THE EDITOR’S DESK :: Truth, Justice, and the American Ale

by Harvey Gold on June 5, 2014

unnamedHad this great, multi purposed funfest recently, attending Comic Book Heritage Night at the Great Lakes Brewing Tasting Room , sponsored by the brewery and Carol & John’s Comic Shop.

There were about 100 interesting folks to rub shoulders with, a gaggle of artists, known as the Rust Belt Monster Collective  in attendance, a line of them offering to customize a blank comic book cover. Carol and John had plenty of merch, both to sell and to give away.

The guest of honor was cartoonist John Backderf, derf , author of the highly acclaimed (and sold) My Friend Dahmer, and his (this, of course makes me think of Jerry Lewis and the band, Citizen Dick from the movie Singles) recently super-popular-in-France, Punk Rock and Trailer Parks, in which your humble Editor is depicted as a character.

derf, probably considered, with the passing of the legendary lovable curmudgeon Harvey Pekar, the grand old man of Cleveland comics (though only 54, his worldview fits the bill), gave a fun guided trip via power point through his career, focusing on his tenure as a newspaper cartoonist, the part of his career he’s retiring from in order to concentrate on publishing more books and web series.

For the price of admission, there was a table with cheese, crackers, fruit, warm pretzel nuggets, a couple kinds of mustard and a pile of 2 different kinds of grilled sausages, one spicy, one not. All this was tasty and easy to put together as Great Lakes is just down the street from the wonderful West Side Market, two long one story buildings filled with produce of all kinds, butchers, bakers, candy, prepared foods… just check the link, all in the cool and getting cooler Ohio City section of Cleveland.

unnamedOn tap, Great Lakes offered their standard year round fare, Dortmunder, Burning River, Edmund Fitzgerald, Commodore Perry, and Eliot Ness, and one summerseasonal, Wright Pilsner. But this night, for this event, a new brew, served up by Pub Brewer Joel Warger, was debuted, called Truth, Justice & The American Ale. The name was, as explained by Joel, based on the desire to honor the night, but without any threat of D.C bringing a copyright infringement suit to the festivities, Feds potentially seizing the sausages!

The tasty beverage is described as a session American Pale Ale. We all acknowledge that such a name isn’t really recognized as a breed in the beer version of The American Kennel Club, but we get it. It’s not technically an IPA, though it’s made with Simcoe, Cascade, and Mosaic in the cook, and additionally dry hopped, thus described by the brewer as having “heroic hop flavor disguised as a mild mannered session beer.”

There’s been a trend and an effort on a number of brewer’s parts to create session IPAs. We’ve tried a couple that we found to be less than interesting. This one broke the mold. The hops gave off a great floral nose, the flavor naturally (at 4.9% ABV) on the mild side, but rather than coming off as “weak” there was a smoothness to it. Enough of a malt presence to give it some sweetness in the middle and enough of a bitter on the back end (35 IBU) to deal well with that spicy sausage we were pounding.

unnamedI’m always interested in a session strength beer that is interesting as I really won’t drink the normal American mass produced lagers and most tasty craft beer comes at you with a pretty high alcohol content. This is why I’ve been a strong advocate of Stone Levitation Ale, yet another ale that could call itself a session IPA based on hoppiness and nose, yet doesn’t.

Sadly, there are no official plans in the works to bottle TJAA at present, but it can be had, seasonally at the pub at Great Lakes. Check greatlakesbrewing.com for availability.

And on top of all the above at this lovely fest, we got a free Archie Digest!!!! Win, win!

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