Sunday, May 30, 2010

334. Great Lakes Burning River

My fabulous San Francisco sojourn ended with my somewhat predictable return to Dayton International (yep, that one flight to Toronto makes D-town internationale—make sure you say it with the appropriate French accent, or it doesn’t work). And what better way to celebrate my return than by rolling down to South Park Tavern to cleanse that taste of California out of my mouth with something more local? Keeping with our (or at least my) promise to punch our collective Great Lakes ticket, we both chose Burning River and called it beer of the day, making this ol’ number four from Great Lakes and adding it to Holy Moses, Lake Erie Monster and Oktoberfest.

Burning River arrived at our table a bright, clear copper with a creamy ivory head, a head that hung around and laced the glass quite impressively. After my first big pull (I did just get off a cross-country flight, and damn did I need a beer), we settled down to business—the nose had light fruity, citrus, and spicy hop aromas coupled with a bit of bready maltiness. Flavors begin with bread crust and slightly sweet maltiness before moving into low levels of bitterness and fruity and almost juicy citrus hop flavors, finishing with just enough lingering bitterness to clean up and dry out the returning dry sweetness. Burning River has a medium body and a soft, chewy mouthfeel that is accentuated in the final third by some crisp carbonation, helping to round the beer on the palate. There is some dryness in the mouth, probably a combination of hops and carbonation, but only enough, as noted before, to help clean up the finish. A well crafted and delicious beer, with a balance not found in many of the pale ales out on the market right now.

From the Great Lakes website: “This American Pale Ale garners its fair share of attention around the world—just as the Cuyahoga River did when it suddenly caught fire in 1969 and spurred the introduction of the Clean Water Act of 1972. Pale ales gradually evolved from an English town called Burton-upon-Trent that was known for its distinctive hard water supply and propensity to brew a lighter-colored beer than was common at the time. Assertively hopped with citrusy and piney Cascade hops.”

I will admit that we both think the name of the beer is totally awesome—and unlike my snarky comments about Holy Moses, this one takes a low point in Cleveland history and uses it to raise social consciousness. Kudos, Great Lakes. Don’t miss Burning River Fest on June 24th and 25th!

ABV: 6.0%
Malts: Harrington 2-Row, Crystal 45, Crystal 77, & Biscuit
Hops: Northern Brewer & Cascade


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