Miller Shite – The
Wright Pils was absolutely gorgeous; it was bright, crisp, refreshing, with lots of lemon and lime in the flavours. Lord Ackery called it “A cheeky little number”
and it was a beer that he returned to several times throughout the evening. 12/10
Apart from being on tap, GLBC had bottled it purely for sale at their brewpub shop. It wasn’t going to any beer shops or supermarkets etc. Shame that only
folks in Cleveland or those who visit the gift shop will get to enjoy this gem of a beer. To that effect, I bought a 6-pack and Lord Ackery bought a case of The
Wright Pils. For extra effect, the bottled version of The Wright Pils comes in at 5.3% abv.
2) Grand Cru (7.8%)
Well, this didn’t work for Lord Ackery at all – in a rare moment in the history of beer, he didn’t even finish the glass! What we had here was a rich Belgian ale
with coriander and orange peel. Like Celis White on steroids, the Grand Cru was dense, syrupy, intense, bitter, a tad sour with this wonderful Dundee
Orange Marmalade flavour. A zingy, peppery finish rounded off this mighty, majestic beer. 9/10
3) Conway’s Irish Ale (6.5%)
The only malty ale I’ve ever liked, Conway’s provided a perfect balance between hoppy and sweet, juicy malt flavours. The malt was intense, toasty and rich
but never overpowering. Easily, the best Irish Red on the market. 9/10
4) Alberta Clipper (7%).
Described as “A winter porter with Belgian chocolate and raspberries”, I certainly couldn’t argue with any of that. I could pick up the chocolate and subtle
raspberries and it was pleasingly creamy and smooth too. Not too sweet either. Problem was, it still had that roasted porter taste lurking in the background,
which is why I don’t like most porters. Still, an interesting variation. 8/10
5) Blackout Stout (9%).
I don’t like Russian Imperial Stouts, me. But, I’ve avoided this one like the plague for a number of years, so it was time for a reappraisal. Pouring blacker
than black in the glass, it was looking ominous. Flavour-wise, here are my Royal notes as I wrote them down in my trusty Daytimer: dark, roasted, bitter,
coffee-ish, harsh, creamy charcoal, bitter (reprise), ghastly. I think that sums it up rather well. 0/10
So, all-in-all, a very satisfying return to Great Lakes Brewing Co. Even though there were no brewery tours that day, we did get a chance to talk with Terry,
the King of tour guides and we had confirmation that the best Irish Dry Stout on the entire planet, Wolfhound Stout would be making an appearance at the
GLBC brewpub around St. Patrick’s Day.
Yes, it was time.