|Great Lakes Brewing Co. 2010 part 2.
Ever keen to show our new-founded support for the Great Lakes Brewing Co (2010 version) Lord Ackery and myself thought it would be prudent to make
visits throughout the year in order to taste their pub-only exclusives. I should add that Lord Ackery’s total knee replacement in October made the Christmas
visits somewhat tricky, but my Royal self was more than capable of flying the flag for Bogrolls.
But, dear readers, let us harken back to Spring of 2010….
1) Wolfhound Stout (4.8%)
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, this is by far the finest Dry Stout on the planet, galaxy, universe. Like its peers (Murphy’s, Guinness) Wolfhound Stout is
served on nitro-keg, but that’s where the similarity stops. It looked like a thing of liquid beauty in the glass – rich, sumptuous, solid with a sturdy creamy head
sitting on top.
Taste-wise, there were creamy unintrusive flavours of roasted barley, balanced by mild malt with just the mildest of creamy bitterness in the finish. A very,
very smooth stout and an absolute work of art – Leonardo, serve up another pint, my good fellow! 15/10
2) Ohio City Oatmeal Stout (4.8%)
Another return to an old favourite, the Oatmeal Stout is all about its name: Oatmeal. Like it’s cousin the Wolfhound Stout, Ohio City Oatmeal Stout was
incredibly smooth and creamy with a strong oatmeal and burnt malt presence balanced by chocolately flavours lurking in the background. Rich and bold, a
distinct nuttiness made itself known before bringing us back to a creamy, toasty finale. Delicious! 9/10
3) Independence Ale (6%)
A turbo-charged version of their Burning River Pale Ale, the Independence Ale presented a nice reddy/amber in the glass with rich flavours of bittersweet
maltiness combined with a strong citrusy and piney hop presence. Not too syrupy either. This was beautifully balanced and like many of their pub-only beers,
had me wondering why on earth they don’t bottle it. 9/10
4) Market Street Wheat (5.3%)
A perfect alter-ego to their Wit’s End, Market Street Wheat was an unfiltered German hefeweizen which began with a lovely aroma of cloves. Still giddy over
the nasal herb fix, I moved to the flavours, which beautifully underlined the classic banana and clove notes of this style. Some very mild lemon flavours made
themselves known before the combination of bananas and cloves returned for a triumphant finish. 9/10
5) Rockefeller Bock (7.5%)
Oh dearie me, the dreaded “Bock” word. A powerful malt nightmare was about to unravel l before my eyes (at least that’s what I was expecting). Here’s the
official blurb: “Deep mahogany color with a rich malt flavor hinting at raisins, caramel and chocolate in the aroma, extensive aging (8 weeks) creates a
remarkably smooth drinking beer”.
Sadly, I got what I expected, a powerful malt nightmare - with some ghastly sweet caramel - which unraveled before my eyes. For the sake of being impartial
for Bogrolls & Barley Wines, I’ll always give these beers a try, but to be perfectly honest, I don’t like strong malty beers, me. 2/10
6) Wit’s End (4.8%)
Yes, Yes and thrice Yes, this was a stunning example of a Belgian Wit. It was so stunning, I picked up a growler of it (my first ever Great Lakes growler) and,
as it turned out, finished up the barrel, much to the dismay of Lord Ackery.
But what about the flavours, I hear you ask? Following a beautiful aroma of freshly peeled tangerines, the tasting brought forth flavours of oranges,
lemongrass, mild cloves with a pronounced infusion of ginger. Almost menthol-like in character, the finish presented freshly peeled tangerines. Outstanding,
wicked and formidable. 15/10
7) Moondog Ale (5%)
Many moons ago, Great Lakes Brewing Co turned out the best example of a British Bitter I have ever tasted this side of the Atlantic. With an abv of 5%, it was
called Moondog Ale. Then, one day, somebody had the bright idea of totally jacking up this gem of a beer, reworking it and turning it out as an ESB. It went
from an absolute classic to a run-of-the-mill, bland, strong pale ale called Moondog ESB, with an abv of 8%. Indeed, this travesty of the brewing world was
responsible for my Royal boycott of the Great Lakes Brewing Co in 2009.
However, with the passing of time, the emotions had softened up somewhat and it was time to wear my impartial hat.
Lo and behold, Moondog Ale had return, but was it a triumphant return? This was actually quite light-bodied compated to the “old” Moondog Ale with a
fragrant, flowery hop bouquet (or bucket). Essentially malty with mild caramel/toffee and bready flavours, this was considerably better than the Moondog ESB I’
d tasted in 2008. Apart from the aroma, the hops played a significant supporting role to the dominant malty flavours. Think of a mild Wychwood Hobgloblin
and you have the new Moondog Ale. Is it as good as its predecessor? No, but a vast improvement on that ghastly ESB. 7/10
8) Lake Erie Monster Double IPA (9%).
As I looked as this beer sitting in its snifter glass, I thought to myself “Bloody hell!” I felt as if I was about to open Pandora’s Box – I mean, it was just sitting
there waiting for me to take my first sip, seducing me with its dark golden orange colour.
But anyway, this Imperial IPA was about as intense as it gets: rich, hoppy with a massive bitter finish and very syrupy. You could really taste the alcohol which
made for a much harsher tasting IPA, rather than smooth tasting – still a mighty IPA, but a tad disappointing. 7/10
But wait, there's more, which you'll find on Great Lakes Brewing Co 2010 part 3.