Sunday, October 30, 2016

Barley John's Little Barley Session Ale

This 4.2% ABV session ale is from Barley John's Brewing. Their brewpub is in New Brighton, Minnesota, but their cans come from their facility in New Richmond, Wisconsin (which due to Byzantine various state alcohol laws, allows them to sell their cans in Minnesota, which they could not do from their own brewpub).

The beer pours a lightly hazed honey and dried apricot in color. There is a tall, thick, foamy head of white to off-white. The aroma is citrusy, orange, tangy. The taste follows the aromas, drinking light, citrusy and clean. There is very little bitterness in the finish. The beer drinks very light, smooth, and quaffable. This is definitely sessionable!



Boulevard Bob's 47 Oktoberfest

This is a 5.8% ABV Oktoberfest beer from Boulevard Brewing Company of Kansas City, Missouri. If you wondered about the name, as I did, it is a salute to a brewer, Bob Werkowitch, who graduated from the U.S. Brewer's Academy in 1947.

The beer pours a deep and clear copper and amber in color. There is a relatively short head of light tan. The aroma is malty, dark caramel, a touch of nut. The taste follows the aroma, deep and rich caramel malt, with a bit of nuttiness on the end. There is sweetness, but the finish is mostly dry and moderately bitter. The beer drinks very smooth, with soft carbonation. This is a very nice Oktoberfest.

 

Notes from 2011: This Oktoberfest is 5.8% ABV and pours copper in color with a half inch of light brown head.  The aroma is fairly light, caramel and fruit, light floral aromas.  The taste is malty, roasted and a bit sweet, caramel, nutty, with a bitter and dry finish.  This is a good American Oktoberfest beer.

Point Oktoberfest

This 4.9% ABV marzen-style Oktoberfest beer is from the Stevens Point Brewery in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. 

The beer pours a deep amber and copper in color. There is a half-inch of off-white head. The aroma is tangy and malty, sweet potato and caramel. The taste follows the aromas, mostly malty, toffee and caramel, with a bit of fruity plum. The beer drinks easy, smooth, with tingling carbonation. This isn't great, but it's a decent easy-drinking Oktoberfest.


Based on my  notes from 2010, this beer has improved (and the label has changed greatly):  Pours a pure light copper color with a creamy head.  The aroma is malty and sweet.  The beer is very malty, in a dark, slightly rancid, rye bread type of way.  It is very dry in the finish.  There are some beers whose maltiness I find unappealing, and this is one of them.




Saturday, October 29, 2016

F-Town India Pale Ale

This 6.8% ABV India Pale Ale is from F-Town Brewing of Faribault, Minnesota. It has a big 110 IBU's.

The beer pours a hazy orange-tinted honey. There is a tall, thick head of white foam that leaves layers of sticky lacing down the glass. The aroma is citrus, much orange, light passion fruit. The taste follows the aromas, a blast of orange and citrus over crackery, biscuity malt. The finish is fairly bitter, giving a quenching, grapefruit rind blast of astringent bitterness. Some dankness comes out in the aftertaste. The beer drinks very smooth, with soft to moderate carbonation. This is an overall very pleasant and tasty IPA.

Barley John's Cave Dweller Marzen

This is a big 8.0% ABV Oktoberfest marzen style of beer from Barley John's Brewing. Their brewpub is in New Brighton, Minnesota, but their cans come from their facility in New Richmond, Wisconsin (which due to Byzantine various state alcohol laws, allows them to sell their cans in Minnesota, which they could not do from their own brewpub).

The beer pours with a very light haze, a sparkling, deep copper in color. There is a half-inch head of off-white to light tan foam, not particularly long-lasting. The aroma is bright, malty, caramel and stone fruit, with a touch of nutty and herbal (think sarsparilla). The taste follows the aromas. The finish is moderately bitter, with a strange chemical note. The beer drinks smooth, with moderate carbonation. Crazy that this is 8.0% ABV! I like the idea of an Imperial Oktoberfest, and this has some very good notes, but it would be much better without that strange off-note in the finish.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Bauhaus Brew Labs Sky-Ten! DIPA

This is a 8.8% ABV and 90 IBU double India Pale Ale. It is from Bauhaus Brew Labs of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their regular IPA is Sky-Five, so double that, do the math, go "Over the Charts" and get this beer.

