Building on the popularity of its signature pale ale, Great Lakes has become one of Canada’s top craft brewers, winning Canadian Brewery of the Year in 2013 and 2014. This summer, the brewery relaunched and rebranded the ale. Launched in 2010 to dovetail with the Vancouver Olympics, it was originally known as Crazy Canuck and brought the West Coast pale-ale style to eastern Canada. “While the name and branding change, the wonderful liquid inside the can remains the same,” says brewery owner Peter Bulut Jr. “Our version of a West Coast ale has been turning heads since we launched it in Ontario in 2010 and because it’s a serious beer, we wanted to give it a new look more in line with our increasingly popular Tank Ten series.”
From the brewery: “It’s been said that ‘Canada is the only country in the world that knows how to live without an identity.’ This beer doesn’t help much with that crisis. From the fiercely irresponsible stereotypical image on the front of the can to the distinctly American style of the beer inside it we’ve really made a mess of things. What have we done? Sorry.”
Appearance: Rich golden colour, hazy; thick, creamy head.
Aroma: A slight hoppy nose, with whiffs of fresh grapefruit peelings.
Taste: A nice refreshing hit of grapefruit-citrus at the start, but not as much as your nose tells you to expect. A dry hoppy finish, which stops just on the right side of overpowering. The taste stays with you, but that’s fine, because odds are good you’re going to drink another one anyway. It’s that kind of beer.
Mouthfeel: A little soft for my taste, but not under-carbonated… I’d just prefer a bit more.
Overall: This is pigeonholed as hot summer-day beer, but don’t let that stop you from trying it this fall. Its flavours are nicely layered and balanced. It’s a crisp, refreshing beer. Easy and pleasant to drink. Potentially deadly—you could drink a case of this and not notice it until you tried to stand.
Guest reviewer Trevor J. Adams is senior editor with Metro Guide Publishing and the editor of Halifax Magazine. In 2012, he published his first solo book, Long Shots: The Curious Story of the Four Maritime Teams That Played for the Stanley Cup (Nimbus Publishing).