Great Lakes

GREAT LAKES BREWING COMPANY

On September 6, 1988 Great Lakes Brewing Company was founded in Cleveland, Ohio by brothers Patrick and Daniel Conway.  Some of their earlier beers include Dortmunder Gold and Eliot Ness, which are still considered some of their most popular beers. Their philosophy is to use only the freshest ingredients and avoiding preservatives, synthetic chemicals and pasteurization.  Great Lakes produces year-rounds as well as seasonals.

www.greatlakesbrewing.com

Year-Round/Seasonals:

ALBERTA CLIPPER: 97 Points

Excellent use of raspberries

Excellent use of raspberries

This beer is released in the Winter in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “A Winter Porter made with Belgian Chocolate and Raspberries.”

My Description: This is a beautifully crafted porter and perfect for the season. It begins with a good sized, beige colored head with a good retention level that leaves behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma smells rich with notes of chocolate, subdued roasted malts, and raspberries that smell fresh and not that artificial crap. Alberta Clipper is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile tastes delicious. Tasty raspberry notes blend smoothly with the rest of the beer, which include notes of chocolate, roasted malt, and a hint of char. The aftertaste is slightly bitter bringing great balance and drinkability. The alcohol is beautifully hidden and I’m impressed at how clean this beer is. Elegant is the adjective that comes to mind when drinking this beauty. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with roasted lamb, dark chocolate, or rich cheeses.

ABV: 7.8%  Color: Deep Mahogany  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 2.5/10

BLACKOUT STOUT: 95 Points

Enter Darkness

Enter Darkness

This Russian Imperial Stout is released in November in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Bold and dark as a power-less metropolis, our Russian Imperial Stout commemorates the infamous 2003 blackout that briefly left some 55 million people utterly unplugged.”

My Description: I can see myself going to this beer when the power goes out. It begins with a decent sized, dark beige colored head that leaves a ring the whole way with some spotty lacing. The aroma is welcoming with notes of roasted malt, chocolate, a touch of caramel malt, and faint dark berry notes. Blackout Stout is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile follows the nose nicely with notes of roasted malts, semi-dark chocolate, a touch of alcohol, and faint vanilla notes. Some earthy hops can be detected but are definitely subtle. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with lingering dark fruit notes. This is nicely crafted Imperial Stout with a complex flavor profile that blends cleanly. The body is softer than other representations of the style but it is not incorrect, more of a brewer’s preference. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with grilled steaks, chocolate desserts, or baked ham.

ABV: 9%  Color: Black  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 3.5/10

BURNING RIVER: 93 Points

Let it Burn

This beer was named after the Cuyahoga River caught on fire in 1969. Available year-round in 12 oz. bottles, this American Pale Ale has an IBU of 45 and a shelf life of 90 days.

Brewer’s Description: “An assertively hopped American pale ale with citrusy and piney Cascade hops.”

My Description: “Assertively hopped” is a great description of what this beer tastes like. However, they forgot to mention how crisp, smooth, and delicious this beer is. It starts with a strong and dense, light tan colored head that lasts the whole way producing a good amount of lacing. The aroma is a welcoming blast of citrus hops accompanied by some grain notes and a touch of woodsy hops. It is roughly medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. It is slightly malty upfront with notes of citrus and piney hops, which quickly transitions into a moderately bitter aftertaste that is not harsh at all. The alcohol is completely hidden, which is the cherry on top. This well done brew is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with buffalo wings, wood grilled salmon, or a sweet dessert.

ABV: 6%  Color: Light Copper  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 5.5/10

CHILLWAVE DOUBLE IPA: 99 Points

Mosaic Bliss

Mosaic Bliss

This Imperial IPA is released seasonally in March in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Inspired by the North Coast’s dedicated (and sometimes chilly) surf community, our Double IPA will melt the ice in your beard and never lose its balance. Earthy, tropical Mosaic hops ride frontside here, followed by a deft cutback of sweet honey malt.”

