***This is a reposting of an article I wrote last year, shortly before my yearly bounty of Great Lakes Christmas Ale appeared in my mailbox. This year, I have been slighted by my Ohio beer shop, who promised to have my package here last week – WHERE IS IT!? Each afternoon, I scurry to the mailbox like it was Xmas morning, hoping to see my Xmas passion. Nothing. This morning, I had to read back at what once was – and what hopes to show up today. Enjoy!***
I will go ahead and clear this up – I have an Ohio bias. I hail from the great Canton, OH region, home of football, wings and crappy beer.
But over time we have seen some good ones pop up. Hoppin Frog, out of Akron, OH, is probably the best critiqued in the beer world. Check out their RateBeer ratings here. We will rate them later, but as a teaser – get the BORIS (oatmeal imperial stout – theres a barrel-aged version too!).
And now to return to my favorite – Great Lakes. When I fall in love with a brewery, its for several reasons:
(1) beer quality
(2) list quality
(3) pub aura
(4) historical connection
(5) the crew of the brewery
Great Lakes Brewing excels here in all respects. Though they do not have the most amazing of beer reviews historically, they are typically respectable around the board. For instance, their stouts are damn good (Blackout is a 100), their porter is above average, their specialties (saison and 2x IPA especially) are appealing, and their normal rotation is very drinkable (my father is a Burning River Pale man).
But……its their Christmas Beer that remains fixated in your mid year round. Shockingly, this beer is not immortal in the beer nerd spectrum. It holds an 87 at RateBeer. But after a cursory review I am chalking that up to the 30-40% of reviewers who just said – “I dont like xmas beer.”
Curse you, and curse your palettes. Actually, I can understand that reaction to this beer. The beer holds an incredible smack you in the face aroma of X-mas packed into the bottle. Nutmeg, cinnamon, spice and ginger make you feel as if you are ten years old again, sipping hot cider with mittens on singing deck the halls in 12 feet of snow, below a 30 foot christmas tree, with 1000 wrapped goodies beneath. I love it.
But what is best about this release, is that Great Lakes Brewing has recognized the cult following and really made a bi-annual ritual out of it. In July, they do a “Christmas in July” promo at the brewery, where they tap a few kegs for a few days and Clevelanders black out in unconscious glee. Again in October, the begin the real seasonal release at the brewery with a one week tap-only period and then they begin distributing.
The brewpub at Great Lakes is amazing. They are located on West side of Cleveland, very close to downtown in the “Westside Market” area. As I remember, the Brewpub was the first non-smoking establishment in Cleveland and has always offered a full locally-produced food regimen. (Note: the sausages are amazing)
On top of the food and grog – the Brewery also offers tours and a hefty gift shop where you can pick up pub exclusives (im looking at you Lake Erie Monster, the 2x IPA) and other garb.
If you are stuck in the NW – or elsewhere outside the nether-regions of the Midwest (i dont blame you), you likely cannot get Great Lakes beer. Thats ok because there is a heck of a shop in Cleveland, that can help you out. Rozi’s Wine House carries an amazing selection of beers. They will ship to wherever. Call them up and make an order.
The luscious x-mas grog can be purchased at your local (Midwest only – damn) beer shop, up until about January 10. Do not wait, because at the rate I am moving now, I will have bought out all beer stores and it will be stored in my Seattle basement.
Written by Jess R.
A low key weekend began with a Dogfish Head Punkin Ale at Whisk(e)y Bar (my new favorite, local watering hole), several Firestone Walker Union Jack IPAs, a New Belgium/Elysian Trip III and several Fresh Hop beers (it was a rough week at work, ok). Other beer highlights include Port Brewing’s Old Viscosity, an imperial stout worth a moment of silence and a couple of tall boys of Rainier. And now for your week in beer.
Monday, October 11, 2010
” I Love New York” Beer Week Begins: New York, New York
All week @ the Spring Lounge
Start spreading the news, its All New York, all week, with beer from Brooklyn, Ommegang, Captain Lawrence, Ithaca Brewing Co., Greenport Harbor, Coney Island, Sixpoint, Southern Tier, and more. Check out www.beermenus.com for details on the special events this week.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Green Flash Night: Whittier, California
7:00PM-9:00PM @ The Bottle Room
Not only will all patrons receive discounts on beer, the first 36 guests will receive a complimentary Green Flash Brewing Co. pint glass with the purchase of a regularly priced draft (minus $1 for LA Beer Week). From there, bring your pint glass in and receive a $1 off Green Flash drafts until the kegs are kicked. Green Flash flights will be available–4-4 ounce pours for $11. Expect some special Green Flash beers not available elsewhere to the public.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Avery Rumpkin Release: Boulder, Colorado
6:00PM-9:00PM @ Avery Brewing Co.
