When a beer is called the Lake Erie Monster (aka South Bay Bessie) , I can’t help but think that I’ll need the help of a Superhero to defeat it (i.e. polish off the bottle in its entirety). In the latest Craft Beer/Superhero pairing, I have enlisted the help of the Green Lantern to take down this beast of a beer by Great Lakes Brewing Company.
The Lake Erie Monster is an unfiltered Imperial India Pale Ale that is available between May and July of each year. I guess that would make it as elusive as South Bay Bessie herself! This beer is brewed with 2 kinds of malts (Harrington 2-Row and Caramel 30) and 2 kinds of hops (Simcoe and Fuggle). In case you were wondering why Great Lakes chose to call this beer Lake Erie Monster, here’s their explanation:
“A beer this distinctively hoppy inspires many a tall tale. And they don’t come taller than South Bay Bessie, the legendary monster that roams the shallow depths of Lake Erie.”
The Green Lantern story is a bit more complicated. Rather then go into a long winded explanation about his origins, I will instead share this brief, but highly informative video from the good people at watchmojo.com:
Let’s put the comic book superheroes and maritime legends aside and see if this beer is any good…
- Appearance: Cloudy red/orange color that reminded me of the clay courts at the French Open. Thick quarter inch head that dissipates slowly. Lots of sediment floating in the glass which slowly settled to the bottom.
- Aroma: Smells like a tropical fruit salad! Pineapple, mango, and citrus. Very faint smell of sweet roasted malt in the background.
- Taste: Smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Not overly carbonated. A hint of sweetness when it first hits your tongue, but that fades pretty quickly. The hops take over and lead you to a long lasting bitter finish.
- ABV: 9.1%
For a beer with such a complex and beautiful aroma, I was surprised that the flavors were so one dimensional, i.e. hops, hops, hops, and more hops. What happened to all that tropical fruit? The looks and smells of this beer were setting me up for a rollercoaster ride of flavors, but all I got was a freefall of hops. Please don’t misunderstand me. I liked this beer, but I didn’t love it. While I love a hoppy beer, I also like there to be a few surprises along the way. As far as who won, i.e. South Bay Bessie vs Green Lantern, I’m gonna have to give this one to Bessie. Perhaps Batman would have been a better opponent. Better luck next time.