Great Lakes Conway's Irish Ale | Great Lakes Brewing Co.

very good
493 Reviews
Read the review
Great Lakes Conway's Irish AleGreat Lakes Conway's Irish Ale

Brewed by:
Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Ohio, United States

Style: Irish Red Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by chilidog on 07-28-2002

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 493 | Ratings: 1,499
Photo of 57md
3.78/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance is a reddish-copper color with a thin layer of head. The nose is lightly malty. The flavor profile is clean and relatively light with a focus on malty sweetness. The finish is semi-dry and very pleasant. This is a very sessionable red ale.

 250 characters

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, with enjoy by date of 03/25/2014, which happens to be today, so I am just in time! Another new beer to me from Great Lakes Brewing Co., acquired as part of a mixed six pack at the local beer store.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - Pours a nice coppery amber colored body with one finger of fluffy off-white head. Thins to a nice ring with some good scattered lacing. Some decent clarity. Looks pretty good.

S - Smell is pretty minimal, but pleasant. Roasted malty nuttiness, and some underlying hints of indistinct hoppy fruitiness.

T - Taste follows the nose - smooth crisp malt body. Roasty and nutty. Light yeast character is detectable. Subtle hop resins. Malt forward and lovely.

M - Crisp and smooth. Excellent drinkability. Light-bodied with perfect carbonation.

Overall, a simple but excellent and tasty beer. Most everything I've had from Great Lakes has been delicious, and this one is no exception. I would definitely have it again.

Great Lakes Conway's Irish Ale ---4/5.

 1,012 characters

Photo of mikeg67
3.76/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle. Pours amber with tall, long-lasting, fluffy white head and lively carbonation. Aroma is of caramel malt, citrus hops and some fruit. Body is full and crisp. Earthy hops, caramel malt and tropical fruit fill the mouth.. Finish is long and semi-dry. Well made brew.

 277 characters

Photo of Bouleboubier
3.81/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

fairly clear and light brown in color, sort of red-tinged.... scant head or retention, minimal lace

somewhat bold toasted graham cracker malt aroma and flavor... a bit more toasty than I expected or is traditional.... some mellow sweetness in there

vague pear esters (or hop flavor?), mildly minerally.... actually, there is a fair bit of hop flavor and bitterness, but more so on the perimeters, in the near background

clean light-medium body with a slight tannic bite

all in all, it's a fine drinking beer... had the one - would've gone well with some buttery, flaky crust sort of food (pot pie?) if I'd had it.... when I was offered another one on the house, I gladly said yes.... it doesn't blow you away, but I would certainly pick up a sixer of this

 760 characters

Photo of StoneTSR
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

APPEARANCE: Deep mahogany and perfectly translucent. A thin head on top, about a quarter-inch thick pops up and quickly fades into a few wisps. Lacing is minimal.

SMELL: Very, very bready without much else going on in the nose.

TASTE: A big dose of sweet caramel malt is the most distinctive flavor, but by no means the only one. A nice mild spice keeps things interesting while a drying, bready finish provides some balance.

MOUTHFEEL: Very sweet to start, but dries throughout the sip. I expected this to be a much thinner beer, but it is medium bodied leaning towards the bigger side. It's really nice to have an Irish Red with some substance.

OVERALL: Slightly sweeter than I prefer, but without that sweetness the body would not have been as solid, so I'm good with it. Great Lakes still does not suck in my book! Great to try a new (to me) seasonal from them, I'm thrilled that the woman was able to bring some back from the brewery for me.

 950 characters

Photo of dahlen22
3.67/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Aroma: Bread, malt, and caramel.

Taste: Smooth is the word. Medium body with notes of bread, caramel, and a hint of hops in the end.

Overall: Extremely drinkable even at 6.5%. Not the normal Irish ale for sure. Almost has a New Belgium Fat Tire appeal in the smoothness and drinkability department. Have already went through 3 six packs, and I got another as this will be gone soon. Cheers!

 393 characters

Photo of superspak
3.88/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into signature pint glass, best before 4/7/2014. Pours fairly crystal clear orange copper color with a 1-2 finger dense off white head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cal that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, biscuit, toast, toffee, pear, apple, raisin, floral, herbal, pepper, light nuttiness, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance of malt, hop, and yeast ester notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, biscuit, toast, toffee, raisin, pear, floral, herbal, light pepper, light nuttiness, and herbal/toasted earthiness. Slight earthy herbal bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, biscuit, toast, toffee, raisin, pear, floral, herbal, light pepper, and herbal/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance of bready malt, yeast ester, and light-moderate hop flavors; with good robustness and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, and lightly bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very nice Irish red ale. All around good balance and robustness of bready malt, yeast ester, and light-moderate hop flavors; and extremely smooth to drink. A very enjoyable offering.

