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Chicagoist's Beer Of The Week: Great Lake's Burning River

By Jason Baldacci in Food on Apr 3, 2015 8:20PM

2015_4_3_burning_river.jpgFor our beer recommendation this week, we're looking to another city by another lake.

Burning River is an American Pale Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co. of Cleveland, Ohio. It pours a copper-orange color in the glass with poppy aromas of citrus and pine. On the palate, those classic American hops translate their aromas directly into the flavor of the beer, as we pick up prominent notes of zippy grapefruit and floral spice. Despite being a hop-forward style, Burning River comes with a pleasant malt backbone, lending just a touch of toffee-like caramelization and a hint of malty sweetness to balance. At 6% alcohol, Burning River is a prime example of an American Pale Ale, which is fitting, since this beer has been winning awards since the early nineties.

If you haven't had a Burning River in a while, or better yet, if you haven't had one ever, it's not going to be the most hoppy beer on the planet by comparison. That being said, we'd like to remind you that Great Lakes has been brewing this beer for over 20 years. And when the first keg was tapped at their brewpub, it was likely one of the most bitter beers Cleveland had ever tasted. Hops have gotten more pronounced in craft beer, especially over the last five to ten years, as American brewers have leaned on them heavily to drive new and complex flavors and aromas into their brews. Without a doubt we appreciate innovation but we just might appreciate a classic even more. Take a good look at the current label art, since Great Lakes has announced a refresh on their packaging that will roll out later this year.

Burning River is available all over town in a slew of places, check if your corner store doesn't stock it for some reason.