Great Lakes Brewery: One Lake to Rule them all

From their year round line to their tank 10 releases, Great Lakes Brewery has amazed me around every corner. They have not disappointed in any manner and have truly crowned themselves as the reining kings of hops in Canada. I have been dreaming to try their beers since a little over a year and in November last year I was finally able to get my hands on several of their offerings. Most recently I managed their Thrust IPA and Apocalypse Later black IPA. I am confident to say that my beer desires have been warmed by their beer and I’m certain GLB will continue to do so. There is still a lot of beer I have to try coming out of GLB and as they release them I am hoping my amazing beer friend in Ontario can collect me some. Many of the beer traders in Quebec know him well and I know him as Tyrion Lannister. A Lannister always pays his debts. But this Lannister never has any, he goes beyond everyones expectations and we owe him! Also a special shout out to fellow blogger and fellow Beer Linked member Malty Tasker, who is the reason I have the beer here in Quebec. Without them both my GLB journey would not occur, so to them I bid a grand thank you!

Great Lakes Brewery is located just east of Toronto in a city called Etobicoke in Ontario and have been around for as long as I have, 29 years. After hitting a financial decline the brewery was taken over by Peter Bulut Sr. in 1990. Peter Bulut Sr. recently passed away in 2010 and handed the torch down to Peter Bulut Jr, his son, who along with his sister Anetta Jewell have not only kept the spirit alive, but grew it to a level that has crowned them their current glory and status. Their beer is worth commending and so that is what I will do, not because it’s rated highly, but because I love it!


Thrust IPA

Availability: Seasonal
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 72

Canned: Feb 19 2016
Drank: Feb 27 2016

Nothing like some freshly canned Thrust IPA.

The aroma it gives off throws a sucker punch of hops into your face. At first try it didn’t taste as hoppy as the aroma and wasn’t the tropical hop explosion I expected. But it’s a very flavourful well balanced IPA with a nice kick of hops and a very mild bitter finish. I can understand why it’s highly rated and I wouldn’t say it’s overrated. It’s just not tickling my IPA drinker G-Spot as much. The kinds of IPAs that really hit the home run for me are ones that have an intense tropical hop explosion. And although Thrust doesn’t give me that, it still has an amazing characteristic happening with it and the hops do explode on your palate to some extent. The second round of having it was a much better experience, because the hype in my mind had died down. The hype always plays a huge factor in how a beer tastes. Not to say that this isn’t a fantastic beer, but due to hype surrounding it, I created an unreachable expectation, which is common in the beer world, and we need to stop that!

I like it and I will give it the rating it deserves, because it’s definitely made me wet down there. In terms of Canadian IPAs it has nailed a top 10 spot. It’s not a tropical hop explosion, but it doesn’t have to be, because it’s still a hop explosion and an excellent brew!


Lake Effect

Availability: Seasonal
ABV: 7%
IBU: 70

A very aromatic IPA, with a bit of crazy bitterness but also an insane tropical hop explosion. This one’s a Hop Bomb! What specially shines with this beer is the Sorachi hop. You can really taste it’s characteristics and it adds a really particular yet amazing resinous intensity that isn’t too overpowering and rather it adds another dimension to the IPA. It stands by it’s name and send a rush of wintery cold goosebumps down your body, similar to that first moment you step outside on a really cold day and the hairs on your body go bazinga! Well, sip this and your whole body will go bazinga not just the hairs on your neck. Of course it’s no surprise when I say enjoy this one cold!



Apocalypse Later

Availability: Seasonal

Black IPA
ABV: 10%
IBU: 100

Believe it or not this is my first taste of a Black IPA. I tried a little sample of Le Castor’s L’Eclipse but not enough to properly judge the style. A black IPA is like drinking a very hoppy dark farmhouse. And you can really taste the hoppyness and the roasted malts mixed in creates a very interesting dynamic. I was always hesitant to try a black IPA, but to my surprise it makes for a very interesting combination. It is fairly bitter and the bitterness can be a bit overpowering at times and it’s very harsh, but with a 10% and IBU of 100 that comes with the territory. It’s interesting how Great Lakes has created a beer in which you taste the malts first and the hoppy notes after where as, in regular IPAs you get the hop explosion first. At first my mind was confused, hoppy? Roasty? Strange? But then as I took each sip, the true spectacularity (yes I sometimes make up words) of this beer began to shine. Blacker than the blackest black times infinity, sorry a Metaloclypse quote was excepted with a dark beer.


Canuck Pale Ale



Pale Ale
Availability: Year Round
ABV: 5.2%
IBU: 35

I am very fond of IPAs but the more I drink IPAs I tend to realize I may prefer it’s younger brother the Pale Ale. And of course I’ve had some insane Pale Ales, including Zombie Dust, who I see as the king of Pale Ales. My first trial of Canuck was back in November last year and it really melted my gears. This is a fantastic Pale Ale and GLB put the nail in the coffin with this brew. It is available all year round so you can get your fix anytime you want! Of course for us in Quebec, we gotta drive to Hawkesbury or another near by LCBO, but I wouldn’t mind taking a trip for a 12 pack of this great Pale Ale. Out of a lot of the Pale Ale’s I’ve tried in Canada this takes the torch. He even made an honorary appearance at the Olympics I think, check the history books.


One Lake to rule them all, one Lake to bind them. One Lake to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. (Yes I’m a nerd.)

For Great Lakes Life Sentenced refer to Life Sentenced

Written by HopCitizen. Photography by HopCitizen.



Your Ordinary Beer


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