 1,409 characters

Photo of jwc215
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours much more amber than the "ruby red" that is described on the label. A thin, wispy head leaves a little lacing.

The smell is of caramel with very light toast and a touch of earthy hops.

The taste is of caramel, light toast with a bitter-ish finish. A bit of alcohol shows.

It has a malty smoothness to it and reaches medium-bodied.

An interesting, enjoyable American interpretation of an "Irish Red" - a bit hoppy and more alcoholic than traditional but it works for a different slant on the style.

 507 characters

Photo of justintcoons
3.9/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a shaker pint.

Crystal clear amber with 1-2 fingers of bone-white head. Good retention with low carbonation.

Lightly toasted bready malts, caramel, honey, and brown sugar.

Caramel, lightly toasted bread, and biscuity malts. Honeysuckle and brown sugar. Perhaps just the slightest touch of an earthy hop aroma.

Medium bodied, smooth, and sweet.

Bread, biscuit, honey, and caramel. Sweet and malty.

 466 characters

Photo of Gavage
3.76/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: pours a clear amber orange color with a 1" head that slowly falls. Spotty lace develops.

Smell: light fruity aroma is all you can detect.

Taste: caramel, bread, ripe fruit sweetness, some hints of toasted nuts, and a moderate bitterness nicely balances the sweetness.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer. Lightly crisp from start to finish. Aftertaste is brief and short-lived.

Overall: a very quaffable ale that is refreshing and hits the spot.

 455 characters

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
3.79/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into DFH footed pint glass; clear amber with a two-finger white head that falls after a bit into a cap/ring of foam.
Smell is toasted malt, some crackery sweetness.
Taste is simple and follows smell...toasted crackery malt, slight herbal hops in the end to give a slight crispness to the finish.
Mouthfeel is thin and slick, clean.
Overall, a tasty Irish Red. I can't remember what others of this style I've had, but this is a good beer.

 448 characters

Photo of Ohiolager
3.62/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

this is a great lakes brew i have never had before. so i had to try it!

Conway's Irish ale.$8.99 6pk bottles.(OH)

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

freshest taste date clearly marked.

poured a nice amber color. with a 1.5 finger head that rather quickly left a decent ring of lacing around the glass.carbonated just right, nice amount of bubbles from the glass etching.pouring it i did notice it was not as thick as some other GLBC brews.

it has a beautiful fruity, yet toasted malt smell. at first appearance it doesn't smell like a 6.5 abv brew.

the flavor is very smooth and inviting. you can taste the toasty and fruitiness that cant hide.medium bodied beer with a great toasty flavor and a slight warmth on the finish, and aftertaste.

the mouth-feel is as i thought, not watery but not as heavy as some other of their brews. the smooth coppery feel kind of reminds me of their Christmas ale.

overall a great beer by any means. however i did not enjoy it as much as other great lakes brews. that could be because GL couldn't make a bad beer if they tried.

 1,071 characters

Photo of barczar
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brilliant amber with a frothy tan head that lingers as a thin layer of foam.

Aroma is floral hops, light fruity specialty malt character, with a toasted malt base.

Flavor follows suit, with underpinnings of fruity malt character turning dry and bready mid palate, finishing with just a hint of bitterness. That malt fruitiness dominates.

Body and carbonation are moderate, with light alcohol warmth at the finish.

I'm not a huge malt fruitiness fan, but this at least has a nice malt backbone for support.

 517 characters

Photo of SerialTicker
3.5/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Best by 3/21/14. Poured 2/16/14.

Appearance: Poured aggressively, but no head really to speak of. Perfectly clear copper color. No lacing to be seen. Looks decent. (3.5/5)

Smell: One of those brews I don't have a chance of accurately describing. It just smells like beer. No specific fruit, no significant, out-of-place hoppiness, not a massively overpowering malt aroma... just smells like a balanced mix of hops, barley, yeast. All I can really add is that it offers a "red" aroma. The smell indicates that the flavor will be more maltier than hoppier. (3.5/5)

Taste/feel: Strange. I swear, I'm tasting a combination of vegetables. Potato skin, celery seed, tomato juice... the beer description mentions Conway as a "meat and potatoes" kind of guy, and this beer does truthfully have a cabbage soup sort of flavor (I can assure you this is not from the glass, by the way.) Entirely unexpected, considering the aroma gives no suggestions of that. Malt, a barrage of vegetative flavors, and then the aftertaste is a super subtle roasted "red" flavor. Thin initial mouthfeel that gets a bit thicker in the mouth (that's what she said). Medium carbonation at best. A truthfully strange beer in that it has some, again, very unexpected flavors. (3.5/5, 3.5/5)

Far from GLBC's best. It's an alright beer, but likely not one I'd pick up again. I don't hate it though, not at all. I'd definitely enjoy this with nothing else available.


