LAKEFRONT BREWERY has a penchant for voluptuous, occasionally even gluttonous beers. Sometimes a beer’s stylistic framework is robust enough to bear Lakefront’s interpretation, and sometimes it flounders beneath a surfeit of sugars. Bridge Burner, assigned to that most nebulous of categories, ‘strong ale’, seemed destined for the latter course of excess, but instead emerges as an appealing winter-is-coming warmer.
Taking its fiery moniker to heart, Bridge Burner has a warm amber color and solid head the color of wet wood. Its aromas continue the arboreal theme, layering toasty caramel on a pronounced pine hop backbone. Both are also prominent in the flavor and manage to combine, not collide, with the generous prickle of carbonation. The body is rather full but the assertive hops make it seem lighter, while a dose of its 8.5% ABV heat counters a sappy residue that lasts on the lips. The finish is a little one-note and the beer overall a bit unrefined, but it remains is a commendable choice for a fireside evening at the cabin.
Served: On tap (Beer Hoptacular, Chicago)