One of my favorite things about drinking craft beer is drinking great local brews. Although I live in Columbus, and Cleveland is two and a half hours North-East of me, many locals (myself included) consider Great Lakes to be a “local” beer. It is one of my all-time favorite breweries, and just about everything they do is out-of-this-world delicious. Great Lakes Alchemy Hour Double IPA is a brand-new brew from the Cleveland brewery which just started hitting the shelves this month. It certainly lives up to Great Lakes’ stellar reputation.
Alchemy hour is a beautiful copper color with a slight reddish tint. The color reminds me of a Summer sunset. I poured the beer rather aggressively into the glass and, despite my vigor, I was only able to yield about one finger of head. The head promptly dissipated, leaving behind no evidence of its existence. Nevertheless, this is a nice-looking beer.
The aroma is more complex than I’ve experienced with a lot of IPAs. I definitely get a lot of hops, but there’s also a lot of other fragrances going on here as well. There’s pine notes, some caramel and honey from the malts, and some breadiness. I also detect a few floral notes, and it seems the more I sniff the more I can pick out. The aroma is very tempting and it makes you want to dive right in.
Like almost every other Great Lakes beer I’ve had (and I’ve had most of them), this one does not disappoint in the taste category. Up front, I get some sweetness from the honey malts, and there is some breadiness in the middle. On the back end there is a very bright hop flavor and it finishes dry with a mild alcohol burn. The flavor is just as complex as the aroma, with hints of pine, honey, caramel and spices. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, feels chewy (even a bit sticky), and has medium to light carbonation. As I sip this beer, though, I feel like there is something missing and I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. About half way through the class I realized that what is lacking in the IPA is citrus flavor. It’s there, but it’s very understated. This makes for a unique flavor profile for an imperial IPA in that all the other flavors are allowed to shine.
I am a huge fan of Great Lakes Brewing Company, and this beer only further reinforces how great they are. This isn’t even my favorite IPA by Great Lakes (that honor goes to Lake Erie Monster), but this is still an awesome beer. If you’re not familiar with Great Lakes, my recommendation is that you become acquainted and if possible, get you hands on some Alchemy Hour Double IPA in the process.