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Great Lakes is not known for big, hoppy brews. But if they keep pumping out gems like Alchemy Hour, that could change.
The extra hops are evident early in the aroma with overflowing grapefruit and sweet citrus. The citrus hops hit first, but the pine comes in at the end. Sweet malt and citrus balance with bitter hops brilliantly. With a combination of Mosaic, Nugget, and Cascade hops, I’ve never had a beer quite like this. At 80 IBUs and 9.4% ABV, this is quite a hefty beer, but it should be.
Another outstanding offering from Great Lakes
I like that Rye malt is a growing trend in craft beer. Here is the very cleverly named Rye of the Tiger from Great Lakes.
I expected the color to be more red, but this is a faint orange. Viscous head won’t let go of the glass. Spicy hops present in the aroma. Don’t be mislead by the Rye in the name, this is a full on IPA. And wow does this tiger attack. Clocking in at 92 IBUs, this is hugely bitter. That’s a full 12 IBUs more than Great Lakes’ new DIPA (which I will be getting to soon). The rye is there if you search for it, but this is all about the hops. It’s very interesting coming from Great Lakes. Don’t get me wrong, I love Great Lakes, but most of their beers are not this aggressively hopped.
Hop heads will delight
November 2, 2012—CLEVELAND, OHIO—Great Lakes Brewing Company (GLBC) will add two new members to their exceptional family of beers in 2013. Alchemy Hour Double IPA and Rye of the Tiger IPA will satisfy hopheads and adventurous craft beer enthusiasts with bold but balanced flavor profiles.
Alchemy Hour Double IPA:
Style: Double India Pale Ale
First Available: February
Packaging: 4-Pack, Draft
ABV: 9.4% ABW: 7.5% IBU: 80
Flavor: Hop-forward with a balanced blend of Mosaic and Nugget hops.
Name Origin: On the West Coast, surfers have a term for that perfect time of day, when the waves are breaking just right and it feels like you can ride forever. They call it Alchemy Hour. Alchemy Hour Double IPA pays tribute to the North Coast’s unlikely surf bums and the ancient quest for liquid gold, wherever it may live: on the ocean, in a lake, in a bottle.
Rye of the Tiger IPA:
Style: India Pale Ale
First Available: April
Packaging: 6-Pack, 12-Pack, Draft
ABV: 7.5% ABW: 6.0% IBU: 92
Flavor: Strong citrus and pine presence with a clean, dry finish.
Name Origin: Named for its fierce hop profile and sharp rye content, Rye of the Tiger is a thrilling India Pale Ale with bite. If you can handle this hopped-up cat, you’ve earned your stripes.
Great Lakes Brewing Company’s 2013 Seasonal Program:
January—Conway’s Irish Ale
February—Alchemy Hour Double IPA
April—Rye of the Tiger IPA
May—Lake Erie Monster Imperial IPA
June—The Wright Pils
August—Nosferatu Imperial Red Ale
I am very interested in the Rye of the Tiger. Christmas Ale is a yearly treat. And I still haven’t found an Oktoberfest that’s better.
Great Lakes is really the company that got me interested in craft beer and remains my favorite. And it’s no surprise to me that they won some major awards at the 2012 World Beer Championships. From their website:
January 23, 2012—CLEVELAND, OHIO—Great Lakes Brewing Company (GLBC), Ohio’s most celebrated craft brewer of award-winning lagers and ales, announces that its Blackout Stout, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter and Christmas Ale scored medals in their individual categories at the 2012 World Beer Championships conducted by the Beverage Testing Institute of Chicago. Blackout Stout, a seasonal, scored 94 Points for a rating of “Exceptional” and a gold medal in its category “Imperial Stout”. Edmund Fitzgerald, available year-round, scored 93 Points for a rating of “Exceptional” and a gold medal in its category “Porter”. Christmas Ale, a seasonal favorite, scored 89 Points for a rating of “Highly Recommended” and a silver medal in the “Winter Ale” category (click on the “Points” for judging remarks).
Since GLBC’s inception in 1988, these three beers have garnered 16 gold medals collectively at the World Beer Championships, with Edmund Fitzgerald Porter achieving “World Champion” status twice. The World Beer Championships are considered one of the top beer judging events in the craft beer industry.