AN IMPERIAL PUMPKIN ALE AGED IN RUM BARRELS. Stop by Avery Brewing Co. (where the magic happens) and experience the release of what sounds like am amazing, seasonal brew. Imperial Pumpkin Ale brewed with pumpkin puree and a blend of five spices. Aged in extremely fresh Gosling’s Rum barrels for six months. Consume fresh and often, preferably with a pumpkin pie and/or s’mores.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Unibroue Beer Tasting: Cincinnati, Ohio
6:00PM-8:00PM @ Catskeller
Just $10.00 and you get beer from Unibroue paired with small plates. What a deal! The menu reads as follows:
Maudite: with bruchetta
La Fin Du Monde: with bacon scallops
Ephemere: with brie and apricot phylo
Don de Dieu: with smoked turkey club with feta cut in fourths
Terrible: with sharp cheddar quiche
Trois Pistoles: with rich chocolate brownies
Friday, October 15, 2010
Cleveland Beer Week Begins: Cleveland, Ohio
From the website:
The second annual CLEVELAND BEER WEEK will take place from October 15-23, 2010. A celebration of craft and import beers, CLEVELAND BEER WEEK features plenty of tastings, dinners, activities and more at more than 100 venues throughout Cuyahoga County and beyond. We hope you will join us as we celebrate the world of craft and imported brews at CLEVELAND BEER WEEK.
This beer week will not disapoint with participating breweries such as Hoppin’ Frog, Thirsty Dog, Great Lakes Brewing Co. and more. As if you weren’t excited enough, 12 breweries who participated in the largest known collaboration of its kind in the world, creating six brews. Family members have already agreed to mail us a six pack. Oh man! For more information, visit the event site.
Saturday, October 16, 2010
Great Pumpkin Beer Fest: Seattle, Washington
(Saturday and Sunday) 12:00PM – the beers get tapped and the place shuts down @ Elysian Brewing Co., Capital Hill Location
I know we already did a write up about this event, but I am so damn excited, I had to mention it here- click here for details about the event from bb.com. Expect a crowd, a well-deserved crowd of people thirsty for pumpkin beers from Elysian, Russian River, Jolly Pumpkin and so many more. Sour pumpkin beers, pumpkin stouts, spiced ales and possibly beer brewed in a pumpkin. Also, get there early and you might get a sweet little taster glass (at least we did last year).
Sunday, October, 17, 2010
Farmhouse Ale Dinner: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
5:00PM-9:00PM @ The South Philadelphia Taproom
If you go to an event, want to talk about an event or a beer you had at an event, leave a comment or email us at email@example.com. Cheers!
This was a good beer weekend.
A trip to Portland entailed Stone, Dogfish Head, Victory collaboration Saison Du Boef; Avery Maraja; Hair of the Dog Fred; Russian River Consecration; Double Mountain Saison and so much more! A trip to a new beer bar Apex was top notch (see our 52 weeks article later) and bottle shop, Beermongers was still impressive and reasonable priced!
As if that wasnt enough, we partook in an impromptu beer tour of Southern Washington up through Tacoma. With a Dogfish Head Sah’ Tea at Parkplace Tavern in Tacoma and a Lagunitas Lil’ Sumin’ Wild in Olympia, letting go of the weekend was very difficult. But there is a whole week ahead of us and plenty of beer events.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Captain Lawrence Imperial Porter and 2 Casks tonight!: Peekskill, New York
6:00PM-10:00PM @ Birdsall
Tonight a keg of Captain Lawrence’s new Imperial Porter will be tapped along with two exclusive CL gravity casks: Kolsch & Freshchester(dry hopped with Cascade hops). Dont miss out on this full Captain Lawrence line up, including a couple of new draught additions.
Tuesday, July, 20, 2010
Deschutes Night: Seattle, Washington
6:00PM-9:00PM @ Naked City Brewery and Taphouse
Tonight, Naked City features Bend, Oregon brewery, Deschutes. Known for amazing beers such as Abyss, the tap list includes Miss Spelt, Hop in the Dark, Jubel 2010 and Greenlakes Organic Ale. Enjoy!
