Saturday Night Blue Collar Brew Review

Weeks after Christmas it was time for me to open those envelopes that I received and left lying about my computer desk. There was an iTunes gift card and also a gift card for Binny’s Beverage Depot with a note from one of my sons which read, “Happy drinking.” How nice.

It was easy to talk my wife into another adventure on the road. We went last Saturday and didn’t get lost once. Once at Binny’s, I was awestruck again. Man, so many beers to choose from. Having read a review on one of the beers from the Great Lakes Brewing Co., I grabbed one of their sixpacks, an amber lager. Then, after wandering the craft beer shelves for about 15 minutes, I asked one of the employees if they could recommend something. He said, “Let me get Wes. He knows everything.”

Wes soon arrived and he asked me one question: “What styles of beer do you like?” As I was replying, he started to walk away and I had to follow up quickly behind him to finish my second sentence while he was within earshot.

“Here. Try this. It’s not available east of the Mississippi but we have a guy on the inside. Come over here. Try this. You’ll love it.” So those two selections along with what I already had, pretty much burned through that gift card. I thanked Wes profusely and my wife and I proceeded to the checkout. Along the way I handed out SPT business cards inviting the Binny guys to visit.

During the drive home, I was kind of disappointed that I already had a selection for review (last week’s Leinie’s Weiss) but I talked myself out of having what I bought on the grounds that they wouldn’t be cold enough by beer time.

ness-sixLast week came and went and by Thursday, the first of the Binny batch went into the fridge. What I’ve selected for this week to try is that beer from the Great Lakes Brewing Co., namely Eliot Ness Amber Lager. The label had me a little puzzled. It read:

Named after the one-time Cleveland Safety Director who frequented the original bar that is now the Great Lakes Brewpub, our deep amber lager has a faint hop nose and a slightly sweet finish.

A little googling and I found out that the statement is true. It’s the same Eliot Ness that dealt with Al Capone. Ness also ran for mayor of Cleveland later. In addition, the label also states that this beer is a gold medal winner at the World Beer Championships. I’ll save that googling for later.

Saturday rolled up with warming temperatures above 20ยบ but the sun hid all day. Finally the time came. It’s been a while since I had a lager and I was looking forward to it. About 8-ish, I cracked open the first bottle.

ness-glassThe liquid filled up the glass with a delicious looking amber color that damn near made my mouth water. The head was sparse, about a quarter inch. Lots of micro-bubles rose from the bottom. The aroma was hardly perceptible but did smell beerily familiar. Let’s try some.

The first sip had an odd tone of hops in the middle and end reminding me of an IPA. It wasn’t as unpleasant as an IPA can be, but this may be a distant relative. After a few sips, a tad bit of sweetness arrived and then hid somewhere behind a mouth part. As the sips continued, the hops took up residence at the back of my tongue.

This beer is full bodied and feels great in the mouth but my tongue doth protest a wee bit. With the nice color and the sweetness becoming bolder the taste of this beer became more palatable. But I knew, that I wouldn’t be able to finish the entire sixpack. Why punish myself and my mouthly parts as well? If only this beer wasn’t so bitter at the end. Probably what Capone was thinking about Ness while in prison awaiting his own end..

Ya know, it’s a damn shame that I lost the receipt for this and the other two sixers I bought at Binny’s. Also, I don’t know if I can recommend this beer. But if you like a nice, bitter, hoppy flavor, with a bit of sweetness thrown in, give it a try. Just don’t complain six months down the road when you see the remaining bottles way in the back of your fridge.

great_lakesThe SixPackTech ratings for Eliot Ness Amber Lager are:

Taste: C > If it wasn’t for the sweet there’d be a minus in there as well.
Smoothness: C > Most of its parts are tolerable.
Drinkability: C- > Don’t even think you’ll finish whatcha bought.
Bang for the buck: Unknown > Sorry.
ABV: 6.2%
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: It doesn’t smell too bad. (sip) Ooh… I don’t know what it tastes like. It’s weird. (sip) It’s got all kinds of stuff going on in there. I can’t pick anything out of it. (sip) At first it tastes bitter but then it gets sweet. Kinda weird. Kinda strange. (She took me completely by surprise there. Unbelievable.)

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