Crazy Canuck Pale Ale — Great Lakes Brewery

Well here’s (I think) a first: I’m re-reviewing a beer.  Actually it’s really not that big a deal, particularly when the beer in question is Crazy Canuck Pale Ale, and the people who make it is Great Lakes Brewery.  I’m not suggesting that Great Lakes is inconsistent (far from it), but particularly with a beer like Canuck, I would be surprised if the recipe hadn’t gone through at least some tweaking, if not revision in the three years since I last reviewed it.  Certianly, when I last reviewed it in 2010, it came in a glass bottle; now it comes in a tallboy can.  Also worth mentioning, my skills as both a reviewer and writer have changed (I’d say “gotten better” but I’ll leave that to you), so a second review is welcomed, even over-due.  As a side note, if you check the old post, you will note that this was indeed pioneer days for the blog: iPhone 3 pic snapped on the corner of my desk with a legit 20LBS CRT monitor in the background.  Pure bush-league……

Crazy Canuck Pale Ale — Great Lakes Brewery

Crazy Canuck Pale Ale — Great Lakes Brewery

From a nationalistic tallboy can, Crazy Canuck Pale Ale pours a deep amber, touching on orange at the sides of the glass.  Fairly rocky 2.5″ head dropped to a pretty shiny dense 1/4″ layer of foam that lace the glass well past the half-way point.  Big citrusy aromas are pouring out of the glass, like, I can smell it sitting on my desk as I’m typing.  With a closer beer-geek sniff, I get lemon, earth and a bit of pine from the hops.  Just pure west-coast juiciness.  Malts are grainy with a touch of caramel, and there is a doughy yeasty note.  Pretty clean, with no fruitiness I can pick up.  Very North American.  Taste is amazing, immediately sweet and malty, but the hops aromas hit your nose even harder as you sip.  From the mid-palate back, the hops cruise in and get dry and bitter.  Hops taste a bit more piney than lemony now, and finish very dry and somewhat bitter.  It’s not nearly as aggressive as an IPA, with much of the hops giving aroma, but I would still guess this is somewhere in the 30 IBU range.  Balance is perfect for the North American style.  Enough sweetness that you can actually get a nice taste of the malts, but more hops that you would be sensible to shake a mash paddle at.  As it warms a bit, both the malts and the hops become more obvious, but the bitterness stays the same, so it skews even a little more towards the balance you expect in English-style pale ales, though without the classic English yeast and hops.  Body is somewhere in the medium-light territory, and the carbonation is fairly gentle.  Speaking from experience, this beer is stellar on cask.  Definitely a beer you can spend the night with.

Cheers to the folks at Great Lakes!  It’s nice to see a beer “grow-up” so well!

Buy Crazy Canuck Pale Ale

Crazy Canuck Pale Ale is available at LCBOs (#242545), as well as bars across the GTA, in cans, on draught or on cask (look for it as “Canucklehead Pale Ale” on cask).  But probably the best way to get it, is to go to the brewery in Etoibicoke and buy it fresh from the line.  Plus you can pick up other beers, like their many seasonal or one-offs that are generally only available at the brewery.

Drink It With

A slice or three of Big House Pizza‘s pie, Rob “The Jerk” Ford.  This two-dimensional wonder features a jalapeno cream sauce, pulled jerk chicken, pineapple, roasted red peppers, pickled banana peppers and mozzarella cheese.  The moderate hoppiness will hold up against the hot peppers and jerk chicken, while the fruitiness from the hops will compliment the pineapple.  The dry clean finish will help keep the creaminess of the sauce in check, and probably the best part is, you can grab a slice of the pie, walk next door to The Only Cafe, and get a pint of the beer, and try to prove me wrong from the comfort of their awesome back patio.  For cheese, I’ve got to give one of my favourite pale ales a chance to dance with one of my favourite cheeses, so grab a chunk of Beemster and get it in you.  Sharp and just a little funky, the cheese will provide enough interest and creaminess to juxtapose the bright, dry hoppy beer.

About The Brewery

Great Lakes Brewery LogoIndependently owned by the Bulut family, we produce our beer as it was done hundreds of years ago by using an open fire, copper brew house built in Germany in the early 1900’s.

Our small-batch brewing process allows us to carefully blend only the finest all natural ingredients to produce our award-winning beers. Our water, hops, malts and yeast are selected from local producers and those afar on the basis of but one criteria; quality.

…like, I can smell it sitting on my desk as I’m typing.

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