 1,448 characters

Photo of delta490
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- came out of the growler a beautiful ruddy brown with a nice thick creamy white head. There is a moderate retention and some lacing.

S- mild, with some nice biscuit aromas

T- the flavor is rich and malty with just a hint of hops bitterness on the finish. There isn't really anything distinct, but it is good.

M- thinner, no noticeable carbonation, a little bite from the hops

O- not mind-blowing, but a solid, well-made Irish Red Ale

 440 characters

Photo of BEEER
3.96/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Nice orange-amber color with small white head and minimal messy lacing. Aroma and flavor are predominately amber malts, with no bitterness and a slight sweet fruitiness. Rich flavor, crisp and clean, with a light mouthfeel. 6.5% abv is completely masked and very easy to drink. Pretty good overall.

 298 characters

Photo of ZachKelly
3.66/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a traditional pint glass.

Pours a pretty amber color. Very minimal head and almost non existent retention. A slight, continual, carbonation.

Very minimal nose, disappointingly. Malt is the over-riding smell, with a slight roasted malt aroma. Almost smells like bread.

Maltiness again is the dominant factor, as it should be for the style. Toasted barley, very little bitterness. Bready with a sticky sweetness.

Sticky sweet mouthfeel. Good body, flavors linger.

 503 characters

Photo of jmw4437
3.65/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a amber-rust color with a tan head which dissipates into a ring around the glass fairly quickly.

S: Smells of caramel and malts dominate the aroma of the beer.

T: A sweet caramel, and malty flavors dominate early with a well balanced accompaniment of hops with just a bit of bitterness to balance the flavor.

M: An initial bite of carbonation is felt in the mouth but that is quick to end leaving a clean feeling on the palate.

O: Overall this is a good beer weather it is one that you want to have with a meal or sit on the couch on a Sunday and drink while watching a few games. I would definitely drink this again.

 630 characters

Photo of Chiefy770
3.48/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 fl. ounce bottle into a pint glass. Best by date of 3/25/2014.

Appearance: Clear orange-red body with a respectable head. Not the best lacing I've seen.

Smell: Bready grains. Smells a lot like a loaf of beer bread (If you've ever made it you know what I am talking about). Minor floral notes try to break through.

Taste: Sweet grains up front. Floral bitterness from the hops are there, they are just struggling to fully break through. Very malt heavy. Buttery toffee comes through in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation. Very smooth. Very drinkable but the abv suggests that this would not make the best session ale. Semi-dry finish.

Overall: This just seemed like an underwhelming Irish Red Ale. It certainly was not bad, but there are better examples of this style. The complexities were present, they just failed to balance this one out. Worth checking out if you are unfamiliar with this style.

 930 characters

Photo of Icedogs
4.27/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My favorite Irish/Red Ale of them all. So smooth and easy-drinking. Yes, I am quite biased in favor of Great Lakes Brewing Company because one of my best friends worked there for nine years and I've spent many a fine afternoon/evening at the place. But my preference for GLBC beer is primarily because the beers are almost always outstanding. Cheers!

 350 characters

Photo of WoodBrew
3.55/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Conway's Irish good. The label is awesome! Great Lakes is probably the best thing to come out of Cleveland since the Browns left for Baltimore. This beer pours a nice amber with no head and no lace. The scent is mostly caramel malt with biscuits. The taste is nothing remarkable or noteworthy...just solid. It is well balanced from start to finish. The mouthfeel is medium in body with so so carbonation. Overall it is a decent sessionable beer and worth a try.

 471 characters

Photo of BradtheGreat7
3.97/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This review was taken earlier this year the day it hit shelves here. It's a brew I've had multiple times(roughly 15-18 bottles) over the last few years. With the seasonal lineup changes going on at GLBC of late I want to get this into my review log.

12 oz brown bottle with the usual GLBC style labeling. This particular label displays Mr. Conway himself in his officer uniform. One of the things I appreciate most from GReat Lakes is their way of doing their bottlings In way that doesn't pay much attention to bright and flashy colors. Sure, I love that, but I enjoy the GLBC style all the same. Simple and black bordered labeling with a focus mainly on the quality of the liquid inside. I poured this into a Standard tall style 12 oz mug.

