Great Lakes Brewing Co., Part 2

Max and I were grouchy on Monday.  For those of you who know us, this doesn’t sound important, because we’re usually grouchy.  But we both just had God awful days, and were therefore far more abrasive than usual.  So it was a good night for good beer.

We finished off the six pack Max’s delightful cousin had sent out from Ohio, and I, for one, would really appreciate it if he would send more (directly to me, please).  We were slightly more impressed with Part 1, but we wanted to give you a complete look at the Great Lakes Brewing Company, for any of you who were thinking you’d fly to the Midwest for your next night out.  So here you go!

Their IPA, Commodore Perry (different Commodore Perry) was decent.  Max is more of an IPA fan than myself, but we both agreed that this bottle was a bit unusual.  For one thing, it was orange, and more frothy like champagne than foamy like a beer should be.  However, it was also slightly less intense than your standard IPA, and less bitter.  So for those who want a decent intro IPA, this may be a good start (with a healthy 7.5% ABV).  I said it would be good with tacos.  Max said it would be good with another beer (again, he was REALLY grouchy).

Conway’s Irish Ale (whoever Conway was) got our lowest recommendation.  Didn’t taste like much, though I suppose if you favor alcohol content over taste, this might be OK (admittedly at 6.5% ABV, it isn’t the best choice).  It almost tasted like milk, with a little maple syrup in it.  I suggested it had an aftertaste of tangelos, but the grouchy one glared at me for that.  He also informed me that this bottle would go well with a better beer…so we went on to the one we had truly been looking forward to.

Both being big porter fans, we were most excited for the Edmund Fitzgerald (not a clue, so don’t ask).  It smelled divine…a lot like when your dad used to soak mesquite chips in the backyard.  However, when we sipped, we found it tasted like a flat Coca-Cola.  This actually wasn’t awful.  The beer was pretty good!  But the flavor notes in the background were very similar to what Coke would taste like if you took out all the sugar and most of the carbonation.  Maybe with a little oatmeal flavor towards the middle (I began suggesting other grains, but Max glared at me, so I stopped).  We decided it would go really well with brownies…that may have been because we were eating brownies.

Thus satiated, we both were able to depart in a better mood.  We were pretty fair in our ratings despite our case of the Mondays.

Commodore Perry:  6.5
Conway’s Irish Ale:  4.5
Edmund Fitzgerald: 7.8

A little bit of everything.  🙂

And we promise to be friendlier next time…right, Max?


Cleveland Rocks

So, tonight we got to experiment with a *real* local brewery that wasn’t local to us – Great Lakes Brewing Company, thanks to my cousin, Matt, who so graciously sent a case of GLBC’s fine brews [and I still owe him a case of Fat Tire. I haven’t forgotten, I promise!]. Great Lakes Brewing Co beers are brewed with care in Cleveland, Ohio

First, I popped the cap off of the Dortmunder,GLBC’s award-winning golden lager with a modest 5.8% ABV. As much as I hate to use the term, it rates quite high on my “drinkability” scale. There is something about the ratio of taste to body weight [of the beer] that makes it very smooth and easy to put several of these away. The flavor notes of a melon or peachy influence are light, and the body might be classified as medium-light. It goes down quite smoothly. The Dortmunder would go well paired with any sort of deli sandwich and could be enjoyed any time of year, warm or cold, inside or out.

Next up, the amber lager Eliot Ness, whose 6.2% still flies under the radar. Eliot Ness seemed to lack any real distinct, defining tastes and aromas that set it apart from any other American amber lagers. However, it was still quite pleasant; very similar to something like a standard Sam Adams brew, but with a slightly higher IBU, so you get a bit more of a kick to it. It poured smoothly, and went down similarly. We highly recommend a few of these when you catch a game at the bar with the guys and split some nachos. If Eliot Ness were available in SoCal, it would definitely be my go-to brew at the bar or restaurants.