My Description: This beer is strong but the flavors are delicate and overall Chillwave is bright and very easy drinking. It begins with a decent sized, white colored head that fades to a film that holds the whole way leaving some spotty lacing. The aroma is welcoming with big time Mosaic hop notes. Fresh floral notes combine with hints of citrus and grapefruit along with some pale malt notes. Chillwave is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is delicious, juicy, and balanced beautifully. A hint of honey sweetness and pale malt notes are present but give way quickly to the hop flavors. Soft floral notes blend cleanly with tropical notes and grapefruit notes. This transitions smoothly into an aftertaste that is moderately bitter with lingering tropical hop notes. Great Lakes has created an extremely flavorful IIPA. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled lamb chops, cheesecake, or a heavy salad.

ABV: 9.4%  Color: Golden/Orange  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 5/10

CHRISTMAS ALE: 92 Points

It’s a ginger Christmas

This Holiday Ale is released between November and December in 12 oz. bottles. It has a shelf life of 126 days.

Brewer’s Description: “A holiday ale brewed with honey and spiced with fresh ginger and cinnamon.”

My Description: Christmas is a great time for beer drinkers because of all the spices and warmth added to the beverage. Not all are worth drinking, but this one is definitely worth popping open on that cold night. It has a good sized, off-white colored head that lasts for a few minutes but then fades away leaving a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is sweet and intriguing with notes of ginger, toasted malts, honey, and a touch of alcohol. It is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level, and a semi-dry finish. The flavors in this beer include a complex array of spices such as ginger, cinnamon, and maybe nutmeg among others. It is slightly sweet upfront with a delicious toasted malt flavor accompanied by a hint of alcohol. The aftertaste is slightly bitter bringing balance to taste. I didn’t pick up on much honey like I did in the aroma but it still contributed to the sweetness. It is best served around 55°F and pairs nicely with baked ham, roasted turkey, or grilled lamb chops.

ABV: 7.5%  Color: Copper  Sweetness: 3.5/10  Bitterness: 2.5/10

COMMODORE PERRY: 90 Points

A bitter Commodore? Surprising!

This beer is named after the naval officer who battled the British enemy on Lake Erie in the war of 1812. This IPA is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles with an IBU of 70 and a shelf life of 90 days.

Brewer’s Description: “A medium-bodied and well hopped India pale ale with a dry, fruity finish.”

My Description: This beer seemed to get better as it sat in the glass for several minutes; this has nothing to do with the temperature of the beer but the aeration. Therefore I suggest letting it aerate before sipping to give yourself the most enjoyable experience. It has a good sized, off-white colored head that lasted a long time and produced a great amount of lacing. The aroma is a slightly complex mixture of piney hops, grapefruit hops, and a hint of sweetness from the malt. The beer is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. This beer has a sudden hit of sweet malt upfront that quickly transitions into a moderately bitter aftertaste that is bursting with grapefruit hop flavors. The alcohol can be detected from time to time, but it doesn’t deter from the overall smoothness of the beer. I felt as if there was a slight hint of something herbal, like lemon verbena in the beer as well. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with blue cheese, rib-eyes, or Andouille Sausage.

ABV: 7.5%  Color: Golden/Orange  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 5.5/10

DORTMUNDER GOLD: 96 Points

The Gold Standard

This Dortmund Export style lager is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles with a shelf life of 110 days.

Brewer’s Description: “A  smooth lager that strikes a delicate balance between sweet malt and dry hop flavors.”

My Description: This deserves to be in the elite class of beers; it is spot on with the traditional German style, it is deliciously balanced, and the quality makes this beer highly memorable. It has a big and dense, off-white colored head that lasts forever producing a good amount of lacing along the way. The aroma is pleasant and mild with notes of grains, woodsy hops, and earthy hops. It is medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a crisp finish. Upfront, there is this tasty malt, almost toasted bread like flavor that lingers well into the aftertaste. The bitterness is not harsh, but subtle with flavors of woodsy hops. There is absolutely no alcohol presence in the flavor profile and the overall experience makes one beg for a second bottle. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with cedar plank chicken, grilled fish, or bratwursts.

