Tonight we’re off to New Hampshire for a costume party. We’re lame-oes and we are going in pajamas. We’re highly against buying costumes so we normally make ours. This year we just didn’t have the time and energy to do it, so pajamas it is. While we’re getting our early Halloween on, Silvio will keep my loyal LIBA readers busy with a double review of a couple Great Lakes brews…
Being in Montana all last week made for great beer reviewing, but left me pretty fried from working long hours, traveling cross-country, and all the catch-up work that accumulates when you’re away for a while. My imperative for the weekend is to chill, preferably with a good beer buzz. I stopped by a local beer store and fortunately fond beers from Great Lakes Brewing Company, a Cleveland-based brewery. I’ve had these at bars, and loved them, but haven’t been able to properly review them until now!
First up is the Commodore Perry IPA, named after the American naval commander who fought a battle against British ships on Lake Erie in the War of 1812. The pour is very clear and light in color, reminiscent of a pilsner. Lots of carbonation and bubbles here, which creates a thick foam crown that hung around for a while. The aroma is really strong, with some skunky hop notes and a little citrus.
I’ve had this beer before, and think it boasts one of the most complex tastes of any IPA I’ve ever come across. It’s very strong and quite hoppy, but the hops are well-balanced with a creamy grapefruit flavor. Unlike California IPAs, which I usually favor, the hops are muted and not “stanky” or overly bitter. The aftertaste is pretty dry and a little bitter, but it winds up complimenting the flavor. For some reason, this beer always gets me buzzed right away and I usually taste the alcohol, so I was surprised to see it only has a 7.5% ABV – from the taste and result I expected closer to a 9 or 10% ABV.
After the Commodore, I needed to downshift a little bit because I was heading to dinner with Wifey and didn’t want to be hammered. I switched over to the Elliot Ness Amber Lager, named after the Untouchable who apparently was director of public safety in Cleveland before his Chicago gig. It poured a very dark amber color and nice foam crown with tons of carbonation. The aroma is very sweet, a bit indistinct, but I did get some honey and malt notes.
In terms of taste, this brew is a bit hard to figure out. The aroma’s sweetness doesn’t come through to the flavor, and I got a lot of toasted or roasted barley flavor. It’s not bitter at all, and has some nice malt tones. The one distinct flavor I picked up on was a bit of a metallic or iron taste. Pretty strange, because I’ve never tasted this in a beer before, but it winds up working overall. The aftertaste is a little bitter, and it lingers around for a while. Even though it tasted lighter than the IPA, it was almost as strong with a 6.2% ABV.
Overall, these are very good beers. Both had great lacing, and both made me burp a ton, which always is good for a juvenile laugh. I’m psyched I finally found a place that sells Great Lakes bottles, and definitely will pick up the Commodore Perry again. Don’t know if I’d buy the Elliot Ness again, but it’s worth trying for the unique metallic-toasted malt flavor.