Great Lakes’ Commodore Perry: Worth the wait?
As you can probably tell by examining the list of beers I’ve managed to offer my thoughts on, Great Lakes Brewery is one of my favorites. All of their beers are pretty good. None of them are my absolute favorites, but they are all sprinkled somewhere throughout the top of the list. They have a handful of beers that are only offered at particular times of the year, which causes some eager anticipation for one or two of the better ones.
Their Commodore Perry India Pale Ale is one such seasonal offering, only available for a month or so every summer. I’ve always somehow missed trying this beer in the past, but made sure I didn’t this time around. I’m sure that brought about some expectations that are bound to color my thoughts on the experience.
I like India Pales to begin with. Those are so called because the Brits used to pack them with more hops and whatnot in order to make the beer better handle the long boat trip from England, and still be palatable to the Empire builders withering in the hot Indian climate. They’re a little stronger and more flavorful than the run-of-the-mill ales. I’m all for that.
Commodore Perry is that. Checking in at 7.5% alcohol, and packing plenty of flavor. It’s dry, and the hops stand out. Both, extreme plusses in my book.
All of Great Lakes’ offerings always look and smell the part. They obviously pay attention to the minor details and it pays off. It pours a nice amber with a decent head that holds until I’m at the bottom of the pint. There’s a fruitiness in the aroma that gets me hoping it’s not going to be too sweet before I even taste it, but it is interesting nonetheless.
The fruit, thankfully, doesn’t hit the tongue until late, and it’s not sweet; quite bitter actually. The initial taste is dry and hoppy, as I mentioned. The medium body coats the mouth. Then the fruity aftertaste, which comes out tasting more like flowers than any distinct type of fruit, leaves me thinking...
’What?’. Or, maybe, ’Why?’
It doesn’t work for me really. It makes it interesting, I suppose, but I’m not interested in it. My thoughts are more ’Well, that was something’ rather than ’I’d like a bit more, sir.’ That’s almost never the case with Great Lakes beers. I’m happy to have one of these on occasion, but I’d never feel like pounding the stuff.
Sitting here, I can’t imagine what I’d want to attempt to eat with it, either. It might go down alright with something having a sharp, zesty sauce. It could also improve something like a boring salad, maybe. There are better choices, though.
So. It can’t really be considered a sessionable brew. It’s not particularly great with food. When should we drink this stuff?
As a once-a-year type oddity, it’s okay. Even though it’s only offered in the summer months, it doesn’t really smack of summer to me. It’s fairly potent, so if you’re looking to get a bit blocked quickly and don’t mind the bitter flowers, have at it. Maybe I’m being overly critical. Maybe it just couldn’t possibly live up to the expectations I placed on it. This is just one I think Great Lakes could have made a better effort on. I won’t miss this the rest of the year, and I probably won’t be hankering for one next summer either. But, their Christmas Ale... I can hardly wait.