This is, by far, the best thing to ever come out of Cleveland. I've shied away from this beer for quite some time. You know how you stand in the beer isle at the grocery store for ten minutes trying to find just the right beer for the occasion? Well, I've looked through and around Burning River many times. I've excused it for different reasons each time... 1: It's from Cleveland. 2: It has an extremely ugly label 3: I've tried a Great Lakes' selection in the past (Edmund Fitzgerald) and I wasn't impressed. 4: It's from Cleveland.
And what's the deal with its name? After a little research (I read the back of the bottle), I found that it's named after an incident in which the Cuyahoga River actually caught fire due to pollution in 1969. I find it slightly odd to name a beer after a man made disaster, but that's Cleveland for you... they gotta be proud of something!
Despite the funny name and silly packaging, Burning River might be my favorite beer of all time. As you take a drink, you get a strong, yet perfect caramel taste. As it goes down, the bitter aftertaste is exactly what hoppy beer enthusiasts strive to find. It isn't overwhelming, but you can definitely taste this beer's tangy hops. It certainly isn't a tailgate beer, but for a steak or pasta dinner, it's absolutely perfect.
Cheers to Cleveland! (I can't believe I just typed that)