Great Lakes Brewing Company

GLBC LogoAddress: 2516 Market Ave.
Cleveland, OH  44113

Phone: (216) 771-4404


Flagship Beers: Dortmunder Gold Lager, Eliot Ness Amber Lager, Holy Moses White Ale, Burning River Pale Ale, Commodore Perry IPA, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter

Seasonal Beers: Conway’s Irish Ale, Hop Madness DIPA, Chillwave DIPA, Rally Drum Red Ale, Lake Erie Monster Imperial IPA, Oktoberfest, Nosferatu Imperial Red Ale, Ohio City Oatmeal Stout, Christmas Ale, Blackout Stout

Special Releases: Alberta Clipper Porter, Altbier, Ales for ALS, Imperial Smoked Porter, Hop by Numbers IPA, Lawn Seat Kolsch
The Down Low: If you’ve shown up at any backyard barbeque in the past 20 years or so, chances are somebody showed up with the Great Lakes sampler pack for everyone to share. It’s always a go-to option for a last minute beer stop, it satisfies beer drinkers of several different styles in one convenient box, and it makes you look like you’re the only one that cares about good beer in a sea of other macro beer choices that everyone else grabbed from their nearest gas station.


Great Lakes Brewing Company has been in business since 1988, and although we have sampled most of their beers more times in our beer drinking careers than we can count, we never hesitate to grab the next new one that they make.  Their styles have grown over the years to include just about everything out there, and even though they aren’t the absolute best examples of most of those styles, there’s something to be said for being able to make them all on a large scale.  Serving a good portion of the northeast region of the United States, as well as adapting to trends in the craft beer industry such as canning beers and barrel-aging everything, Great Lakes has ridden through waves of changes over the years and continued to keep their heads above the water.

Our favorite beers by these guys have always been the seasonal offerings.  Near the end of summer, Lake Erie Monster rises from the depths and finds its way on to beer shelves.  Nosferatu, the imperial red ale named after the famed vampire, is a must-have when the months turn cooler and Halloween starts showing up in retail stores everywhere.  And when the falling leaves give way to snowflakes, there’s nothing like warming up on a cold evening with a Blackout Stout or a Christmas Ale while patiently waiting for the warm weather to return.

GLBC PubBe sure to check out the brew pub itself in the historic market district of downtown Cleveland if you get the chance.  With food options galore inside, as well as in the neighboring community, you’ll be hard-pressed to save room for the beer that drew you there in the first place.  It’s a great place to stop after a Cleveland Indians game, or before for that matter.  And the next time you show up for that barbeque, be sure to grab the sampler pack.  After all, everyone wants to feel like a hero once in a while…

the Hopostles

Noa Pecan Mud Cake Stout by Omnipollo

Naming a beer after a decadent dessert is a tall order. How does a brewery pack in the flavor of a mud cake into its beer, bringing together a rich smell of chocolate and pecans in liquid form? Though we can’t exactly answer a question like that, we will try to answer the question of whether or not the taste of this brew can live up to its smell. Noa Pecan Mud Cake Stout by Omnipollo is our dessert of choice this week…

Beer History: Barleywine

barleywineThe term “barley wine” came about some 300 years ago when brewers would age ales in casks for an extended time. They used this term since they used similar processes in wine making, but instead of using fruit, they would use barley. Then, they would get together with wine drinkers and compare the strength and quality between the two. The brewers would normally bring them out once a year, or for special occasions to show off their skills in beer making. Since there weren’t many different styles of beer back then, most barley wines would be just stronger versions of a pale ale with bitters, often leading to them being referred to as old ales or strong ales. Most barley wines originally had ranges of between 8-12% ABV, depending on a few criteria.

Bass Barley WineBass was the first brewery to commercially launch a barley wine in 1903, entitled Bass No. 1 Barley Wine. Many breweries followed suit, but it wasn’t until 1975 that the first American brewery, Anchor Brewing in San Francisco, launched one of their own.  It was called Old Foghorn, and it was released for mass production.  But because they didn’t want to turn people off by thinking they were making beer into a wine, Anchor Brewing removed the space between “Barley” and “wine,” thereby combining the 2 words together for label approval purposes. Sierra Nevada’s “Bigfoot” soon followed afterwards, but was (and still is) a much more hop-forward version of a barley wine.

