Brew Review

Beer Review Update – Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale

On December 8th, I posted a review of the Great Lakes Burning River Pale Ale. The first bottle I reviewed was 5 months past its “Sell By” date. At that time I gave this beer a B+. Thanks to The Wookie, I was able to sample a much fresher version on New Year’s Eve. While the December 8th pour was a bit cloudy and had very little head, last night’s was much clearer and had a rapidly rising head that lingered for a really long time. As far as the flavor, the citrus notes were much more vibrant and the hop finish was even more pronounced. Gonna have to upgrade this beer to a very solid A. I guess those freshness dates really do mean something!

15 replies »

  1. Gotta agree with G-lo on this one, it’s rare that we agree but it does happen. Great Lakes is rapidly becoming one of my “go to” breweries (like Smutty Nose and Weyerbacher). Each of their beers seems to be masterfully crafted and well balanced but their selection of brews has enough diversity that their is something in their lineup for every mood, moment, and/or food pairing. But unlike Smutty and Weyerbacher freshness has been an issue with Great Lakes for me as well. They do all the right things like dark brown bottles, tall sided 6-pack containers, and “best by” dates but I don’t think they are getting the turnover here in NJ that they need to ensure a steady supply of fresh brew. So if you see Great Lakes on tap … drink it! If you see it in bottles … check the date!


  2. It was amazing that even the bottles at the pub the other night were past their “Best By” date by more than a month. We need more people to enjoy Great Lakes so there is more freshness in the supply chain!


  3. I can’t find Great Lakes beers near me (and they’re finder doesn’t turn up anything within 100 miles of St. Louis), but I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to find it when I go to Madison in a few weeks. How would you say it compares to the other beers in their line?


  4. SO far, I’ve had the Christmas Ale, Burning River, and Elliot Ness. All are very very good. The Wookie is a big fan of their Dortmunder Gold and I have an Edmund Fitzgerald Porter on deck (I hear very good things about that one). Overall, they have a very solid line up.


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