#GLBC – 2/2 – PorchDrinking.com
This piece was co-written by John Amantea and Kevin Risner.
August 28th & 29th: 6pm – 11pm
When you think about craft beer in Cleveland, one of the first breweries that pops into your head is Great Lakes Brewing Company. And for good reason. For over 25 years, GLBC has been brewing some awesome beer that has won many awards and has struck the fancy of people across the eastern US and beyond its distribution wingspan, which has been on the rise recently.
GLBC is not just known for its stellar selection of beers, the variety of which has expanded from its famed Christmas Ale to approachable IPAs like Chillwave, and unique surprises, such as one of its most recent session ales: Sharpshooter. They also have an excellent mission, centering on sustainability and eco-consciousness.
Ever since 2001, GLBC has put together a more unique beer festival that isn’t just about the beer, but a reflection upon the brewery’s legacy and its hope to protect its product, which is around 90% water. The Burning River Fest is named for an (in)famous event that occurred multiple times in the history of the city. Beginning in 1868, the Cuyahoga River has caught fire numerous times, the most noted of which occurring in 1969, as a result of heavy pollution and a dearth of industry regulation. From that point on, amidst a flurry of ridicule and scorn, Cleveland has shifted a greater focus to sustainability and cleaning up its waterways. The positive effort has led to this more mindful festival, focusing on these local issues.
Sometimes change can be scary and uncomfortable. We tend to embrace constancy in most situations. When something unfamiliar greets us, there may also be skepticism. I noticed this when Great Lakes Brewing Company revealed their brand refresh. There was some outcry, some fear, mainly from social media users who did not want the labels and the image of GLBC to change. With tried and true marketing and a strong presence in many parts of the United States, why become different? Despite those worries by some, I feel changing things up can also spark interest and excitement. Personally, I was more intrigued when I first learned about the brand refresh. Let me tell you why I like what GLBC has done: the changes that have taken place embrace the 25+ years that this brewery has been a strong presence in the N.E. Ohio craft beer community. The history behind the brewery, its location and its facilities, runs even earlier; and the artwork by Darren Booth pays homage to the brewery and to the city as well. Each label is a story, a collage of images that explores the rich history of Cleveland and also of the company’s presence. Along with the new brand, we now have a new seasonal beer from Great Lakes: the Sharpshooter Session Wheat IPA. It is a tasty IPA that was tapped during the last week of May at GLBC’s brewpub and has just been released to distribution markets on June 1.
When it comes to drinking beer, it is a general consensus that fresh beer is the way to go. I do not feel that this is always true, but for a lot of beer styles, one could argue that it is. Stouts, porters and barrel aged beers in my opinion are the acceptation to this. Think about wine—most red wine ages great, whereas white wine does not age as well. With time, beer and wine both undergo changes. The flavors develop and the aromas alter—sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Over the past few years, I have learned to love the hop and all that it has to offer. In my opinion, hoppy beers are better fresh. So, I decided to find some of the freshest hop forward beers and indulge into hop heaven.
IBU: 30 | ABV: 7.5%
There’s nothing like the first Christmas Ale of the season! Great Lakes Brewing Company started pouring before Halloween. I’ll admit I was a bit spoiled this year, as they were also serving it in a number of places during Christmas in July. With flavors of cinnamon, ginger and honey, it legitimately tastes like Christmas in a bottle.
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Chicago. I was in town for the wedding of a very special friend of mine, and while there I stayed with my pal and all-around awesome dude …