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Beer of the Week: Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster

Beer of the Week - Great Lakes Lakes Erie MonsterThis week’s featured beer is Lake Erie Monster, brewed by Great Lakes Brewing Company. The Great Lakes website describes it as “An Imperial India pale ale exploding with bold hop flavors.”

This is a seasonal release that is usually out in late Spring, and it only has a shelf life of about 90 days (this is typical of most IPAs). So if you buy some bottles, drink them down while they’re fresh!

This particular brew is named “Lake Erie Monster” in ode to South Bay Bessie, Cleveland’s Lake Erie version of the Loch Ness Monster. Just don’t drink too many of these brews and wander alone near the water’s edge – you never know what may be lurking underneath the surface!

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Slight hazy medium amber with moderate head and lots of nice lacing.

Smell: Sweet with strong citrus hops in the nose and maybe some floral notes.

Taste: Citrusy sweetness upfront; pineapple, oranges, and some light malts that move into a dry, bitter, hoppy finish. As the beer warms more of a spicy finish emerges. The warmth of the booze comes out after just a few sips.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied and creamy with balanced carbonation.

Overall: While a good IPA, it’s a little on the sweet side for me. Not as sweet as the Unita Hop Notch but definitely sweeter than Hop Stoopid or the Enjoy By IPAs from Stone. Overall though a solid IPA that is especially good for a hot summer day.

Tasty Mug Rating: 3.75 / 5

Style: American Double / Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.10%
IBUs: 80
Original Gravity: 22º Plato
Malts: Harrington 2-Row Malt; Caramel 30
Hops: Simcoe; Willamette
Special Ingredients:
Availability: Rotating (Released in May)
Food Pairings: Steak, pork chops, aged cheese, and dark chocolate
Glassware: Snifter, Tulip, Oversized Wine Glass
Aging: Check the bottle for a date – if you purchase the 25th anniversary bottles you should consume this one by August 2013. General shelf life is about 90 days for this brew.

Where to get it:
I purchased my 4-pack at Gentile’s (corner of King Ave and North Star in Columbus). Most likely available at most beer stores while it is in release.

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Beer of the Week: Three Floyds Gumballhead

Beer of the Week - Three Floyds GumballheadThis week’s featured beer is one of my all-time favorites, Gumballhead from Three Floyds Brewing – which incidentally is also one of my all-time favorite breweries. They produce some very high quality brews.

Gumballhead is an American Wheat Ale and is actually named in honor of an underground comic book cat character called Gumballhead that was created by Rob Syers. Initially a seasonal summer beer, it is now brewed year round due to demand. It’s brewed with Amarillo Hops and a lot of American red wheat, which gives it a complex hop aroma with notes of grapefruit, lemon zest, marmalade and peach. According to Three Floyds – “These flavors combined with low bitterness make Gumballhead a refreshing American Wheat Beer that doesn’t suck.”

Tasty Mug Review

Appearance: Pours a mostly clear, light amber with a nice frothy head that retains around the glass and leaves a lot of nice lacing.

Smell: Hoppy-smelling for a wheat beer with definite notes of pine and citrus and some nice, malty undertones.

Taste: Excellent brew; awesome mixture of flavors, very well-balanced and smooth. There are strong but balanced hops upfront that transition to more of the citrus, grapefruit sweetness that then finishes on a slightly dry, hoppy note.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, smooth and creamy; makes you lick your lips after you drink. The carbonation is very balanced with the body of the beer.

Overall: I typically don’t like the general category of wheat beers but this one is definitely special. I could easily drink more than one of these without thinking twice. I’ve been fortunate enough to have it on a few separate occasions and each every time it just proves to me how good it really is. One of the best beers in this category I’ve had and it would take something pretty special to change my opinion on that.

Tasty Mug Rating: 4.00 / 5

Style: American Pale Wheat Ale
ABV: 5.60%
IBUs: 35
Original Gravity: Unknown
Malts: American Red Wheat
Hops: Armarillo
Special Ingredients: Not listed
Availability: Year-round
Food Pairings: Latin American or German dishes; Cheese (earthy; Camembert, Fontina) General (Salad) Meat (Poultry)
Glassware: Pint Glass (or Becker, Nonic, Tumbler), Mug (or Seidel, Stein), Weizen Glass
Aging: Definitely drink this one soon after acquiring for optimal freshness.

Where to get it:
You pretty much have to go the Three Floyds brewpub to pick up bottles of this beer; you won’t find bottles of it distributed in Ohio. It does, however, pop up on draft randomly from time to time. The best way to hear about it when it does is to follow most of local bars and restaurants on Facebook that are known to carry good draft beer selections.