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Post Column: Great Lakes' Eliot Ness fails to impress critics

While our last few beers have been exquisite and impressive, this week we sampled a beer that makes us say, “Meh.” Staying local, we tried Cleveland’s Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Eliot Ness. While we don’t have high opinions of most things from Cleveland, the two of us have always had much respect for Great Lakes and have frequently enjoyed their seasonal Christmas Ale and Conway’s Irish Ale.

Great Lakes also has some excellent year-round beers such as Edmund Fitzgerald and Burning River. We nestled into a booth at The Union, where they offer a nice variety of Great Lakes beers, and sipped on a few.

Since we had Eliot Ness in the bottle, we have little to say about the color. We’ll guess that it’s a shade of brown. Probably a boring shade, with boring being the running theme of this beer. It smells like you’d expect a beer to smell: some wheat, some hops and very little alcohol, which is odd given its 6.2 percent alcohol by volume.

Up front, there’s a hardly noticeable fizz. Some hops are present, but not much. There is absolutely no middle taste. The label on the bottle claims that there is a slightly sweet finish, but that isn’t true. There is some bitterness, and the aftertaste is rather unpleasant.

Overall, though, Eliot Ness is just another amber beer. It isn’t the best amber beer in Athens (that’d be Jackie O’s Firefly), and it isn’t the best Great Lakes beer either. It isn’t fun; it isn’t even inoffensive. It doesn’t make you smile, much less blow you away.

You have to ask yourself this tough question: With all the good beer available in Athens, why settle for beer that is just barely OK? And Eliot Ness is $10 for a six-pack. At that price, is it worth your hard-earned (or too easily loaned) cash? We’d say no. Try it once at most. But if you’re looking for our opinion (and we’d hope you are since you’re reading this), here it is: Sit this one out, fellow beer drinkers. It just isn’t worth it.

Jared Henderson and Patty Arnold are seniors studying philosophy

and biological science, respectively, at Ohio University and columnists for The Post. What beer should be on their radar? Email them at and

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