Quick Sud Beer Review – Great Lakes Brewing Company – Eliot Ness Vienna Lager

Eliot Ness Vienna Lager

Eliot Ness has strong ties to Cleveland, Ohio – home to Great Lakes Brewing Company.

If you were to put together a list of the most creative craft breweries on the market in terms of package design and branding, Great Lakes Brewing Company would no doubt be on everyone’s list. Their beer names alone bring together some of history’s greatest myths and legends – most of which would make today’s craft beer drinkers reach for their iPhone to research just who exactly the beer was named for. With monikers such as Commodore Perry, Edmund Fitzgerald, Nosferatu and Lake Eerie Monster, Great Lakes certainly has lots of Cleveland pride.

Speaking with a GLBC representative I learned that story and history are very important to Dan and Pat Conway who make sure every beer tells a meaningful story either about their company, Cleveland, or the Great Lakes Region. Eliot Ness Vienna Lager is no different and is a perfect example of this mantra.

So who was Eliot Ness?

Eliot Ness was a leading prohibition agent who was most famous for taking down Al Capone and his illegal breweries in the Chicago. He led a team of 9 top agents dubbed “The Untouchables” to seize illegal breweries worth in excess of a million dollars. His career in fighting crime and taking down one of history’s most infamous criminals has been chronicled in both television shows (The Untouchables, Robert Stack) and movies (The Untouchables, Kevin Costner). Outside of his fascinating career, Eliot Ness was also known to be a great story teller and social drinker, often frequenting the tavern that is now home to Great Lakes Brewing Company’s brewpub.

The beer

The Vienna Lager is so clear that I could feel Eliot Ness watch my every move while sipping it

The Vienna Lager is so clear that I could feel Eliot Ness watch my every move while sipping it

So how is the beer that bears his name? Let’s start with appearance.

The beer pours a reddish amber color with a sizeable, 2.5 finger off-white head. It is super clear and allows me to see Eliot Ness himself peering through my glass as the six pack sits in the background. Sweet malt aroma is prevalent with caramel scent breaking through bready and very light citrus notes.

The first sip is very sweet and resembles the aroma spot on; toasted malt, caramel and light American noble hops make this a pleasant sipping sud to break up your after work routine of other lagers in this family. As I continue to sip, I realize that the hops do not linger to take away from the sweet malty character.

After a long day of fighting crime or whatever your day job may bring, this is a great beer choice to help you unwind. Clocking in at 6.2ABV, Eliot Ness Lager is on the higher side of alcohol by volume for this style of beer, which means after a few of these you may find yourself spinning tales rivaling those of Eliot Ness himself.

Final thoughts

Eliot Ness Vienna Lager is a homerun for this style of beer. Not overly complex, sweet but with the perfect amount of hops added so you are not overwhelmed by the malty character. It is no unsolved mystery that in the Amber Vienna Lager style of beer, Eliot Ness is truly untouchable.

Official Quicksud Rating:

Eliot Ness Lager is untouchable in this style of beer.



Eliot Ness Amber Lager remains untouchable in this category.


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