Holy Moses: Great Lakes makes an average beer?
I’ve been fortunate to have lived in the Cleveland area all my life. Yes, fortunate. I’ve been to enough other places to appreciate what we have here. It’s not perfect, as every native will tiresomely inform you, but, other than the usual small handful of cities, it’s about as good as it gets. Among the treasures is one of the finest micro breweries in the land. The Conway brothers began Great Lakes Brewing Co. in 1988 and have been pumping out fine, and much awarded, beers ever since.
I’ve been drinking their products with varying degrees of passion from the beginning. I’ll admit I get tired of the ubiquitous Dortmunder Lager. It seems to be at every bar in town, and is too often the only real choice from the usual domestic swill. Nothing wrong with it, it’s perfectly good, but variety is the spice of life. I’ve also yet to have a good meal, despite many attempts, in their brewpub. It’s a nice enough place, I really want to enjoy myself there. I know they seem to be constantly striving to improve in that area, but the food has always been, and remains, very average. That doesn’t affect the beer, of course, it just keeps me out of there more than I’d like.
Fortunately, every variety of their beer is available in just about any shop in an ever widening vicinity. Most bars have at least the aforementioned one on tap, and at least a couple of the others in the bottle. So luckily there’s no need to suffer through that bog standard fare every time you hanker for one of their supremely fine beers.
Holy Moses White Ale is not really one of Great Lakes’ supreme offerings. I’ve been on a big white ale kick lately. For me, it was one of those types that had fallen by the wayside. Now, once rediscovered, it’s surprising I’d ever allow that to happen. It’s an ale that seems to be a lager -- you get a little of the best of both worlds. What’s not to like in a flavorful, light, crisp, refreshing beer that‘s a touch stronger than average?
Holy Moses is all of those things. The spiciness is more subdued, though. The orange and coriander don’t knock you over the head the way some of the flavors in other Belgian whites do. Usually, that’d be just fine by me, but I find myself wanting just a hint more with this. The finish is a bit sweet. It packs about the punch you’d expect, with 5.4% alcohol. The appearance is right on as well -- a pale, cloudy gold with a big, white head that‘ll hold. The aroma matches the taste, only softer, very slight citrus and spice.
If I was having a light seafood dish, or just a salad, this is the beer that would fit. Especially out on a patio somewhere, or if I was only looking to sip on one. A business lunch or the first time meeting her parents. For no good reason I can really put my finger on, I never really feel like having more than one of these. It’s good enough. It’s not heavy. But if I’m having more than one, I’m having something else.
That’s Holy Moses in a nutshell, really. It’s a good, solid beer. Unless you want more. Or something more. A nice example of a Belgian-style white. There are better Belgian whites, but not fresher ones. There are certainly better Great Lakes beers. You might like the idea of supporting Great Lakes Brewery because of their social and environmental consciousness -- they’re a bit like the Ben and Jerry’s of the beer world without all the '60s silliness. Very green, and all that. Laudable enough, but the reason to drink their product is they make better beer than most. They also make better beers than this. Have a Holy Moses to change things up, but you’ll probably want to grab one of their others most of the time.