The history of this style reminds us of what many breweries do today when they barrel-age beers. Could this have been the start of BA beer making? We’re not sure, but learning about this style sure makes one wonder. Barley wines are not as popular as many other styles in the industry today, but are still considered to be the leaders in complexity and high gravity. So if you’re looking for a smooth, complex, high ABV beer as a nightcap, there’s a barleywine out there waiting for you…

The Hopostles

Whipped Stout by Stillwater Artisanal and Oliver Brewing Company

An unruly child should never be left with an unattended beer. Why? Not because they’d drink it…most hate the taste anyway. No, it’s more because they would have a hard time resisting the urge to shake it that we’re worried about. Luckily in this case, the beer lived through the experience long enough for us to sample it. Whipped Stout by Stillwater Artisanal and Oliver Brewing Company is a stout meant to be shaken, and after a little help from one of the younger kids in the room, it was more than ready for us to give our input about…

A cure for the cold…

SnowBeerIf you’ve been following our recent Beer of the Week activity, you may have picked up on a theme. It’s been a darn cold winter in the northeast, and it’s only just begun.

There are few things that have the ability to warm you up and lift your spirits in the face of bitter cold temperatures like a hearty, bold stout. And the higher the ABV, the easier it is to forget about the astronomical heating bill hitting your mailbox as we speak.

A recent article from the Wisconsin State Journal featured their picks for the best imperial stouts to combat the cold. Check out the article here, and see if any of your favorites made the list.

We’d also love to hear from you! Leave us a note in the comments box, and let us know what you’re drinking this winter.

Share This: Mole by The Bruery

There’s nothing quite like a blazing fire to help thaw you out after coming in from the cold. As you feel the warmth surge inside you and slowly warm up what was previously frozen, the urge to share a cold beer with a nearby companion seems to be the next logical step to take. In this week’s sampling, we come in from the elements to try Mole, an imperial double stout by the Bruery in hopes of warming up as quick as possible…

The Beerologist

Have you ever been asked to spend someone else’s money on beer, simply because you were the “educated” one?  I have, and here’s the story about it…

beerologistWe’re all good at something.  Or at least that’s what we were told from the time that we were kids, encouraged along by our parents to find something that we enjoyed doing.  Hours upon hours are poured into hobbies, sports, and seemingly any other thing that gives us pleasure, and our parents were usually right there beside us at the beginning, spending their time and money on what we deemed “fun.”  As my brothers and I jumped from one thing to another, my parents came along for the ride, like it or not.

Early on, it was skateboarding.  My cousins and I loved nothing more than to spend a day at the local skatepark, on the ramps in our driveways, at vacant church parking lots, or even just  on the street in front of our houses, skating until our scraped knees and elbows were too much to bear.  As early teens, we moved into skiing and snowboarding at the local ski resort.  Spending every possible moment there during the winter became the new norm, and though my parents hadn’t skied before, they were soon beginning to see why we loved it so much as they began to do it themselves.  As we entered our high school years, sports became a whole new obsession.  For my older brother, track was his thing.  For my younger brother and me, golf now consumed my every waking thought (and still does to this day) during the spring, summer, and fall.  It seemed that no matter what form our new interests took, my supportive parents were there in way or another.  But that all changed at some point, and I’m not sure I can pinpoint where or when.  But I do know this:  I don’t ever remember my parents uttering the words, “Good job loving beer, Mike!  Let’s see where this will take you!”


Well, a couple years ago while my wife and I were at Jungle Jim’s in Cincinnati for a weekend, it apparently brought me to the point where was I being asked to choose someone else’s beer for them.  An empty six pack carrier in her hand and a bewildered look on her face at the thousands of choices in front of her, a complete stranger asked me to put together a six pack for her.  She didn’t care which ones I picked nor what the prices were, but must have trusted the look in my eyes that I knew what I was doing.  Or maybe it was just my own full basket of beers and my confident selection of them, coupled with the joy on my face of getting to spend another person’s money for a change, that tipped the scales of me appearing to be the smart one for the moment.

