Great Lakes consistently puts out clean, accessible, iconic offerings and has traditionally shied away from gimmicky adjunct bullshit or needlessly hyped releases with intentionally low bottle count releases. It truly is a gem for the average person in Ohio and exists as a core of beer stability much in the way New Glarus buttresses the drunken population of Wisconsin.
So fuck it, let’s review some of their shelfies today, for old times sake, shits and gigs, keep things accessible so everyone gets an at bat.
High striker single
Belgian single ale
I love that Great Lakes picks up the crest and Bears the standard for styles that may not get the love that they deserve. Their DORTMUNDER is a fucking awesome example, as is Eliott Ness. This is one such example. I can’t name a ton of breweries kicking out low abv, sessionable belgian ales. Most of the time it’s the same tired ass riffs on a california ale strain, maximizing profits ad infinitum.
This is clean and crisp with a grassy bitterness to the nose like cut cucumber. There’s some melon and banana esters but it seems excessively bitter for them singles I enjoy. The taste comes across like something between a lightly hopped belgian pale or an over hopped table beer like Avril. It is crushable and highly tasty, a welcome entry that punches up their catalog considerably.
This is a god damn beautiful beer and unsurpsingly falls squarely into their wheelhouse. Clean biscuity maltiness lends a touch of honey cornbread and subtle saaz hops on the nose. The taste is clean and intensely crushable and puts the deficient lager market right in their place with crisp apple, brioche and ritz cracker sweetness. It is exceptional in its unremarkable execution, like MRI studies.
Continuing to shit on the Coors and Inbev counterparts this beer drops a tikka masala deuce directly on the chests of blue moon and that Wedgehead dipshit. It is restrained in the use of spice and has a frothy expansive creaminess to the mouthfeel that is deceptively svelte on the swallow. I don’t know how big or small the brew system is at Great Lakes but they co-opt the “simple” styles offered by so many macro and mediocre breweries and just executed them in such a phenomenal way. The clove and banana to the palate is a haymaker of yeasty goodness that only a factory worker at the Monistat factory could challenge.
This style seems like an inherently stupid rebranded pale ale gimmick, but if I wanted to trust any brewery to do a low abv clean session beer, GLBC would be at the top of the list right next to Live Oak. The pour looks like shit with a deep caramel malt burnt orange and almost amber aspect to it, so my expectations were tapered. The flavor profile opts for a watery resin and deciduous conifer aspect that isn’t really refreshing or sessionable. I mean, it is fine, but compared to the Lagunitas and Ponto entries, this is pretty lacking. I would pass on this phoned in entry for other superior offerings.
Burning River Pale Ale
This takes everything that I wanted from the prior boring tick and refined them to superior delicious integers. They shouldn’t even bother making a session ipa when their regular ass pale is this good. This seems to underscore my point about how dipshit breweries skimp on malts and craft unbalanced pales and label them SIPAs when lower abv and malt doesn’t a session beer make. This has nice tangelo, clementines, cut melon, and honeydew. The taste is maltier but still not some Michigan bomb of honey and dextrose. I wouldn’t seek this out actively but certainly a welcome extra from the flyover populations.
There you go. Economical reviews, five for one. I could have been a selfish prick and posted these trifling reviews individually to artificially drive up traffic and user engagement but I haven’t gotten an offer to write for the drunkspin Concourse yet. SOMEDAY.