The beer pours a very deep and dark amber and copper in color. There is a very tall, bubbling, foaming head of off-white. The aroma is floral and spicy hops, with rich caramel and toasted malts. There is some dark fruits, along with melons and light tropical notes. The taste follows the aromas, hoppy, malty, spicy, sweet, tangy, with moderate bitterness on the finish. The beer drinks very, very smooth, with mild carbonation. This is a big, rich, round, ripe, and tasty DIPA.

Bauhaus Brew Labs Schwandtoberfest

This is a "seasonal curiosity", a 5.7% ABV seasonal limited release Bavarian-style Festbier. It is from Bauhaus Brew Labs of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The beer pours a deep copper and dark amber in color. There is a half-inch of light tan head. The aroma is malty, caramel, lightly nutty, floral, spicy. The taste follows the aromas, hitting the same notes. There is a solid malt base, but it drinks light and spicy, with some grassy bitterness on the finish. The beer drinks smooth with moderate carbonation.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Lost Lake

This "naturally brewed pilsner beer" is by Universal Sales, Inc. of La Crosse, Wisconsin. This is a City Brewery contract brewed product.

The beer pours a bright golden and yellow. There is about an inch of white head, not particularly long lasting. It is well carbonated. The aroma is bright, apples and grain cereal. There is more tang than a lager should have. The taste is mild grain, mild wet cardboard, not nearly as much tangy apple as in the aroma. There is some corn sweetness, and almost no bitterness. The beer has a stinging carbonation. Well, if you threw some malt o' meal cereal into cheap apple juice and drank it out of a corrugated cardboard box, then I think you would have this beer. If you are lost at a lake, and have no other beer, then by all means drinks this beer. Otherwise I would avoid it (although it is relatively inoffensive compared to many of the City brews).


Insight Troll Way IPA

This is a 7.0% ABV citrus India Pale Ale from Insight Brewing of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It's full name is "An Obstruction on the Troll Way."

The beer pours a lightly hazed honey golden and apricot. There is a very tall, bubbly, foaming head of white to off-white. The aroma is very citrus, aromatic, lemon and lime, peels and juice, along with some dankness and pine. The taste reverses the aromas, hitting with a blast of dankness, followed by the citrus, with a fairly bitter and very dry, grapefruit quenching finish. The beer drinks very soft and smooth, with gentle carbonation.

Third Street Brewhouse Oktoberfest Session Marzen

Third Street Brewhouse is the craft beer offshoot of the Cold Spring Brewery of Cold Spring, Minnesota. They are doing lots of cans now, and this is their seasonal 4.6% ABV marzen-style Oktoberfest beer.

The beer pours a very clear copper and amber in color. There is about an inch of white foam. The aroma is malty, caramel, a bit nutty, a bit of plum fruit. The taste hits all the same notes as the aroma. There is sweetness, but not overly so, with very light bitterness on the finish. The beer drinks exceptionally smooth and easy. This is one very nice drinking marzen.
 
 

Castle Danger Red Hop Rising

This 6.9% ABV red hoppy ale is from the Castle Danger Brewery of Two Harbors, Minnesota.

The beer pours a deep, dark reddish copper and amber. There is a very tall, thick, light tan head, fairly long-lasting. The aroma is hoppy and malty, warm, very fruity, tropical, melon, ripe, and a bit spicy with light pine. The taste follows the aromas, fruit and caramel, tangy and rich. The beer finishes with a moderate bitterness. It drinks very smooth and round, with soft carbonation. This is a very, very enjoyable red IPA, both malty and hoppy. If you like Furious, you would probably also really like this.
 
