Beer Review – Conway’s Irish Ale by Great Lakes Brewing Co.


So for my first edition of “A beer you should know…” I focused on a brewery that helped inspire me to become a craft brew acolyte, Ommegang and their Three Philosophers Lambic infused Quad. For my sophomore article I wanted to do the complete opposite, and talk about a beer that is a newer crush of mine…  and that is Conway’s Irish Ale by GLBC.

Great Lakes Brewing Company was founded in 1988, and was Ohio’s first craft brewery. The brewery was founded by Patrick and Daniel Conway, whose goal was to not only revitalize the stagnant beer scene of Cleveland, and Ohio in general, but to create high quality beers untainted by chemicals, preservatives or pasteurization… essentially a quasi-organic project. It didn’t take long for them to establish themselves in the North American beer scene, they started taking gold medals in 1990, a scant two years after inception. When they first started their journey they were making a meager 1,000 barrels of beer, and now are up to a very respectable 125,000 barrels. Despite their significant growth in production and popularity over the past 26 years, GLBC is as dedicated to quality as they’ve ever been, and many craft brew die-hards are looking to them as one of the golden standards of the American beer scene!

Now let’s get down to business and talk about Conway’s Irish Ale.

In the glass you’ll find a moderately clear, light amber presentation with an off white head that quickly dissipates and leaves no lacing. On the nose I’m finding notes of caramel, lightly burnt toast and earthy hops. For the most part the palate reflects the nose, with an added nuance of citrus in the opening. The toasty notes come through in the relatively long and somewhat chewy finish, that has just a touch of warmth at the very end from the 6.5% ABV.

For an Irish Ale, a style I like but don’t necessarily love, this beer leaves me extremely satisfied. It’s relatively simple in flavor profile and mouthfeel, but it’s a great easy going every day drinker. You don’t need to sit around with your beer geek friends and mind screw it, you just enjoy it!

Patrick and Daniel did their Grandpa Patrick proud with this one… Yeah, he’s the officer on the bottle. His beat was in the same neighborhood as the brewery back in the day. God it’s cool having that type of family history in the area you call home!

As far as scores go… well the beer scene can’t seem to decide if they want to focus on a 5 point or 100 point scale, but for some reason I’ve always been partial to the 0-5, so that’s where I’ll go here.

My score for Conway’s Irish Ale… 4.05

Now let’s talk food pairings… I’m thinking stews, grilled pork, veal or boar chops, and believe it or not, a grilled cheese sandwich! Damn, now I want grilled cheese.

So that’s my latest review, take it or leave it. More new content coming soon, but in the meantime crack open a kickass craft brew, sit back, and relax. Life is short, enjoy it!


Published by Derek Martin

Husband, dad, home cook, wine snob... lover of bacon. I have spent my entire adult life surrounded by fine food and fine wines, starting with fifteen years working at, or running, some of New Jersey's top restaurants, and now the last two years working for one of the top fine wine distributors in the United States. I have absorbed a ton of information on food, wine, pairings and techniques during those seventeen years, and I'd love to share what I've learned with you!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: