When is a pale ale not a pale ale? When it is an India pale Ale, of course. This is definitely the case for Great Lakes Brewing Company’s award-winning Burning River Pale Ale. Though it is labeled as a pale ale, and Great Lakes also markets an IPA under a separate name, there can be little doubt that this beer is an IPA (the 65 IBUs of bitterness and 6% alcohol argue that), and one of the finest in the nation at that.
Burning River Pale Ale is light reddish in color with a minor head which quickly dissipates. The beer is dominated by the Cascade hops, first in the nose, then in the palate where they impart a citric, slightly floral character, then on to the finish where they reach a peppery, very bitter crescendo. In the tradition of the first IPAs, Burning River is a beer that ages gracefully. Indeed, that is the origination of India Pale Ale, hops as a preservative. The bottle I reviewed here was four days past it’s “Best By” date, and compared favorably with fresher samples purchased directly at the brewpub in Cleveland.
Try Burning River with spicy burritos, pork tacos, or Buffalo wings. It's also great with a grilled steak and baked potato or just about any summer fare.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.