 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fulton Standard Lager

Standard Lager is a 4.8% ABV all malt lager from the Fulton Brewing Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The beer pours amber in color with a tall head of white to off-white foam. The aroma is clean, malty, caramel, with a light fruitiness. The taste follows the aromas, malty, toasted, caramel, touch of nut, and a bit of plum fruit. There is sweetness, but the finish is more dry, but with very low bitterness. The beer drinks very smooth, with moderate carbonation. This is a very solid amber lager.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Bauhaus Brew Labs Still Kickin

I just went to the 2016 Surly Darkness Day at the original Brooklyn Center brewery.  The bottle share at Darkness Day Eve is epic.  Before arriving at the brewery, I shopped for some beer around the Twin Cities.  There are so many beers out there, and they come out so fast, you really have to find a way to limit yourself somehow.  I decided to focus nearly exclusively on beers from Minnesota, and then make those mostly canned options. Even with that there is a huge selection available.  So, you are going to see a lot of reviews in the next several weeks of beers in a can from Minnesota.  Here is the first.

This summer seasonal is a 5.6% ABV pale ale with 50 IBU's. It is from Bauhaus Brew Labs of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The beer pours a hazy honey golden. There is a very tall, thick, foamy white head. The aroma is floral, ripe melons, and some tropical fruit notes. The taste follows the aromas, hitting the same notes. The finish has a moderate to intense floral bitterness. The beer drinks very smooth and soft on the mouth, with soft carbonation.  

Lone Star Beer

This beer of San Antonio, Texas used to be by the Lone Star Brewing Company. It is now a Pabst brand. Adolphus Busch built the "Lone Star Brewery" in 1884, and its Champion beer was rebranded in 1940 as Lone Star Beer.

The beer pours golden and yellow in color. There is over an inch of white head, but it is not long lasting. The aroma is cooked grains, and some cooked vegetable, a bit grassy, a bit bready, a touch of sweet. The taste follows the aromas, but the aromas are better than the taste. The taste is some kind of cooked grain, root veg mush. There is little to no bitterness on the finish. The beer drinks light with a stinging carbonation. This is not very good, even as adjunct lagers go.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Kalona Junior

This is a 5.1% ABV barrel aged stout.  It is from the Kalona Brewing Company of Kalona, Iowa. Their motto: "Heavenly Beers Brewed by Mere Mortals." So now we appear to be entering the area of barrel-aged session beers?

The beer pours black in color with a tall, thick, bubbly, ragged head of tan foam. The aroma is mild, this is not a giant, it is a junior. It has dark roasted malts, dark fruits, light char and light bourbon. The taste follows the aromas. The taste is very mild, the char is upped in the flavor, everything else is even more mild than the aroma. The beer has a very light body, a touch watery, with carbonation too high for the type of flavors here. The finish is dry and moderately bitter. This is okay, but just doesn't work all that well, with the body not matching the flavor profile.

 
 


Peace Tree Sure Shot

This 5.0% ABV kolsch-style ale is from the Peace Tree Brewing Company in Knoxville, Iowa.  According to their website, this is the beer formerly known as Sidekick Kolsch.

The beer pours a hazy golden in color. There is an inch of white, foamy head. The aroma is straw, crusty bread, bread dough, with an earthy leather note, and a touch of honey. The taste follows the aromas, hitting the same notes, tasting like an excellent lager, and tasting like what it is, an excellent kolsch. The beer drinks easy, with a refreshing carbonation, and a touch of smoothness. The finish is dry, with very little bitterness. This is a very enjoyable take on the kolsch style.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

August Schell Orbital Drift

This 3.9% ABV sour beer is from the August Schell Brewing Company of New Ulm, Minnesota.  Schell's was established in 1860 and I believe they are the second oldest family owned brewery in the United States, behind Yuengeling. This beer is part of their Noble Star Collection of Berliner weisse style beers that they make in their original 1930's cypress tanks.

The beer pours chestnut brown and amber in color. There is a short and short-lived head of light tan. The aroma is tart and fruity, lighter underlying caramel and wood. The taste follows the aromas, but ramps up the tartness exponentially from the aroma. The other notes present in the aroma begin to increase as you get used to the sour notes. The end has a tart, fruity, vinous quality. The finish is dry and tart. The beer drinks easy, light, smooth. Yep, tart, but also all around well done.

Clown Shoes Bluegrass Billionaire

Clown Shoes Beer comes from the Mercury Brewing Company of Ipswich, Massachusetts. This is a 12.5% ABV English-style barleywine aged in bourbon barrels.

