Johnny Simcoe A.P.A. – Great Lakes Brewery

I almost feel like it’s silly mentioning, but I guess you can’t say it enough.  I love Great Lakes Brewery.  Mike Lackey at Great Lakes is producing some amazing wonderful beers.  Now with Adrian (formerly of Black Oak) taking over as Brewmaster and Plant Manager, things are going to get crazy!  Many of the best beers are one-offs or adaptations for their monthly event, Project X, a night of fun, food and beer at the Brewery in Etobicoke.  If you haven’t been to one and you like beer, get to one as soon as you can (check http://www.greatlakesbeer.com/ for details).  While it hardly replaces being there and drinking casks of amazing beer, they often have bottles in their retail store of brews from the events, so even if you miss the night, you can still try the beer.  This is one of those bottles.  I’m not certain which event it was from, but I know I’ve had Johnny Simcoe at Volo, and possibly some other craftbeer bars around Toronto.  This one might have had some special magical properties, but the neck label didn’t mention them, and neither did Mike.

Johnny Simcoe APA - Great Lakes Brewery

Johnny Simcoe APA - Great Lakes Brewery

From a 650ml Project-X silk-screen bomber, the beer pours a honey amber with hints of copper in the centre.  About1″ of head dropped to a dense film that laced the glass well.  Aroma is just great.  To me, this smells like Great Lakes.  Not just the generous use of piney American hops, but the balance.  The hops are bright and sharp, hitting not so much your nose, as your sinuses.  There is a lovely malted grain that is present without being dominant.  And just the slightest bits of yeast.  While Mike Lackey has a list of different beers as long as your arm, and they vary in hops at grains, the pales always have note-perfect balance.  I wonder what he would do with a Scotch Ale?  That being said, in this bottle of Johnny Simcoe, the hops are wet and juicy, pine and cedar, with a touch of lemon peel.  Grains are bready, like the aroma of a ball of bread dough proofing.  Just lovely.  Taste is immediately more of the hops, though with a little bit of a spiciness now.  For a moment on the mid palate there is a crystal-clear flavour of caramel grains, sweet and almost a little chewy.  Finish is more hops, drying and sharp, with more of the pine and cedar, and a tannin tea-like dying feel.  Hops linger on the palate, with just a hint of the sweetness of the grains.  Long after I’ve swallowed the beer, I keep getting little hints of lemon peel.  The beer is maybe a little thin on the palate, but that just makes it a little more sessionable, which if I was in a bar and this was on cask, could be either a very good thing or a very bad thing.  Not surprisingly, I really like this beer.  I have no idea if there are any bottles left at the brewery, but I would be very shocked if Mike didn’t brew it again.

Cheers to Mike and the crewat Great Lakes!

One Comment

  1. Posted July 26, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    With the intention of concern may possibly attain all punish but few.

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