For years I have heard about this place. Every time I drive down I-465, I see this place lurking in the shadows. One of my good friends actually raves about this place, and even has a growler that he gets refilled every week. So finally, after many moons we decided to give this place a chance. (I even asked a co-worker and he had nothing but good things to say about this place.) Needless to say, my hopes were high when I walked in the front door. When we walked in, the brew master actually sat us in a booth in the corner. After a few minutes of banter, I had scheduled a tour of the brewery and corresponded an interview with the man who makes these brews. It doesn’t take much to impress me!
Let’s start by taking a look at all the beers they have available.
Northern Light Lager
Brewed to the American standard of a classic light lager, this light golden beer is our mildest offering with a crisp, smooth taste.
The beer has a pretty smooth nose, but left my nostrils quick. Based on how it was described to me, I had expectations of a Bud or a Coors light. Let’s take a taste.
I was right. It tastes like a Bud Light. But it’s not bad. The aftertaste, which is typically a quick bitter taste, stuck with it for a little while. The beer was pretty carbonated, and I think would taste better in the middle of the summer, but it was a great beer and had a smooth finish. See, now I want another one!
Brother Benedict’s Bock
A German style lager, our bock features a garnet-brown color, medium body, and sweet malt flavor.
The nose on this beer… well, there is no nose on this beer. That scares me a little bit, but let’s see what it tastes like.
Whoa, the aftertaste on this beer is wicked. The beer is pretty dark, and I expected it to be a little bit thicker than it was, but the flavor is there. It’s not too overbearing, and the aftertaste… I just keep going back to the aftertaste. It’s good, that’s for sure.
Broad Axe Stout
A thick creamy head sits atop the opaque blackness of this oatmeal stout. Roasted chocolate and coffee notes make this beer a great treat.
Oh boy, I love stout. And the older I get the more I enjoy the oatmeal stout. The first few oatmeal stouts I had were not that solid, but I’m excited for this.
The head on this beer is thick, reminds me of a Guinness. The nose is solid, a bit sweet, and makes me think of coffee… perhaps even a coffee stout. Let’s see what this extremely dark beer tastes like.
This is another beer that I expected to be thicker than it was. But the flavors here are way more exciting than the consistency. And the aftertaste, the aftertaste that just doesn’t want to leave, sits on the tongue forever. And the sweetness sticks with you too. This beer is solid, and while it’s called oatmeal stout, I’m smacked in the face with a thick chocolate flavor.
Good beer. I highly recommend giving this beer a try. Even if you don’t like dark beers, it’s great.
Duke of Wellington IPA
All right, now we’re talking. I am a big fan of an IPA, and considering the first beer we made in our recent adventure of making our own brews, we chose an IPA.
The nose on this beer is great. I love the smell of an IPA. Let’s see if this tastes like an IPA.
It tastes like an IPA! But the aftertaste is not what I expected. It lasts, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not as bitter as I expected. But like the other beers thus far, the aftertaste sits on the back of my tongue for a long time. If you like IPA, you might not like it as much, but it’s solid.
Wag’s Wheat American Wheat
An exceptionally drinkable, intentionally hazy beer. Light, sweet, and crisp flavors of barley and wheat shine through a subtle background of hops for balance.
When I think of a wheat beer, the first thing that comes to mind is a Blue Moon. But this beer… it doesn’t look like a Blue Moon. It’s hazy, like they promised, but it’s not as dark, therefore not as thick, as a Blue Moon.
The nose is solid, has a bittersweet smell to it. And the taste is not that of a Blue Moon. It is not what I expect from a wheat beer. But that’s a good thing. It’s good. It might be better than a Blue Moon, actually.
But I tell you what; the aftertaste sticks with you. Do you see a pattern here? If this brew master does anything right, he knows how to make a good beer with a strong aftertaste.
A blend of our northern light and bock beers. Sometimes the best creations are a mix of great creations.
Love the name. I honestly have no idea what this beer is about. It doesn’t smell like anything, so let’s see what this sucker tastes like.
When the beer first hits your tongue, it’s smooth and sweet. But when it finishes, it tastes heavy and cloying. I like the idea of mixing two beers, and sipping on this makes me think of what chugging a black and tan tastes like. I like it, that’s for sure. (Did you know that in Tampa, Florida they make their black and tans with Yuengling?)
Mekay Scottish Ale
This is one of two specialty beers they have on tap.
The nose on this beer is obvious, more so than anything else on the bar. But it’s quick. It leaves your nostrils in a hurry.
Regardless, this beer is great. It’s a wonderful surprise in this chain. I hate it that this is a seasonal, because I might come all the way over here just for this beer. I am a big fan of Scottish ales, and this one takes the cake. Locally anyway. It’s good, the aftertaste is constant, and it’s just a good sipping beer.
I would say that this beer would taste better closer to room temperature. It is served ice cold, but the warmer it gets, the better it gets and the more the flavors surface. I have actually heard of some Scottish ales being served at room temperature to better acknowledge the flavors in the beer.
According to their brew master, this is the beer people who don’t like an IPA like. It’s half northern light lager and half of the IPA we tasted earlier… to calm down the taste a little bit.
As soon as I taste this beer, it’s compared to getting hit by a huge wave while standing in the ocean! Just think of that for a second. The flavors just explode on your tongue. This is the best beer they have on tap. Man, this just made my night.
If I can say anything about the beer here, they lack when it comes to their overall scent. There is hardly a nose on any of these beers. But the flavors make up for it. It’s not the best beer I have ever had. But at the same time, it’s not the worst beer either.
I had wanted to discuss the food here at Granite City, but I didn’t order anything! I just drank! So apparently the beers were good enough for me to focus on one thing… the booze! I have since been back, back for their prime rib Sunday brunch, but I don’t want to bore you with that. The only think that would come close to the flavors on these beers is the bacon. Everyone loves bacon!
What’s your favorite beer at Granite City?