I remember the Blackout of 2003 this beer is named after. I was in college at the time, came home to find my roommates freaking out that power not only across the town, but across the state and even across part of the country was out. A couple of them in particular were thinking it was another terrorist attack, since it wasn’t even two full years since 9/11. I figured it was no big deal. Guess who was right.
Great Lakes Blackout Stout has an intoxicating aroma. Full of chocolate, toffee, and coffee. And the color is exactly what you expect. Dark fruits push through the roasted malt and bittersweet chocolate. Creamy texture and a simultaneously sweet and bitter finish. 9% ABV adds a pleasing warmth but not much kick.
This is a little tamer than Imperial Stouts from Stone, Hoppin’ Frog, or North Coast, but it still has tons of flavor and great balance.
Another outstanding brew from Great Lakes. Perhaps I’m biased, but I really think they are one of the best overall breweries out there.
I know it’s a bit late in the season for a doppelbock, but how can you go wrong with A) a doppelbock and 2) anything from Great Lakes?
Great Lakes The Doppelrock is a very exciting beer for me. One of my favorite styles from one of my favorite breweries. It starts like a doppelbock should, dark brown color and a big creamy head. The nose is basically just dark, sweet malt, but it’s huge.
Lots of dark sweet malt in the flavor, along with nuttiness and bittersweet chocolate. Almost no hop presence, but that’s fine with this style. A little bit of wood and alcohol warmth. Bit of a sweet and dry finish. And a very late sour hit.
This is one of those that’s great to drink or to sip and savor. Overall, an excellent beer. Very good example of the style.
Fantastic news for Midwest beer fans, Great Lakes Brewing Company has announced they will be tapping the exquisite Christmas Ale in October! They’ll even start selling growlers and 6 packs starting October 31st.
There is no beer I look more forward to than Christmas Ale. It’s one you need to stock up on when/if you can find it.
Fall, to me, might provide the greatest selection of any seasonal beers. With the pumpkin ales, more stouts, and, of course, the ubiquitous fall Marzen/Oktoberfests.
Great Lakes Oktoberfest features a clear copper with an aggressive head with a cascading stream of tightly carbonated bubbles flowing to the top. The smell is full and malty with some pepper and spice in the background. The beer itself is very full and crisp. A subtle kick from the spicy hops cuts through the caramel malt and a distinct earthiness. One of the most complex Oktoberfests you’ll find. Some lean toward a watery body, but not this one!
More aggressive and complex than most others of the style, I think it’s delightful.
*Side note, I am starting to get a lot of spam comments. So if you do comment, and I’d love if you do, please make a reference to the beer. Cheers!
Great Lakes Commodore Perry IPA. Hazy orange with hops and fruit in the nose. The first thing I notice in the taste is some malt but the hops certainly make their entrance known with a fruity finish. The aftertaste is lingering bitterness and peach. Pretty dry, too. Hops are quite big, but not so much as to make it undrinkable. I’ve had more aggressive and less aggressive IPAs. I like that there is some complexity other than a hop bludgeoning and nothing else.
True IPA freaks may not like this as much as I do, but I think it’s quite nice. Not a huge ABV at 6%, but it’ll get you where you want to be for sure! And who is Commodore Perry, you ask? A War of 1812 naval hero who utter the famous phrase “Don’t give up the ship!” Or as Great Lakes has tweaked it, “Don’t give up the sip!”
If I had to pick out one brewery that really got me into craft beers, and one that I compare all other breweries to, it’s Great Lakes. Maybe it’s because it’s the only craft brewery readily available around here. Maybe it’s because their sampler introduced me to both porters and IPAs. I will always have a soft spot in my heart and Great Lakes.
Conway’s Irish Ale is another winner! Crisp dark orange color with a tight white head. There’s nothing overpowering in this, and that’s why I like it. It just tastes good! If you really want to search for flavors, you’ll get some bread, a little bit of roast, maybe a hint of apple (but not sour) at the end with a dry finish. It’s one of those I don’t really want to get too technical on in the review other than to say “Try it. You’ll like it.” Give me a 6 (or 12) of this on March 17th. I’ll leave the green stuff alone!