The beer pours a hazy dark brown. There is a relatively short head of off-white to very light tan head. The aroma is deep malt, roasted, caramel, toffee, dark fruits, and bourbon. The taste follows the aromas, hitting the same notes. The beer drinks easy, mostly smooth, with a bit of a bite of carbonation and alcohol at the end. The big malts actually mask the high ABV quite well, but it is warming. This is a straightforward and enjoyable BA barleywine.
 

Toppling Goliath Sol Hunter

The Toppling Goliath Brewing Company is in Decorah, Iowa. They make the best beers in Iowa, and some of the best beers in the country. This is one of their delicious pale ale variations.

The beer pours a cloudy honey golden and apricot in color. There is over an inch of very thick, foamy head, off-white. The aroma is a huge smack of tropical fruits, with much passion fruit, guava, and passion fruit skin. The taste follows the aromas, with a huge wave of rich, round, ripe tropical, then very earthy, then well-toasted malt. The finish is dry and comes to a very abrubpt, fairly bitter end. The beer drinks smooth and round, with tingling carbonation. This is another wonderful TG palate and neural shifter.

The Untapped listing for this beer says it is a refined version of the Xhops Red. Does anyone know if this is in fact true?


 
 
 
 

Odell St. Lupulin Extra Pale Ale

This 6.5% ABV extra pale ale is from the Odell Brewing Company of Fort Collins, Colorado.

The beer pours a hazy, deep honey, dark golden color. There is a tall, thick, foamy head of white to off-white foam. The aroma is citrus and floral. The taste is floral first, citrus tang, over biscuity malt. The finish is lightly to moderately bitter. The beer drinks very smooth, with tingling carbonation.



 


New Belgium Lips of Faith Golden Ale with Hof ten Dormaal

This 7.0% ABV golden ale is from New Belgium Brewing of Fort Collins, Colorado. It is part of their "Lips of Faith" series of limited releases. They are often collaborations, and this one is done with Hof ten Dormaal Brewery of Tildonk, Belgium.

The beer pours a hazy, but gleaming, golden in color. There is a half-inch of white head. The aroma is floral, bread dough, along with some tangy fruitiness. The taste follows the aromas, adding in additional sweetness, and fruity, yeast esters. The finish is part sweet, part dry, with a light floral bitterness. The beer drinks very smooth and soft. This is nicely put together, I like what they did here.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Bent River Sweet Potato Ale

This is a 4.81% ABV fall seasonal sweet potato ale. It is from the Bent River Brewing Company of Rock Island, Illinois (original brewpub in Moline, Illinois). Their motto: Get Bent!

The beer pours a cloudy dark apricot in color. There is a short head of light tan foam. The aroma is pumpkin pie spices and sweet potato, smelling like a liquified sweet potato or pumpkin pie. The taste follows the aromas, adding in a bit of tart, but coming to a dry, nearly chalky finish. The beer drinks with fizzy carbonatoin. The aroma is nice, the taste okay, but the chalky finish is disconcerting; and it needs a smoother, less fizzy body for its flavors.

Odell Oktoberfest

This is a 6.1% ABV Oktoberfest marzen-style lager from the Odell Brewing Company of Fort Collins, Colorado.

The beer pours a dark copper and amber in color. There is a short head of off-white to very light tan foam. The aroma is tangy, grassy, fruity, malty, nut and light sweet potato. The taste follows the aromas, hitting the same notes, there is sweetness, but not overly done. The finish has a light bitterness. The beer drinks very smooth and easy, with soft carbonation.



Warsteiner Dunkel

This 4.8% ABV dunkel  or "dark" lager is from the Warsteiner brewery in Warstein, Germany. 
The beer pours a very dark brown, cola colored. There is a relatively short head of very light tan foam. The aroma is dark roasted malts, nutty, roasted, toasted. The taste follows the aromas, hitting all the same notes. There is a bit of sweetness, and then nutty roast, with a mostly dry finish. The bitterness is light. The beer drinks light and easy, but with quite a bit of flavor.