Great Lakes specializes in a number of styles I don’t particularly care for: lagers, a porter and a Christmas ale among others. But I have always wanted to like their beers, because they have a great operation–distribution is relatively localized for the amount they produce (which is a lot–it’s ubiquitous in Ohio and Michigan), there’s a heavy focus on sustainability, and they generally seem like good guys.
In spite of its kind of dumb name and the bug-eyed dude on the label who I don’t want staring at me while I drink (yes… I know it’s some kind of ’20s reference… it’s not the first time I’ve been called uncultured), Nosferatu finally gives me reason to like — and truly admire — Great Lakes. It’s no wonder people around here go batshit when it comes out every fall.
NOTES: On draught at Dirty Frank’s, Columbus, Ohio
STYLE: Imperial Red Ale
APPEARANCE: Dark amber, translucent
HEAD: Moderate in size and pillowy in texture
LACING: Medium, especially higher up the glass before I started to really throw it back
NOSE: Huge and gorgeous, very hoppy and floral with hints of fruit (like raisins or figs). Smells like the best imperial IPA but slightly less sharp.
TASTE: Super flavorful–exorbitantly hoppy and malty–the key is it’s extremely well balanced. The predominant flavors are good hops and caramel, again with a hint of a fruit I can only describe as “figs.” A little boozy, but aren’t we all.
MOUTHFEEL: Crisp, with medium body and some astringence.
DRINKABILITY: Very rich but drinkable. The balance makes it more drinkable than a Dale’s Pale Ale or a Bell’s Two Hearted. Upon reflection, I don’t think I would ever get tired of this beer. Blows other red ales out of the water and stacks up well against the best double/imperial IPAs. Are you sure it comes from Ohio??
RATING: 3.5 Hops.