Great Lakes Brewing Company, based out of Cleveland, OH, is one of the breweries I miss being able to get beers from since I moved from Michigan to Kansas City. So, while I was up north on vacation recently, I made sure to pick up a bottle of Dortmunder Gold, GLBC’s flagship beer. I meant to get at least a six-pack of it, but all I could find was this lonesome 12-oz. bottle!
Dortmunder Gold is an export lager in the style of the beers classically produced in the Dortmunder region. This style arose in the 19th century, and it’s a happy medium between the German pilsner style, which is clean and hoppy, and the Munich lager style, which is more malty.
The beer is designed to be balanced and it achieves that goal very nicely. GLBC’s website lists the beer as 5.8% ABV and 30 IBU’s. That puts it out of range of a “session beer” but there is certainly no detectable alcohol flavors or aromas in this beer, so the alcohol could sneak up on you a little.
The beer pours a deep gold color, almost orange, with some cloudiness and a fluffy white head. The aroma has very little hops, maybe a hint, but is really dominated by the biscuity malts. It definitely has a lager character, but not of the somewhat unpleasant “post-party” aromas I get from lagers and pilsners sometimes.
Flavor is bready and biscuity and very malt-forward, but there is a nice hops presence to balance it out, and the second half of a sip has a nice hop bitter aftertaste that really balances what would otherwise be a sweet beer. As I mentioned, Dortmunder Gold is intended to be a balanced beer and it achieves that very much, but in a way that it is almost like drinking two different beers in each sip, rather than one that is sort of “flat.” This is a great beer, and I can’t believe in all the Great Lakes beers I’ve had that I’ve never had this particular one. I think the lager designation probably turned me off a little bit, and I realize the error of my ways now!