Bogrolls & Barley Wines
Great Lakes Brewing Co. 2010 part 3.

And so it came to pass that in 2010 we made a total of 5 visits to the Great Lakes Brewing Co.  Not too shabby when you consider that we made zero visits
in 2009. Still, time can be a good forgiver and we were ready to return to taste the Cleveland brewery's beers.  Our final visit took place in November 2010
and so children, this is where we begin....

1) Highlander Scottish Ale (4.6%)
Any interpretation of a Scottish Ale is always going to be on the malty side, but remembering this could be the final trip of the year, I was ready to give this a
go.  It began with sweet, rich malty flavours which blended into a chestnutty finish.  The sweetness remained with an odd medicinal taste to it.  Still, the
Highlander was quite pleasant without being overdemanding on the malt side.  Not bad indeed.

2) Pumpkin Ale (5.4%)
This was an absolute ripper of an ale.  Not too sweet or not too gimicky, Great Lakes Pumpkin Ale was a minor revelation, featuring rich flavours of roasted
pumpkin, spices, nutmeg and cinnamon.  There was a lovely spicy pumpkin finish to it. I brought my growler with me, intending to fill it with Great Lakes
Christmas Ale - I ended up filling it with the superb Pumpkin Ale, which in effect, was like a little brother to the Christmas Ale.  Totally brilliant.

3) Blackout Stout aged in Bourbon barrels (9%)
Having tried Blackout Stout several times over the years, the conclusion has always been that the Russian Imperial Stout is one of the most hideous beers
ever created.  Although it was produced in 19th century Britain for what was then called Russia - notably, the Russian Royal family - when you're being
served up plates of borscht, then the aforementioned stout must have come across as being pretty tasty.  After a day of terrorising Russian peasants, I'm
sure the Imperial Stout must have also been very appealing to the hoardes of Cossacks riding their gee-gees across the Steppes.

But, for a Pale Ale / IPA / Wheat Ale bloke, this style has never worked for this Royal palate.  However, aging in bourbon barrels presented a brand new twist
to this stout - it made it drinkable!  Not only drinkable, but bloody delicious.  The aroma of bourbon gave a bright start, which was followed by sweet, syrupy
tastes of aniseed before finishing with incredibly smooth light roasty flavours combined with light bourbon.

The trick was to tone down the heavy roasted flavours normally associated with this Stout and by introducing sweet, syrupy bourbon it really made a perfect
compliment. Just beautiful.

4) Christmas Ale (7%)
Every year this beer has an identity change - some years there's more honey added, other years there's more ginger and then some years you get the
perfect balance.  For 2010, the balance was perfect, and on tap at the Brewpub, it really didn't get any better. The core flavours of ginger, cinnamon and
spices were all in harmony together with a nice honey underbelly.  More ginger took over at the finish, resulting in a supremely delicious and syrupy (in that
winter ale way) ale.  Had it not been for the Pumpkin Ale, a few more pints of this classic would have been consumed by this Royal person.

So that was it for our 2010 trips to the Great Lakes Brewing Co.  With a total of five visits, it had been a pretty grand year for tasting their beers, especially
their seasonal "ontap only" specials.  I felt privileged to be part of their brewing scene for 2010 - Now, what lies ahead for the 2011 Royal visits?!
Pumpkin Ale on the left and Christmas Ale
        on the right - What a combo!
Have I mentioned it doesn't get any better??!!
Not to overdo it, but a final shot of the magnificent Pumpkin Ale.