Saturday Night Blue Collar Brew Review –
Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster India Pale Ale


Friday’s beer run came with a purpose, a goal, a mission to accomplish. It was mentioned at last month’s homebrew club meeting, and then again in a local newspapers about a new/old Sam Adams product: Latitude 48 Deconstructed. I had tasted the Latitude 48 beer, an American IPA, on my own a few months back. It’s an IPA made with five varieties of hops all grown at the geographic 48th parallel. The Deconstructed is a variety sampler which includes 2 bottles of the Lat. 48 and then 2 bottles each of the same beer brewed with only one of each hop variety. It would be a taste lesson in hops. Check out this link.

Oh, I had thought out the entire process of how I’d give a mini review for the main beer and then for each of the other five. It would give me a good reason to drink a lot of beer. I owed it to myself and my readers. I planned to mentally, tastedly (if that’s a word) dissect each beer, until my fingers got raw from typing on the keyboard. Alas. Neither of the beer stores in town had it. I grabbed a sixer of Bell’s Oberon for after work and planned on a road trip for Saturday.

Saturday turned into a bottle washing exercise at the kitchen sink in preparation for bottling my latest homebrew effort. With time running out it was back to the Four Seasons for a panic buy of a beer worthy of the season and worthy to be drunk.

There were only a few hours left prior to beer time. I headed straight for the cooler. Nothing grabbed me right away. Reluctantly, I strode for the craft shelf with its bombers and other room temperature beers. Down at the bottom was a beer from brewery I’m well familiar with, but with a name I hadn’t heard before. The beer was called Lake Erie Monster,

Crafted by the fine brewmasters at Great Lake Brewing Co., faithfully from Cleveland Ohio. A handcrafted Imperial India Pale Ale.

It came in a four-pack. Could it be? Yes. According to the label, the beer had a 9.1% ABV, hence the four-pack. Worked for me.

$12 later (yes, twelve bucks for four beers) and a drive home, I stashed the beer in the fridge hoping that 4 hours was enough time to chill the beer for a proper review.

Saturday was a pre-summer summer day. Temps were in the low 90s when suddenly… (gasp!) a big wind blew up and it seemed as if a storm was brewing. Within about 30 minutes, the temp dropped to about 83° and the winds died down. No storm at all. How perfect was that? Hey. It’s Illinois.

A good supper later, it was time for some Erie Monster. I grabbed the Duvel tulip glass to help channel aromas, the first bottle of Lake Erie Monster IPA, a bottle opener and put them all into play with the first pour.

The folks at Great Lakes make great beer and always name their brews after some city-related historical event or person.  The moniker ‘Lake Erie Monster’ has been picked up by a local hockey team and a drag racer. Videos to follow. How could this one be any different and what the hell was the Lake Erie Monster? I did a little research on the beer and the name. The Lake Erie Monster,  or South Bay Bessie as she is known, is an “urban” legend first read  about in 1817. Wikipedia explains.

The beer showed up as a golden orange in color topped off with a yellowy, foamy head of about 3/4”. The micro-bubble population was in full swing all climbing to the top. The aroma was slight and I thought my nose picked up a little grapefruit pulp smell. This should be quite a show.

The first sip had great body and at the swallow there was the familiar grapefruit taste dragging along some sweetness to boot. This was an IPA to be reckoned with, one that should not be ignored. The bitterness factor is big, with this beer sitting at a rated 80 IBUs. The hop zing was a gigantic force but was offset by the light maltiness and sweetness. The entire spectrum of tastes was full force in-your-face delicious.

As the sips went down and the beer warmed up in the 82° garage, the flavors became more balanced. The body was complemented by the sweet malts and then the tinge of fruity grapefruit at the end. The head however, dissipated into a slight foamy slick across the top of the liquid.

BeerGeekSpeak –

This Monster beer is a big beer. Although the specs state that this beer finished at 22° Plato, which equates to a 1.092 original gravity, any beer that gets close to a 1.100 original gravity is a big beer in my book. But that’s for just the malts. The 80 IBUs is also pretty huge, but instead of a whip-crack to the tonsils, this one is like a wood rasp to your uvula. The sharpness is there, but it’s well lubricated with the other taste sensations. Putting the little dot under the exclamation point is this beer’s ABV which sits at 9.1%. Designed for a double assault, one to the taste buds, the other to the brain.

Thanks to this review, this beer has become one of my favorite IPAs along with HopSlam, Dreadnaught and Double Jack. I’m still a bit embarrassed by earlier lack of tasting experience and naiveté remembering back when I described the IPA style as “like chewing a mouthful of rubberbands.” But since then, after tasting many beers of many styles, the IPA has become one of my goto styles.

Lake Erie Monster is available from May through July with a shelf life of 90 days. It’s a summer beer to be sure but most definitely not a lawnmower beer slammer. Have a few of these on a hot night while sitting out on the patio or porch with your sweetie by your side. Preferably after a good meal and just before bed. This is a great beer and a great IPA. Each sip in each bottle is a tasty treat and a must for exercising one’s palate. It’s a beer that makes me glad that I’m alive.

The SixPackTech ratings for Great Lakes Lake Erie Monster IPA are:

Taste: A > A mouthful of tasty Ninja throwing stars.
Smoothness: B+ > Silk on the topside, steel wool underneath.
Drinkability: B+ > A good test of your own metabolism.
Bang for the buck: B+ > You gotta try this beer. At least once in your life.
ABV: 9.1%
Wife’s all-encompassing opinion: Golden. (sniff) Peachy. (sip) A little bitter. (sip) But a lot of peach I’m gettin’. (sip) Almost like a bad peach that you shouldn’t be eating. Not nuts about it. (PEACH? Hey, maybe if you poured it over ice cream… HEY! Come back!)

BeerAdvocate rates.
RateBeer rates.
Random Review from

Lake Erie Monster Dragster

Lake Erie Monsters Hockey Team

Veronica Lake


Monster logo






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