11/4/22: Great Notion Brewing's Unbalanced Breakfast

2:17 PM

Great Notion is a brewery of no small renown that, until this post, I've never tried. Men with greater fame and wealth than my own have claimed it to be "...the best beer on the planet, man."



While I have no doubt that the brewery's beer is really cool, I'll have to see if they do, in fact, make the world's best beer. Only one way to find out. Tag along as I crack into Maple Month '22's first brew: Unbalanced Breakfast.

Great Notion was founded by three friends in (what a buddy of mine calls) Beervana: Portland, OR. They have a near-metric ton of awards under their belt (so maybe they really do make the best beer on the planet?) and an extensive sour ale barrel aging program, to boot. They also have six different operating locations, all based in the Pacific Northwest.

Unbalanced Breakfast is one of the brewery's sour ales. Its Untappd page (since it doesn't have an official page on GN's website) lists its adjuncts as blueberry puree, maple syrup, milk sugar, and coffee. The affair's one of the lighter ones I'll get to this month, at 6.5% ABV.

The ale's bouquet is all blueberries and maple syrup on the fore with a dose of souring bacteria lurking just behind these aromatics. A return whiff grants me some deeply roasty black coffee--bitter and strong. There's a hint of vanilla mingling with the blueberry that denotes a particularly muffin- or doughnut-like quality. All told, yeah, the ale smells like breakfast. Purrl gave my can seven whiffs.


That sourness is much more prevalent in the beer's flavor profile. Here it's sharp, like those teeny tiny extremely bitter blueberries you find nestled in cartons you buy at the supermarket. After this, there's a quick wash of coffee before the maple syrup hits, all sticky sweet, lingering into the finish with the blueberry sourness and a grounding, final bite of that bitter black coffee. 

Unbalanced Breakfast's mouthfeel's not a bitey as I thought it'd be, given the sharpness of its sour flavor. It's full and somewhat creamy. Really, this is expertly crafted.

I'm drinking this during a November evening, but the ale has a definite cold brew quality to it. I can imagine waking up (on some weekend day) in the summer and grabbing a can from my fridge in the morning before settling into some yard work. This isn't a lawnmower beer, but it's maybe a weeding beer? Or a car washing beer?

Okay, so, is Great Notion the maker's of Earth's greatest beer? Well, Unbalanced Breakfast is up there, but I've had (fruited sour) beer I like more. But, this is the only beer I've had from the brewery, so I can't yet say whether I'm wholly in disagreement with those island lads. This is, truthfully, a strong start to Maple Month. The ale earns a solid 9.0/10.

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