A - orange. Ruby orange we'll say with the slightest touch of amber red. Head was a shade of white leaving a nice semi sticky ring of lace. Not the most impressive of heads but it left enough to make for a very nice looking Irish ale.

S - very simple and down to earth aroma. Caramel malt make up the main piece with some herbal characters and some near fruity hops displaying touches of orange and softer dark fruit. A lot like plum. Aroma carries a sweet character due to the big punch of caramel in the front.

T - more of that bit caramel malt backbone with fresh herbal hops. Hop notes are soft and really just flow without any serious bitterness. Less dark fruit than in the nose, but a good dose of lemon and orange jump up from no where. Clean finish with more sweetness. Wonderful Irish sweetness.

M - pretty creamy texture and comes off a lot thicker to me than maybe it does to some. Simple medium body is refreshing and extremely drinkable. A beer you can have more than one of at any time. It carries some sweetness but its perfectly setup and nothing about it is crazy or too much of any one note. Exceptional balance and texture.

O - a truly underrated ale in today's craft beer world. A real hallmark on the roots of GLBC and what they are about. This Irish ale gets back to the basics of crafting exceptional brews and with the kind of stuff that's being created in the U.S. right now we sometimes forget these simple yet brilliant ales. This is reviewed based on what they accomplished with the idea they had. This wasn't intended to start a new trend or be an insanely flavored giant. This is the basics of brewing and done perfectly. Sometimes a beer doesn't have to be a 9% abv brew to get a high rating. I applaud beer like this done right.

 2,512 characters

Photo of ColdWaffles
3.36/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Conway's Irish Ale

Reviewed from notes from the Spring. 12 oz poured into a standard pint.

Appearance: Short white head with a red/amber color. Once the head dissipates, the surface looks slightly oily. 3.5/5

Smell: Not particularly strong. Grainy scent with a little hops. 3/5

Taste: Malt first, somewhat toasty and very clean. Easy to drink with a little bit of hops on the tail. Was surprised to see this was a 6.5% brew. 3.5/5

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body, light to medium carbonation with a slightly oily feel. 3.25/5

This is a little underwhelming for Great Lakes, but overall it's not too bad. Easily sessionable. 3.5/5

 635 characters

Photo of tectactoe
3.67/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Rusty, sunburst orange throughout with an otherwise nice clarity that's obscured by a gentle, yeasty haze. The head grows quickly and recedes not quite as fast; eggshell colored and fluffy as all hell, it leaves a few sheets of lacing on the glass, though they are pretty fast to run down back towards the top of the beer.

Hmm, wow, the nose is just a bit different than any other brew I've smelled before; perhaps (and most likely) because I haven't had too many Irish red ales. Malty sweet with rich caramel and buttery toffee aromas at capacity, followed up by a lighter, yet integral proportion of lightly fruity and somewhat grassy hops. Toasted malt is the key player here, and I would assume that the hops may be more aggressive when this beer is a bit fresher; I'll admit that it's just a little bit past its prime now.

Well, the nose wasn't lying; Conway's Irish Ale is a malty bomb that lays the pipe as soon as it hits your palate. Coming out a bit more robust than the aroma, the flavor smacks you with some faintly metallic caramel malts - sweet, rich, toffee-like, and toasty. Lighter bready flavors bring up the rear; somewhat buttery and toasty with a touch of burnt grains and graham cracker.

The hops are there, and even for being a touch over-the-hill, they still balance the malty sweetness nicely; a nice round of slightly floral and grassy hops roll through the flavor profile, hand-in-hand with an orange-like fruit juiciness that can't go unnoticed. Mildly bitter, enough to counteract the sweetness, but not enough to scrape any enamel away or anything like that. The finish lends a hand to some slightly nutty and woodsy, toasted malt flavors for a warm, dry finish. Thicker bodied than you'd expect with a mild stickiness that adheres to the sides of my mouth; a little cloying and teeth chattering in this respect.

One of my first of the style, I enjoyed it a bit, although I know I'd get tired of it after one bottle (much like I did this time around). The intense caramel and toffee malts are nice at first but can be a touch overwhelming after twelve ounces. Tasty brew, no doubt, but one is certainly enough for me.

 2,152 characters

Photo of atr2605
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a nice reddish amber color with an off white head with decent retention
S-bit of caramel, some slight biscuit and low hop aroma
T-a sweet and malty flavor that is dry and biscuity in the finish. Hops provide a nice balance and keep the finish short and clean
M-medium bodied
O-very well balanced and malty. Great example of the style

 341 characters

Great Lakes Conway's Irish Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.
3.81 out of 5 based on 1,499 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.