Great Lakes Brewery

Review: Great Lakes Conway’s Irish Ale (Bottle)

By Niko I (FF)

I was looking to give Great Lakes an opportunity to redeem themselves after the disappointing Eliot Ness, so I picked up their Irish Ale. I’m glad I did too, because this beer is pretty damn delicious. I call Great Lakes the masters of malt for a reason and this beer is no exception. Conway’s Irish is not particularly complex, but it delivers lots of toasty biscuit, caramel, honey, pretzel, and lightly roasted coffee flavors.

Score = 8.5/10

Review: Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale

By Niko I (FF)

Alright so I actually tried this beer a few days ago, but finally found some free time waiting in hunger for the Taste of Madison food festival to begin. We’ve already reviewed a few brews from the Cleveland Ohio based Great Lakes Brewery, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that these guys love their malt. It seems like every Great Lakes beer I try has tons of warm, delicious malt, regardless of the style. Now such consistency from beer to beer could get boring, but thankfully the malt is unique to each brew, and always serves to compliment, and add depth, not overpower. 

So on to their pale ale, which for once isn’t really their “flagship” beer (Dortmunder Gold Lager probably is). The aroma is hops and fruit, spice and malt. The mouthful is full and moderately creamy for an ale: malt, biscuit, hops, spice, cranberry, grapefruit. It doesn’t wow me at first, but the more I sipped this one the more I enjoyed it. Regardless, this is another solid brew from the people at Great Lakes. 

Niko I (FF) Score = 8.75/10

Review: Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter (Bottle)

By Niko I (FF)

Seeing as I’m leaving for Norway tomorrow, I thought tonight would be a nice chill night to finish off the beer collection that has deposited itself in my fridge. The last new beer before the trip thankfully is a great one: the Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. This is our second review from Great Lakes, the award winning Cleveland Ohio brewery, so for a brief look at their history check out the Dortmunder Gold review. 

The Edmund Fitzgerald Porter was actually named after the freighter ship, which frequented the great lakes area including many Cleveland ports. When it first launched in 1958, the boat was the largest to commute the great lakes. However, tragically in 1975 it sank in a storm, with the entire crew lost to the sea. In 1976, the ship was featured in Gordon Lightfoot’s hit song: The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Still, the exact causes of the disaster are unknown. In honor of the ship and the lives lost, Great Lakes aptly named their dark, mysterious porter the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Pouring a dark brown, almost black with a medium to small lacing that lasts the porter is certainly the dark enigma of the Great Lakes line up. The smell is almost all coffee, with some chocolate and hops. At just over 5% ABV I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of taste, but thankfully the Edmund Fitzgerald porter packs a large punch, with some of the best roasted coffee flavor I have ever had in a beer. There’s also a very nice combination of bitter and sweet chocolate, malt, caramel, toffee, and maybe it’s just getting way too late, but I thought I even detected a hint of banana. There’s not a lot of hops, but I kind of like that in a porter, as too much in combination with the dark espresso can often lead to a very dry bitter aftertaste. On the contrary, the Edmund Fitzgerald finishes warm and with a little cream. This is easily the smoothest porter I have ever had, and as the beer warmed the complimentary flavors really began to shine. I have to say this is my favorite porter we’ve reviewed so far, just edging out Founders. 

Niko I (FF) Score = 9.25/10