ABV: 5.8%  Color: Copper/Gold  Sweetness: 3/10  Bitterness: 2.5/10

EDMUND FITZGERALD: 96 Points

Edmund Fitzgerald

This porter is named after the legendary ship that sank in Lake Superior in 1975.  It has an IBU of 37 and a shelf life of 180 days.  It is available year-round in 12 oz. six packs and on draft.

Brewer’s Description:  “A complex, roasty porter with a bittersweet, chocolate-coffee taste and bold hop presence.”

My Description:  This is a damn good porter that makes you want to keep drinking.  This starts off with a very beautiful beige head that is foamy and dense.  The head lingers for some time producing soft laces that add artwork to your glass.  The aroma has a prominent roasted coffee scent that is accompanied by dark chocolate notes that puts you in a state of suspense.  As soon as you taste this beer you will notice how smooth and crisp the texture is and how refreshing the flavors are.  The body is not heavy but more on the medium side with absolutely no alcohol taste to ruin the beautiful and welcoming chocolate and coffee notes you first encounter.  The aftertaste has a very nice and strong roasted coffee flavor that is slightly bitter.  The hops are blended perfectly in the aftertaste to create a porter that is enjoyable and satisfying. Do not base your opinion on whether or not you like porters until after you drink this because this is easily one of the best porters I’ve ever tried.

ABV: 5.8%  Color: Black  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 5.5/10

ELIOT NESS: 84 POINTS

“Untouchable, like Eliot Ness”

This is an amber lager that is available year-round and has a 100 day shelf life. This beer uses Hallertau hops which gives it an IBU of 27. Available in 12 oz. six packs.

Brewer’s Description:  “Rich, fragrant malt flavors balanced by crisp noble hops.”

My Description:  A lager should be crisp, refreshing, and easy drinking. Great Lakes accomplishes these guidelines and then spins off to produce their own version of an amber lager, which ends in a beer that is good but not special.  The head is pretty thin and off-white to light beige in color that leaves little to no lacing.  The aroma has sweet notes to it with a minor hop presence.  When you first taste this beer, you will taste the malt with a minor caramel note in the beginning which gives way to a more hoppy aftertaste that lingers for a bit.  The beer is medium bodied that is crisp, smooth, and has a nice finish.  This is a good everyday beer.

ABV: 6.2%  Color: Amber  Sweetness: 4/10  Bitterness: 5/10

HOLY MOSES: 89 Points

Holy Moses White Ale

This is a Belgian Wit (White) ale that is available seasonally between April and May. This beer is named after the founder of Cleveland, Moses Cleaveland.  It has a shelf life of 180 days and is available in 12 oz. bottles or on draft.

Brewer’s Description:  Cloudy appearance. Spiced with orange peel, chamomile and coriander.

My Description:  This ale produces a head about 1 inch thick that is dense, foamy, and off white in color.  It also has great retentive qualities and it leaves laces that are really nice and stick around the whole way.  You will notice a slightly complex aroma with notes of citrus and coriander with some spice and clove scents as well.  Initially, you will notice that it is medium bodied but it tastes full and heavy.  It tastes fresh and well made with flavor notes of coriander, some spice, and oranges.  The aftertaste is mild and enjoyable with a taste of chamomile mixed in with some orange. I would pair this with seafood, salads, or a light stir-fry.

ABV: 5.4%  Color: Hazy Gold  Sweetness: 3/10  Bitterness: 1.5/10

LAKE ERIE MONSTER: 95 Points

Raaarrrrrrr

Raaarrrrrrr

This Imperial IPA has 80 IBU‘s and is released seasonally in the month of May in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “An Imperial IPA with huge hop flavor.”