Years of loving and sampling beers had led me to that encounter, and I’d like to believe that I passed with flying colors.  And since I never talked to her after that to see if the beer choices were to her liking, I’ll never know for sure.  But that’s not what’s important here; what’s important is that you appear knowledgeable and trustworthy in crisis situations such as these, because you never know when you’ll be called upon as the expert in the room…

the Hopostles

Creamsicle DIPA by Decadent Ales

It’s frickin cold outside. -5 degrees is cold enough to freeze your fingers and toes, avoid leaving the house at all costs, and thinking of nothing else aside from having something warm to drink. So what would drive us to go outside, braving the elements at the sake of sharing something with our viewers? Beer, and only beer. Watch us tough it out in the sub-zero temps to try Orange Creamsicle DIPA by Decadent Brewing in the hopes of staying warm…

Deschutes Brewery

Deschutes LogoAddress: 901 SW Simpson Ave.
Bend, OR  97702

Phone: (541) 382-9242


Flagship Beers: Black Butte Porter, Mirror Pond Pale Ale, Inversion IPA, Obsidian Stout, Fresh Squeezed IPA, Pinedrops IPA, Chasin’ Freshies IPA

Seasonal Releases: Hop Slice Summer Ale, Hopzeit Autumn IPA, Jubelale

Special Releases: Black Butte Birthday Reserve, Mirror Mirror, The Dissident, The Abyss

The Down Low: Statistically speaking, Portland, Oregon is the beer capital of the world.  Praised not only for the sheer number of breweries in operation but for the outstanding quality of them as well, Portland and its surrounding towns are considered a bucket list destination for beer lovers everywhere.  Nicknamed “Beervana,” it’s a culmination of hop production (2nd most in the US), dedicated brewers, and an obsession with craft beer that rises to the top of an ever-growing market that’s constantly trying to reinvent new ways to appeal to the masses.

DB pic
So how do you get attention in a location that’s so saturated with breweries?  Simply put, make consistently good beer, distribute it to more than half of the United States, and put out a few special releases that are unlike anything else out there.  That’s where Deschutes seems to do so well.

Located in Bend, OR (roughly 3 hours from Portland) and operating since 1988, Deschutes has been around the block a time or two.  Their flagship and seasonal brews are fine examples of what access to good hops can yield, and their special releases, typically noticeable by the wax seals, are worth paying the extra few bucks for.  In fact, in our minds, it’s the special releases that make this brewery stand out…

DB BBLet’s start with the Black Butte Birthday Reserve.  It’s a porter brewed with Dutch cocoa, cinnamon, and cayenne.  Complex?  Yes.  A bit of heat at the back end?  Yup.  A porter so rich and complex you’d mistake it for an incredible stout?  Absolutely.  It’s also aged in bourbon and rum barrels, icing the cake that’s already a rich treat to begin with.  And what can we say about the Abyss?  Take the darkest, heaviest, most decadent stout that you’ve ever had and add the following ingredients:  blackstrap molasses, licorice, vanilla beans, and cherry bark.  Then, age it for 12 months in bourbon, oak, and wine barrels.  The final result is a beer so complex that the first sip leaves you speechless, the second causes contemplation, and the third a combination of bliss and unbelief that what you’re drinking hasn’t been brewed in an actual tar pit.  Abyss couldn’t be a more fitting name.  They’ve also made a standout Barleywine that can still be found on the shelves if you’re lucky (Mirror Mirror), and a yearly ale brewed with cherries and aged in French oak wine barrels called the Dissident.

With a second brew pub opening in none other than Portland itself in 2008 and a third on the way in Roanoke, VA, Deschutes continues to expand and make their presence known in a market that keeps growing by the year.  And if you can make great beer in Beervana, you gotta be doing something right…

the Hopostles