Lastly, the aptly-named Burning River. This pale ale surprised us in its bitterness, but not in a bad way. Most pales rate low on the bitter scale, or perhaps at the end entirely. Burning River has a bit more to it than your traditional pale ale. It has some mild tastes of toasted rice [gen mai] , and some thyme-y overtones, and was all-in-all quite enjoyable. Burning River would go well with fried chicken, or perhaps a club sandwich of sorts. [Here’s some related light reading if you’re not familiar with the Cuyahoga River]

We rated all three Great Lakes brews highly –

Dortmunder – 9

Eliot Ness – 8.2

Burning River – 7.7

That’s about it for tonight. Gotta go grab a Double Double to silence my stomach. Until next time – CHEERS!

St. Patrick’s Day Special: Irish Style Red Ales

Some people like to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by heading to the local pub.  But Irvine is really short on pubs, and I prefer to avoid obnoxious drunk people whenever possible (I, of course, am never obnoxious when drunk – ask anyone).  So Max and I said, hey, let’s get some Irish beer to drink for Much A’brew!

We failed, kids.  Our BevMo had nothing but Guinness as far as the eye could see.  Now we both love Guinness, but let’s be honest, everyone has had it.  And I mean everyone.  I think 5 year olds drink it at birthday parties these days.  We were therefore forced to think slightly outside of the box (read: cruise the aisles at BevMo for 15 minutes), and finally decided on two “Irish style” red ales.  Close enough.

The first was a Rubicon Irish Style Red Ale, which we both decided was superior.  The beer was very cloudy (as theoretically captured by Max’s fancy new camera), and it smelled like a field of hops, but didn’t taste that way at all.  The taste was definitely floral, with grassy notes and an orange aftertaste.  Rubicon’s Irish Style Red Ale was medium bodied, 7% ABV, and I must say very tasty.  Max says it goes well with fish and chips, but we all know how culinarily unadventurous he is…I think it would go with just about anything.

Our second choice was Moylan’s Danny Irish Style Red Ale (apparently, calling it Danny’s makes it extra Irish).  Oddly enough, it tasted nothing like the first, which just goes to show you that you can’t always trust the label.  This ale was very sweet, and slightly metallic – it reminded me of pineapple juice.  A strong scent of malted barley went with the caramelized taste and hints of vanilla, all of which caused Max to deem it “too fruity”.  I didn’t mind it, but I think you’d have to pair this bottle with something spicy – maybe Mexican or Creole food.  Definitely nothing Irish.  The ABV was 6.5%, and it was a fairly light beer, which may have also contributed to our rather lower rating.  Still not terrible, though.

Finally, we had one English beer to taste – it was leftover from the Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes I was making.  Samuel Smith Old Brewery makes a “Celebrated Oatmeal Stout” that we enjoyed very much – we really haven’t met a stout we don’t enjoy.  It was light for a stout, but they were not kidding about the oatmeal – you can taste it!  Apparently theirs is the original oatmeal stout, and the imitators just don’t match up.  It was amazing how much much that grainy taste came through.  We both approved, though Max did comment that it looked either like molasses or motor oil.  Either way, very tasty with a hearty roast beef sandwich, or in this case, in chocolate cake batter.

Overall Ratings

The Celebrated Oatmeal Stout: 8

Irish Style Red Ale: 6

Danny Irish Style Red Ale: 6.5

Hope everyone else had a fun night and made it home safe – slainte!

Mind, Body, and Spirits


Somehow, you’ve managed to find yourself in the beginnings of what may or may not be a fruitful venture, but an interesting one, at least. What you find yourself amongst is 3 friends having a drink. We enjoy the company, we enjoy the conversation, and we enjoy the booze. We’ll try to share one or two of those things with you from each of our gatherings. If whatever we’re drinking turns out to be crap, maybe we’ll shed some light on some of the lovely conversation we have – who knows?

This is about as far as the plan goes, at this point. So, join us. Sit down. Have a drink. Let’s see where this goes…