My Description: This brew is delicious and the alcohol is so nicely hidden that it’ll get you seeing lake monsters in no time. It begins with a large, white colored head that lasts forever and leaves behind a beautiful amount of lacing. The aroma is a huge hop blast of citrus and woodsy hops that is very inviting. This beer is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is real nice with a tasty malt backbone that supports a dominating woodsy hop note. There are also grapefruit hop notes and a touch of citrus hops. The aftertaste is moderately bitter but not harsh. This beer becomes addicting so watch out. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled pork chops, aged Gouda, or dark chocolate.

ABV: 9.1%  Color: Golden/Orange  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 6.5/10

NOSFERATU: 90 Points

Bloody Red Color

Bloody Red Color

This Imperial Red Ale/ American Strong is released every September in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Highly hopped imperial red ale rich with flavor, yet remarkably balanced.”

My Description: An excellent body and slightly warming presence makes this a worthy beer for Autumn. It pours a good sized, light beige colored head that is fluffy and hangs around for some time leaving a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is on the sweet side with strong caramel notes along with some pine hops and grain notes. Nosferatu is medium/full bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The body is real smooth and the alcohol is beautifully hidden making this Imperial easy drinking. The flavor profile is nicely balanced with sweet notes standing out upfront with a clean lingering bitter taste. A big caramel malt backbone holds up notes of toffee, citrus hops, and some pine hop notes as well. This ale is also slightly earthy and the flavors become more pronounced as the beer warms. This is a great beer for the season. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with roasted potatoes, grilled steak, or soft cheeses.

ABV: 8% Color: Reddish/Amber Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 3.5/10

OHIO CITY: 85 Points

Rather Bland

Rather Bland

This Oatmeal Stout is released in the Winter in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Dark and roasty yet light and smooth as a fresh coat of snow, our Oatmeal Stout will kick your cabin fever and inspire you to toss another log on the fire.”

My Description: This beer makes for a great session beer when craving a stout-like beer. It begins with a good sized, dark beige colored head that fades to a ring that holds the whole way leaving behind some lacing. The aroma is pleasant enough with notes of roasted malts, milk chocolate, and some coffee. Ohio City is light/medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is on the softer side with faint notes of chocolate, roasted notes, and a touch of sweetness. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with lingering hints of caramel. Overall, this is a fine representation of the style but it is lacking in the flavor department. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with grilled steak, BBQ pork sliders, or chocolate desserts.

ABV: 5.4%  Color: Dark Brown/Black  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 3/10

OKTOBERFEST: 98 Points

Cheers!

Cheers!

This Oktoberfest/Märzen is released seasonally in Autumn in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “An amber lager with rich malt flavor balanced by fragrant noble hops.”

My Description: This is a magnificent example of a German Oktoberfest beer. It is delicious, very smooth, and artfully crafted. It begins with a decent, off-white colored with a weak retention level that fades quick to a film leaving behind a minimal amount of lacing. The aroma is malty and earthy with subtle toffee/caramel notes; it smells inviting and clean. Oktoberfest is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is also extremely clean with vibrant notes. A malty body delivers notes of caramel malt and some sweetness but it isn’t too cloying because there is enough hop bitterness to give this beer an excellent balance. Hop spice undertones and hints of grain intertwine with the rest of the flavors delivering a memorable drinking experience. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with spicy beef stew, grille sausage, or pork sliders.

ABV: 6.5%  Color: Amber/Orange  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 2.5/10

RYE OF THE TIGER: 94 Points

I must drink you!

I must drink you!

This IPA is released seasonally in the Spring in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Our Rye of the Tiger has claws. Named for its fierce hop profile and sharp rye content, Rye of the Tiger is a thrilling India Pale Ale with bite. Rye of the Tiger is crafted for the fighter in all of us, a powerful beer meant to inspire feats of strength and skill. At 7.5%, mind those catlike reflexes if your bout goes into extra rounds. If you can handle this hopped-up kitty, you’ve earned your stripes.”

