An annual tradition at Piehole & Co! Now that Great Lakes has ramped up production of Christmas Ale, they release bottles into the wild on Halloween. I was fortunate enough to find this display on All Saints’ Day – this batch is best by January 7, 2017. The beer might be a bit more honied this year, with fewer spice notes, but that variance from year to year is part of the appeal. It’s still my favorite beer and still a wonderful winter warmer.
Great Lakes Brewing Co introduced Rye of the Tiger as a pub exclusive beer quite a few years ago, but only began bottling it recently. A Rye IPA is rare enough, much less a world-class one. Rye of the Tiger combines the spicy bite of the rye with the citrusy bouquet of the hops. Finishes dry with a nice bittering kick. Has a mainly grapefruit flavor and is highly drinkable despite its 7.5% ABV. Moderately carbonated and has a nice light to medium body. Definitely one of my favorite spring beers by far (it’s been released in the spring in both 2014 and 2015).
Lake Erie Monster is Great Lakes Brewing Co (GLBC)’s rotating Double IPA. Weighing in at a whopping 9.10% ABV and 80 IBU, this beer packs plenty of punch. Brewed with Simcoe and Williamette hops, they provide a muted presence for a DIPA. You’ll find that this is more of a caramel-malt forward balanced DIPA that happens to be highly drinkable as well. Usually released in the summer only – and not even every year, it’s always an event when this beer hits the market. Has a sweet flavor which is a bit surprising, especially as you’ll expect some sort of hop assault that never comes. Bitterness from the hops nicely counterbalances the sweet notes, creating a smooth mouthfeel that ends up being a bit sticky. Appearance is lovely as can be seen from the photograph. Head is excellent, long-lasting, and laces beautifully Recommended, but if you’re a hop-head, give this one a pass.