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Thirsty Thursday: Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Holy Moses White Ale


Welcome to Thirsty Thursday, a weekly column where we pick a beer from our fridge and review it, because in a world where two new breweries launch every single week, sometimes we need some help sifting through all of the hops.  


As I was walking around the beer store recently, it became tough to choose what I would stock my refrigerator with – mainly because it’s a weird time of year.  The dog days of summer are in full effect and it’s ridiculously hot outside, which can really make it difficult when selecting the perfect beer.

Passing by the Oktoberfest selections – with brand-spanking-new displays – while trying not to drool, I decided to stop off in the wheat beer section and although I’m tiring from the light-bodied beers of summer, nothing else would do in this ungodly heat – and then, like a sign from heaven, I spotted Holy Moses White Ale, a year-round effort from Great Lakes Brewing Company that I have never tried.

While I might have just a couple more religious puns in my repertoire, I’ll spare you and just get to explaining a little about the history of Great Lakes Brewing, the first microbrewery in the state of Ohio.  Unofficially starting back in 1986 by two brothers who had an extensive beer-making background, the two chose Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood as the location to create their beer and they brewed less than 1,000 barrels, for kegs only, in the first year – bottles wouldn’t come along until the following year.  Through expansion and a passion for making unique beer for Northern Ohioans, Great Lakes now produces well over 100,000 barrels and is currently celebrating its 30 anniversary, as evident on its bottle caps which claim it was established in 1988.

The artwork displayed both on the bottle and the six-pack – which only cost me $10 at my local spot – features a man in revolutionary attire, complete with wig, parting some body of water.  Yes, it is Moses – only it’s Moses Cleveland and, upon a little research, the water represents the famous Cuyahoga River where he landed in 1796.  That’s mentioned on the label, as well as what gives the beer its taste:

Refreshment of bust! Orange peel, coriander, and chamomile stake their claim in this unfiltered White Ale, named for our fair city’s founder, Moses Cleveland.

Holy Moses isn’t just a typical White Ale, no it’s an award winning White Ale.  In 1996, this 5.4% alcohol by volume and 20 rating on the International Bitterness Units beer took home a gold medal at the World Beer Championships.  And now, for the first time, it can be purchased throughout the year – new for 2018.  It features Mt. Hood hops, Harrington malts and the aforementioned ingredients listed on the label.  According to Great Lakes, Holy Moses pairs perfectly with seafood, light cheeses and civic pride.

After popping the cap, I gave this brew a sniff – and it smelled awesome.  While I noticed a lemon and spice smell, there’s no denying the potent aroma of banana that Holy Moses give off.  Pouring it was easy, since there’s not a ton to this light-bodied beer, and the color was golden with an off-white head.  The taste is unique and not like anything I’ve had before.  Sure, most wheat beers are similar in taste, but Great Lakes managed to add a nice lemony citrus flavor, with a faint banana taste to go along with the smell.  It has a very shandy feel to it.  For the record, if anyone tells you they taste the chamomile, they have a much more advanced palate than I do.  This is a pretty solid witbier and although there might not be anything abundantly sexy about it, there’s something to be said for its simplicity.  It’s undeniably refreshing and perfect in this heat – not to mention I could drink like 1,305,678 of them – or like a six-pack, let’s be realistic here.

Your friends might dig Holy Moses as well, if they’re into simple, slammable beers.  I was burned a while back on a Great Lakes beer, which will remain nameless, so I was a little hesitant to purchase this one but I must say that I’m very pleasantly surprised here.  Checking the rating on BeerAdvocate, it looks like it scored a 3.79 (out of 5), which I think is pretty spot on – and that’s why I give it a 7.7 (out of 10).  Give it a try, you might appreciate it’s shandy-like taste, but with more wheat and without the abundance of lemonade flavor.  Perhaps I just had a bad effort last time around but, either way, I’ll have to try more of the Great Lakes lineup.  Oh, and for the record, we really want to get our hands on this Joe Thomas inspired beer (a little help):

Stay tuned for next week, because I might just try something from your favorite brewery.