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Hoppin’ Frog Tasting: Shawnee, Kansas
7:00PM-9:00PM @ Barley’s Brewhouse
I am really happy to see Hoppin’ Frog, this Ohio based brewery get some love outside of its home state. Tonight, for $20.00 you can taste the following (they are all o’ so good) with some delicious food pairings: Wild Frog Wheat, B.O.R.R.I.S the Crusher Stout Paired with Teriyiaki glazed Wings, Mean Manalishi, paired with Fish and Chips, Silk Porter paired with our Chocolate Tort and Hoppin’ to Heaven IPA.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
25 Tap Bells Night: Grand Rapids, Michigan
6:00PM-2:00AM @ HopCat
I know we have posted a couple of events similar to this one, but it is so amazing. 25 taps of Bell’s Brewery beers tonight including: Two Hearted Ale (poured from a tap and from a firkin), the Cherry Stout and an ’08 Expedition Stout. SO good….so good.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Meet the Brewer of Brooklyn Brewing Co.: New Orleans, Louisiana
10:00PM- 12:00AM @ The Avenue Pub
We all know how much we love this place. So lets take this place in all of its glory and throw some Brooklyn Brewing beers on tap. Sold! Tonight, for $12.00, meet Garrett Oliver, head brewer and taste a sample of 5 amazing brews.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Barleywine Fest: Largo, Florida
5:00PM-11:00:M @ Willard’s Tap House
Granted its not barleywine season. Its summer after all. However, stop by Willard’s tonight and sample some flavorful beers including: Sierra Nevada Bigfoot, Weyerbacher Blithering Idiot, Southern Tier Back Burnner and Avery Hog Heaven (a hoppy barleywine).
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Rooftop Summer Wheat beer Dinner: Raleigh, North Carolina
7:00PM-9:00PM @ the Busy Bee Cafe
Now, sometime deliciously appropriate for the summer months, a wheat beer celebration. It’ll be a little more laid back than Busy Bee’s usual beer dinner and is only $35 per person. Enjoy Blanche de Bruxelles, Schneider Weiss, Great Divide Dunkel Weiss, and Terrapin Gamma Ray all on draft for this 4 course dinner! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets or more info.
Whats in stock for your beer future? Plan on attending an event? Want us to post an event? Then please leave a comment or email us at email@example.com! Cheers!
After a weekend of Hoppin’ Frog, Jolly Pumpkin, Naked City’s own brews and Rodenbach, I present to you, the next week of beer events.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Great Lakes Beer Tasting: Oakdale, Minnesota
4:30PM-6:30PM @ Cork and Barrel Wine and Spirits
Stop by and sample one of the greats from the Mid-West: Great Lakes Brewing Co. from Cleveland Ohio will be serving Dortmunder Gold (Dortmunder), Edmund Fitzgerald (Porter), Eliot Ness (Dark Amber), Burning River (Pale Ale) and Commodore Perry (IPA). Bring a business card and drop it in the bucket, at the end of the tasting we will draw a name for a six pack of beer.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
BrewDog Tasting: Hooksett, New Hampshire
4:30PM-7:30PM @ Bert’s Better Beers
Try out BrewDog from Scotland. Punk IPA, Rip Tide Stout, Dogma, Paradox Smokehead and Paradox Isle of Arran will be sampled.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Day of the Dogfish: Cincinnati, Ohio
5:00PM- 10:00PM @ Catskeller
Samples flights from Dogfish Head Brewing, a innovative brewery out of Delaware. On draft will be: Red & White; Black & Blue; Burton Baton; Chateau Jiahu; Palo Santo Marron and Midas Touch. Fingers crossed, as there might be some 90 Minute & Raison D’Etre available.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Southern Tier Brewery Night: Tampa, Florida
7:00PM- 10:30PM @ Mellow Mushroom
Southern Tier Brewing Co. ‘s IPA, 422, Unearthly Imperial IPA, and Iniquity Imperial Black Ale will all be on tap along with other Southern Tier bottles. GOOD TIMES.
Friday, May 7, 2010
Smuttynose Tasting: Somersworth, New Hampshire
4:00PM-6:00PM @ Somersworth Village Market
New Hampshire’s very own Smuttynose Brewing Co. is on the board tonight. Although the beers available for tasting have not been listed, fingers cross for their IPA and Wheatwine!
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Williamsburg Cask Ale Festival: Brooklyn, New York
1:00PM-1:00AM @ D.B.A.
Great place in BK (there is also one in New Orleans) – tonight (according to ratebeer.com) expect about 16 rare and tasty cask beers to be pouring over the weekend, all tapped at once, including beers not normally seen in cask in NYC. Beer range is courtesy of Alex Hall (BA: Imbiber) in conjunction with Ray Deter of ‘dba’. Beer will come in half pint and 16oz measures, there’s no entry fee and you pay by the glass.
Italian Beer Festival: Seal Beach, California
11:30AM-11:30PM @ Beachwood BBQ
Italians are known for pizza, art, pasta and wine- but tonight, come sample 18 different Italian brews.
Great Week! At least three of my top ten breweries are having a tasting this week. This weekend we had the conversation of our top 10 US breweries. I could only come up with 9 off the top of my head. What are your favorite breweries? Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with an event you want us to post or to just start a dialogue about your favorite brewery!