Having been with Great Lakes Brewery for over 20 years now, the guy knows a thing or two about craft beer and, with his recent releases it seems that he is only getting better with age. It’s almost like his power to brew phenomenal beer emanates from his beard and the longer that thing gets the better his beer gets.
I haven’t done the research, but I bet the day he shaves that thing off would be the day he walks in to Peter Bulut Jr.’s office and proposes brewing a low carb lager.
Anyway, weird beard mythology aside, most of the city’s beer fans also know that the best beers that Mr. Lackey brews come to us rather sporadically; popping up on tap at the city’s beer bars and appearing briefly in 750mL bottles that are available in limited numbers at the LCBO and at Great Lakes’ Etobicoke retail store. It’s a fairly solid marketing technique in that it creates buzz about the beers (“Get ’em while they last!”) and it ensures that it’s always something like a treat when our favourites come around again, with beer bloggers and beer nerds alike slavering for the limited release. But here’s the thing: These beers are all worthy of a permanent place in Great Lakes’ roster.
Nothing proved that more so than Great Lakes’ phenomenal “Anniversary Series,” a commemorative release of four beers this year to mark the brewery’s 25th Anniversary which, along with Lackey’s one-offs, served to confirm that the city’s oldest craft brewery is still making amazing beer that can compete with all the province’s flashier newcomers. They included a Robust Porter, a Belgian Saison, an Imperial Black IPA and a Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout. The first three were face-meltingly good and while I’ve got a bottle of the final installment, I haven’t even tried it yet because once I have I’ll be forced to accept that this awesome run is over. And I can’t do that.
Because I shouldn’t have to. I want access to Mr. Lackey’s brilliant creations all the time! I know there are probably capacity issues related to brewing all of Lackey’s awesome one-offs all the time in addition to their core brands and while I would strongly support GLB doubling their capacity just to bring me all these styles full time, I’m realistic.
Instead, I propose Great Lakes starts with just one.
Add just one of Mr. Lackey’s more face-melting creations to the GLB permanent lineup, please. It’s an easy choice for me and I think all of the city’s beer fans will support my choice: It’s a little beer called Karma Citra.
It’s nothing short of a mind-blowing IPA and that it won gold in the 2012 Canadian Brewing Awards American IPA category and also won the 3rd Annual IPA Challenge in 2011 is testament to its greatness and, in addition to a zombie-like cult following among the city’s beer enthusiasts, should be all the justification they need to brew this crowd-pleaser full time. Indeed, that this nectar exists only once in a while is an affront to the beer gods.
So let’s get Great Lakes Brewery to find a place for this beauty in their lineup full-time. I know they’re looking to hire something called an “LCBO Sales Ambassador” so let’s make it that person’s first job to get this son of bitch on the shelves at every liquor store in the god damn province, most importantly the one by my house.
If you see Troy “The Gentlest Hustler” Burtch out delivering GLB beer, let him know you want Lackey’s killer IPA all year.
If you’re zipping by their brewery on the Gardiner scream it out the window.
Bring one of the province’s best IPAs to the LCBO full time!
Then we can talk about Miranda.