So here’s a 650mL bottle that has been yearning towards me for a number of weeks, but I had to get through the Renaissance mess before proceeding. Some things are truly worth waiting for ….
Great Lakes Brewery is one of the first craft breweries in the province and has become well-renowned in the process – yet I think it is the first ‘normal’ beer of theirs I’ve tasted. Hitherto, I’ve only experienced their ‘seasonal’ brews: both the pumpkin ale and their orange peel ale, both of which are well done. But if you’re going to start some place, Lake Effect is an awesome beginning.
Firstly, I have to say, what a beautiful head it pours … truly, it wells up like shaving foam on top of the golden amber waters. You have to pour it hard to produce this, but when produced, the bubbles are tight and long lasting, a good sign after Renaissance’s carbonation debacle. But pour too hard (as I did), and the suspended sediment enters the glass as well. Some think this detracts from the beauty but personally I think this residual yeast from the evident “on lees” method of fermentation looks like flakes of gold in the beer. Lovely.
That first breath of aroma reveals a true west-coast hoppiness that is going to please any hop head. The aroma, while very present, hides the yeast and is still very well balanced: A+. A gorgeous mouthfeel follows as the carbonation feels like a gentle water massage over the tongue: cool, yes, but relaxing, and it just begs you to dive in. In the middle of the taste structure is pure tropical pleasure: peaches, for sure, some grapefruit peel followed by grapefruit ‘fizz,’ and then a beautiful denouement of pine. The close is where the 80 IBUs (international bitter units) all come together to leave with a near perfect ending, only slightly spoiled by a tailing off into some astringency. Not the worst you’ll taste by far, and a failing that afflicts many hoppy beers, but unusual in a beer hitting 7% alcohol. Yes, this is big beer in a big bottle so prepare to stay at home or get someone else to drive because one of these bad boys will drink like 3 bottles … 3 delicious bottles.
This is definitely a beer I’ll be heading back to get more of before it disappears … and because it’s produced in their special “Tank Ten,” I expect it won’t last on the shelves long as the LCBO has already “discontinued” it. Enjoy!
Stats: IPA. 7% ABV. Toronto, Ontario.
Colour: Light amber gold.
Mouth Feel: Medium carbonation upfront, creamy and refreshingly bitter finish.
Pairings: Fish and Chips all the way.
© Dale Schierbeck 2014
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