2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: Great Lakes Brewing Company, Cleveland, OH (July 7th, Brewery Stop #29) (recovered post) The 29th brewery visited during our cross-country beer discovery tour (click to read about the whole trip) was Great Lakes Brewing Company in Cleveland Ohio. We did a considerable amount of driving after leaving Boston the day prior stopping at Rochester NY. We continued through NY state up to Niagra Falls and then made our way west along Lake Erie to Cleveland where we stopped for lunch at the Great Lakes Brewing Company.
Their production facility is quite large, located across the street from the restaurant/taproom and we were able to find parking in that lot. Lots of semi-trucks and loading docks speak to the amount of distribution they do. I’ve had their beers in the mid-west, but not quite to the west coast yet. You’ll find that during the summer months, they have a lot of people eating at the restaurant/patio that takes up almost the entire front of the block. We decided not to wait for a table there and went inside and were pleasantly surprised to find a table available shortly after walking around.
They have a couple of different dining areas and a larger separate swag room that has TONS of stuff with their logo/branding on it. I did purchase a few things as their design is pretty clean and I didn’t mind their beers. If you wander downstairs, you’ll see that they have not done a lot of renovation to the building, which is from the 1800’s. They have a lot of historical stuff on the walls and throughout the building, so make sure you spend a little time walking around when you can.
We ordered a few things to eat, the sausage plate I had was exceptional. We did order a full line up of tasters which came after a bit of a wait. This was due to the sheer number of people in the bar area that caused a slight delay in getting our drinks. I’m glad that the beers came before the food so I had a chance to sample without the spicy mustards on my tongue. The reviews go from back to front, left to right below and you’ll find that almost all of the beers reviewed are distributed in bottles.
Out of the 11 beers on draft, the range of styles was somewhat limited to Ales/IPAs, and Porters. They followed they east coast approach to their hop utilization in their IPAs, and the overall take-away is that they have fine-tuned their recipes and know what they are doing. My favorite of them was the Alberta Clipper Porter. It had a lot of strong roasted notes, and a smooth approach. So, if you’re ever in Cleveland, stop by and give them a try if you’re looking for a good IPA or some decent house made sausages.
Great Lakes Brewing Company
2516 Market Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44113
|Lake Erie Monster
Great Lakes Brewing Co • American Double / Imperial IPA • IBU: 80 • ABV: 9.1% • SRM: 20 • OG: N/A
Pours a darker orange hue, with a bright white head with larger bubbles that dropped quickly. Some minimal lacing occured. Aromatics are sour and dried fruits. The front mouth feel is strong, coating the tongue with a LOT of tropical and yeasty funk like characteristics. The overall mouthfeel is smooth, medium bodied, strong ripe to rotted fruits from the hops on the back that linger.
|Sharpshooter Session Wheat IPA
Great Lakes Brewing Co • American Pale Wheat Ale • IBU: 40 • ABV: 4.8% • SRM: 8 • OG: N/A
Slight hazy straw yellow colored daft, minimal white head that fell to a sheen quickly. The nose is that of orange oils and slight pithiness to black pepper. The front to mid mouth has a decent amount of fruit (pears?) with a bit of orange peel and spice, similar to a witbier without the yeast funk. The medium-bodied beer does end with a slight dry note and washes down clean.
|High Striker Single
Great Lakes Brewing Co • Belgian Pale Ale • IBU: 20 • ABV: 4.8% • SRM: 6 • OG: N/A
Clear bright yellow hue, clingy white foamy head with decent retention. Nose is a bit of yeasty musk/earth and some fresh hop cone resin. The front mouth is tropical fruit forward, slightly dry, lingers into the mid which is fresh cut grassy hops. The yeast speaks more to the mid-back than front with some showing up with hints of funk and bitterness.
Great Lakes Brewing Co • American Amber / Red Ale • IBU: 45 • ABV: 6% • SRM: 8 • OG: N/A
Medium red-amber hue draft, with minimal head that dropped to a sheen quickly, some spidery lacing was left behind. The nose is yeasty to soapy with hits of hop resin bitterness. The front to mid mouth is malt forward with a strong dry hop resin showing up. The mid to back mouthfeel is solid, chewy, and almost funky from the yeast notes.
|Ales for ALS IPA
Great Lakes Brewing Co • India Pale Ale (IPA) • IBU: 40 • ABV: 7% • SRM: 16 • OG: N/A
Dark orange to brown draft with small to medium bubbly head that left some lacing on the rim. The nose is dried hops and acidic orange pith. The front to mid mouth is really hop forward with strong lingering resin bitterness. Some slight spice shows up (corriander) with the yeast on the mid to back, but is overpowered with the acidic hits on the front.
Great Lakes Brewing Co • Porter • IBU: 40 • ABV: 7.8% • SRM: 40 • OG: N/A
Dark black/brown draft, some clingy tan head on the rim but no retention at all. The nose has a range of burned cardboard to sweet bread. The front to mid mouth is a little bit thin, low carbonation, washes quickly over the pallet with strong burned sugars and fruit juice. The raspberry acidity really supports the mild hops and stronger cocoa-like malt build. Ends sharp and dry, with hits of fruit juice tang.
Great Lakes Brewing Co • Dortmunder/Helles • IBU: 30 • ABV: 5.8% • SRM: 4 • OG: N/A
Lighter golden hues, clear draft with a bright white fluffy head. Aromatics are subtle, sweet breads and dried leaves. The front mouth has a bit of stale dried hops against some sweet fresh bready malts. There are hits of herbal and grassy hops on the mid to back, with a thin body and flavor profile that drops off the back quickly.
Great Lakes Brewing Co • Amber Lager/Vienna • IBU: 27 • ABV: 6.1% • SRM: 18 • OG: N/A
Rose-amber hue, slight haziness, with little head that dropped off completely. The aromatics are mild sweet/wet malts and chewy bread. The front mouth is a bit thinner and oily than I’d like, but does have some flavors that show up on the mid to back with mild roasted grains lingering to a toffee like finish. This is a delicate beer, flavors are really subtle.
|Burning River Pale Ale
Great Lakes Brewing Co • American Pale Ale • IBU: 45 • ABV: 6% • SRM: 14 • OG: N/A
Golden orange pour with a minimal head that dropped to a sheen quickly. The aromatics are minimal, has some notes of caramel and toffee. Front mouth is stronger dry floral hops, dry leafs and some pine resin sit on top of a thin malt build that barely holds up to the overbaring hops. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, lower carbonation than it might need to help wash the strong hop profile down.
|Commodore Perry IPA
Great Lakes Brewing Co • English India Pale Ale (IPA) • IBU: 70 • ABV: 7.7% • SRM: 14 • OG: N/A
Bright golden/orange with some larger to medium bright white head that lingered through the sips and clinged all the way down. The nose is mild, hints of pine and brighter citrus oils show up. The front mouth is flowery (hops) and soft on the tongue with a solid chewy mid-bodied feel. The herbal to grassy/pine hops linger well past the sip. Overall a great east coast style IPA that hides the higher ABV behind the wall of hops.
|Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
Great Lakes Brewing Co • American Porter • IBU: 37 • ABV: 6% • SRM: 40 • OG: N/A
Dark brown/black draft with a solid clingy tan head with tons of retention. The nose is all burned day-old coffee with some sweet notes. The front to mid mouth are all coffee and burned sugars, the hops are slightly there with hints of pine and citrus on the mid. The mouthfeel is chewy and solid.