Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Grumpy Bulldog threefer: Great Lakes Lake Eerie Monster, Stone Ruination, and Goose Island Green Line

This weekend my friend Pat is moving one vertical mile and about a thousand planar miles to Denver. So on Saturday night, Pat's brother Randy and I sent him off by getting good and wasted in downtown Naperville. Well, at least they got good and wasted; it was past midnight by the time I joined them, and Pat and Randy had about a seven-beer head start.

Owing to my visceral distaste for Naperville, I'd never experienced the downtown bar scene, which reminded me a lot of my visits to U of Iowa in college. I'm too old for most of the bars there, but we drank at the Grumpy Bulldog, a hole-in-the-wall with a great beer selection and "Dames" posted on the door of the women's bathroom.

I like my IPAs regaluhr-like just fine. The imperial style doesn't seem necessary to me, but I can't be a True Beer Snob, I'm told, until I've tried them all. I'll say this: Lake Eerie Monster smells fantastic. Besides the hops, it has a strong aroma of passion fruit or mango or some other "exotic" fruit that reminds me of a Naked smoothie drink. By comparison, the taste was dreadful, which is to say, mediocre compared to mediocre things. Way too sweet, way too boozy. It was hard to get past that to see it's inner-beauty, which I think it may possess; I just didn't get it.

Grade: H, for huuuuuge disappointment. I never thought I would dislike a Great Lakes beer, but after a few swigs, I just wanted it to end so I could get onto my next. Finishing it was a chore, even passing some off on Pat and Randy.

Stone Ruination is what I should have ordered for my first pint; fortunately Randy was kind enough to let me sample his. "Earthy" is the magic word here. It has a wet garden aroma--dirt, flowers, evergreens, birdbath (sure, why not)--and the flavor is all earthy hops, i.e. the kind that taste like good weed. (Don't even try to act like you don't know what I'm talking about.) I got almost no sweetness except maybe subtle grapefruit note. That said, I did only have the one swig after drinking Eerie Monster, so my palate may not have been all that sharp.

Grade: I, for incomplete, or alternately, for I-need-to-try-a-full-one. This is on the grocery list for my next trip to Famous.

Green Line was also a disappointment, but it was also my mistake to have pale ales back-to-back--something I rarely do and strongly advise against. The Green Line was pretty balanced and easy to drink, but the only thing I found unique about it was a buttery caramel corn-like flavor that I thought clashed with the hoppiness. Maybe this was tongue or brain playing tricks on me, or maybe my palate was hopped out at that point. But after a few sips, this corny note became so distracting that I really can't remember anything else about it.

Grade: C, for confusing. I'm not sure if the beer was the problem, or if I was the problem. Either way, I'm in no rush to try this again, though I probably should because I don't think I'm being very objective. Zuch had a much more favorable opinion of it.

1 comment:

  1. I had the bad Great Lakes experience last summer with the Glockenspiel Weizenbock, so maybe we're just cursed there. Being a bigger fan of Imperial IPA's than you are, I still want to try Lake Erie Monster but may have to lower my expectations (while not stunned that you did not love it).

    However, I think you need to try Green Line again (maybe if we can both hit next month's BA gathering at Goose), as I think your tongue was too numb from Lake Erie Monster and/or it was maybe a bad tap line. A really smooth drinking (yet crisp flavored) pale ale and certainly not a hop bomb.

    Also, I've got to finish my wheat beer review and work on some posts myself, especially since I'll actually have a couple of days off here.