My Description: This is very bitter beer but it doesn’t hide the other flavors, in fact it is the perfect finish to this ale. It begins with a good sized, white colored head with an excellent retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind a good amount of lacing. The aroma is welcoming and it smells fresh with notes of rye, fruity hops, and a hint of tropical hops. Rye of the Tiger is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is clean and delicious with all notes working smoothly together. A noticeable rye spice and breadiness sets the foundation with bold citrus hops coming through. Some sweet malt notes add character along with some earthiness. Overall this beer has excellent balance. The alcohol is beautifully hidden and the aftertaste is moderately high in bitterness. This beauty is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with fried chicken, spicy fish tacos, or jerk seasoned dishes.

ABV: 7.5%  Color: Orange/Amber  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 7/10

SHARPSHOOTER: 88 Points

Hit's the target

Hit’s the target

This session IPA is released seasonally in early Summer in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Inspired by Ohio’s “little sure shot” Annie Oakley, our Session Wheat IPA is peppered with rounds of whole orange peel and fully loaded with Jarrylo hops.”

My Description: A slightly different approach to a Session IPA, this beer delivers in flavor and body despite its low ABV. It begins with a good sized, white colored head with an excellent retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind a great amount of lacing. The aroma is clean and inviting with notes of wheat malt, crackers, herbal hops, and an overall citrus presence. Sharpshooter is light/medium bodied with a slightly higher carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is refreshing and enjoyable. Earthy undertones set the foundation holding up notes citrus, wheat malt, herbal hops, and touch of spice. The aftertaste is moderately bitter and satisfying. This is an easy drinking beer with a good amount of flavor for a small beer. I like the wheat addition to this Session IPA. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with seared scallops, salads, or grilled asparagus.

ABV: 4.8%  Color: Hazy Gold  Sweetness: 1.5/10  Bitterness: 3.5/10

SPACEWALKER: 89 Points

For the Astronauts

For the Astronauts

This Belgian IPA is released seasonally in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Spacewalker American Belgo is named for the surprising number of astronauts who have called Ohio home. Brewed with Belgian yeast and American hops, including the experimental ADHA 881 hop, Spacewalker is bold yet balanced with spicy, fruity flavors.”

My Description: Congratulations to Ohio for producing a vast amount of astronauts, but you’re college football teams still suck. It begins with a large, white colored head with an excellent retention level and it leaves behind a great amount of lacing. The aroma is interesting and complex with a funky backbone with notes of yeast spices, some herbal hints, and light fruit notes like pears. Spacewalker is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile follows the nose nicely with a pale malt body holding up notes of cloves, citrus hops, and a touch of sweetness. Some floral characters adds complexity and the aftertaste is moderately bitter making this beer easy drinking. The alcohol here is beautifully hidden but felt after one bottle. I love the body of this beer with just the right amount of carbonation and bitterness but I felt that the flavors could have been more in harmony. Never-the-less, this beer is great and best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled shrimp, Thai noodles, or Blue Cheese.

ABV: 8.2%  Color: Hazy Orange  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 5/10

TURNTABLE PILS: 85 Points

Wika Wika

Wika Wika

This Czeck Style Pilsner is released in the Spring months in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Flip that record and wax nostalgic about Ohio’s deep-cut music legacy with our refreshing pilsner. Consider this our reissue of a classic style.

My Description: This beer tastes good but it doesn’t to blend as cleanly as it should; the flavors seems to battle rather than work together. It begins with a large, white colored head that lasts forever leaving behind a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is pleasant with an overall sweet note accompanied by notes of floral hops, pale malts, grass, and earthy notes. Turntable Pils is light/medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The beer feels light and airy, a nice texture for Summer. The flavor profile shows notes of sweet grains, pale malts, grass, earthy hops, and bread. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with lingering hop spice notes. Overall, it could have been executed better, but it still makes for a good drink. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with just about anything.

ABV: 5.3%  Color: Yellow Gold  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 3.5/10