Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews


Greenbush Brewing
Sawyer, MI

Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 7.6%

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

Pair With:
In the film Blues Brothers, just after Jake and Elwood escaped the M-16-toting (and probably thoroughly stoned) Carrie Fisher, and Elwood utters his beautifully terse summation of what lies before them—with Jake’s equally terse response: “Hit it.”—the Bluesmobile blasts out of a tunnel, knocking the old air raid siren that they were using as a megaphone from the top of their car, and the brothers make their getaway amid a hail of gunfire from what appears to be the entire force of the Illinois State Patrol (and the vengeful Carrie Fisher to boot).

In the movie that scene took place just outside the Palace Hotel Ballroom, a nice place “up north,” built in the ’40s on picturesque Lake Wazapamani. Of course, neither the ballroom or lake actually exist (well, the ballroom does, sort of), and the outdoor tunnel scene was in reality shot in Lincoln Park in the heart of Chicago, not 106 miles away. In fact, if Jake and Elwood really would have come flying out of that tunnel at that speed, they’d probably be at the bottom of Lake Michigan right now. And maybe one out of all those rc helicopter bullets fired by all those Illinois State Troopers (and Carrie Fisher) would have sailed straight across Lake Michigan and hit someone in tiny Sawyer, Michigan.

Which, as it just so happens to turn out, is the provenance of tonight’s featured beer, Anger, from Greenbush Brewing Co., a Cascadian dark ale, more commonly known among the beerati (fermenati?) as a black IPA. Just as its stylistic moniker—no matter which one you prefer—professes, Anger pours just this side of pitch black with an impressively thick, nougoat-colored bed of big-bubbled foam.

The appeal—at the moment, anyway, in today’s ever-changing craft beer trends—of the Cascadian dark ale is that your eyes are telling you to expect a stout, with all that roast and toast and chocolatey maltiness, but, while you still get those facets in some varying degrees, you also get popped in the chops with some hops. Actually, not some hops, but a lot of hops, hence the “black IPA,” as some folks like to call them.

And Anger delivers. The nose is all bright green pineyness from the Amarillo, Simcoe, and Cascade finishing hops, with none of the maltiness you’d expect for a brew so dark. The sip, on the other hand, is an outright brawl from the get-go between chocolate maltiness and pungent bitterness from a big, gashing dose of Columbus hops, with tiny hints of smokiness bobbing and weaving in between for good measure. This culminates with a short and distinctly bitter finish to each sip. Warmer, the malty, chocolate notes begin to fight back, even creeping into the nose toward the end of the glass.

This is a big, brawling Cascadian dark/black IPA, approaching an imperial stout in both strength (7.6 percent ABV) and attitude, an enticingly complex, appropriately named beer from an exciting new brewery. If you like your brews big, black, and bitter, a few bottles of Anger are in order. Just be sure to pay your bill afterward, especially if you’re at Bob’s Country Bunker.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on November 25, 2013.
Agree with this review?