Saturday, August 13, 2022

Breweryoke!

Brewing beer. Singing karaoke. Breweryoke.


The beer is a mild American Pale Ale. It'll get dry-hopped with Cascades from our own hop garden!

Friday, August 12, 2022

Cleaning Öchslebräu

 Getting ready for tomorrow!



Sunday, July 24, 2022

Sunken Ship Brewing, Princeton MN

Minnesota's newest brewery is also the closest brewery to our house! Sunken Ship Brewing will open on Saturday, July 30. They held a soft opening last night, and it was worth the wait.


They're located at 32273 124th Street, just off the Rum River Road exit on Highway 169, in a renovated boat repair shop. Hence the nautical theme, and as an added bonus, the brewery's floor was already sloped and drained properly.



There's a big patio out front and another smaller one in back, along with a fenced-in dog park for your pups. Well-behaved dogs are also welcome inside.


The interior is essentially two big rooms: the bar and the brewery.

The brewing equipment is from Craft Kettle Brewing Equipment in New Orleans.


And of course, the beer. Princeton native and Minnesota beer veteran Bobby Blasey plans to have all sixteen taps flowing soon. As of yesterday, there were three actual beers, two grocery beers, and a couple of seltzers.

I started with the Uncharted Odyssey. As billed, it was a crisp, clean light beer. Damn tasty and refreshing.

Next up was the Aran Sweater Stout. Lots of chocolate malt, and a herbal, almost minty hop flavor. Definitely worth having another.

Finally, the Graceful Insanity Hazy IPA. Intensely citrusy, but without the annoying slick mouthfeel that so many hazys have, I enjoyed this one too.

Paris enjoyed the Ships Bounty Sour, saying it had more strawberry character than raspberry. It was kinda thick, and so didn't have the bone-dry scrape-off-your-tooth-enamel tartness.

Sunken Ship's grand opening runs from 11am-11pm, Saturday, July 30. Live music begins at noon and runs for the duration. Two food trucks will be on hand, and the first 100 attendees get to spin the wheel for prizes.

See you there!

New Jersey Continues To Be The Armpit of America

I couldn't do better than Breweries in Pennsylvania's headline for this article. If you need a reminder of just how odious New Jersey is, read on.

The passing of this ruling means New Jersey breweries are now limited to the following:

• Hosting only 25 on-site activities per year (Events such as trivia, live music, etc.)

• Host only 52 private parties per year

• Attend only 12 off premises events per year

In addition to the above, this ruling also prohibits breweries from the following:

• Selling coffee on site

• Collaborating/ coordinating with food vendors/trucks

• Selling food or operating a restaurant

• Selling specialty cocktails using malt alcohol

• Offering a free drink to any guest

• Offer Happy Hour pricing

And get this: during the height of COVID, New Jersey allowed breweries to offer free beer to customers to incentivize them to get the vaccine. Now, fourteen months later, it's illegal.

It's obvious that the restaurant lobby has put enough money into the New Jersey State Legislature to buy punitive measures for their competition. It's disgusting that that's allowed to happen, and it could happen to breweries near you as well.

Read the whole story at Breweries in Pennsylvania

Friday, May 20, 2022

OTAN Olutta!

A small brewery in Finland has launched a NATO-themed beer to mark the Nordic country’s bid to join the Western military alliance.

Olaf Brewing's OTAN lager features a blue label with a cartoon version of a beer-drinking medieval knight in metal armor emblazoned with NATO’s compass symbol.

The beer's name is a play on the Finnish expression “Otan olutta,” which means “I’ll have a beer,” and the French abbreviation for NATO, which is “OTAN.”

CEO Petteri Vanttinen ... described the new lager as having “a taste of security, with a hint of freedom.”

Read the whole story at NBCDFW.



Wednesday, May 4, 2022

A nice day for the Beer Dais

 60°, fairly sunny...a nice day for outdoor beers 



Sunday, May 1, 2022

Sadness and Fun in Saint Paul

I've had some Tin Whiskers canned beers, and they've been pretty tasty. On Friday, I finally paid them a visit to have some in person.


The menu was kinda limited, but they had a fair Vienna Lager, a magnificent Sweet Stout, an excellent Imperial Stout, and a real good barrel-aged version of the same.

Now the sad news: Tin Whiskers is closing next Saturday, May 7, after eight years in business. So if you haven't had a chance to try their beers yet, or you want to enjoy them one more time, you'd best do it soon. We picked up three crowlers of the Imperial Stout to savor later.

Google Maps sent us in a bit of a circle on the short drive to MetroNOME Brewery, but we got there anyway. This is a new place that uses money from their beer sales to fund musical instruments, lessons, and education for underprivileged youth in the Twin Cities Metro Area.


Nice place, fun people, good beers with great music-themed names. My favorite of the bunch was the Acoustic EPA, a 5.1% abv "extra pale ale" with a huge orange-citrusy hop flavor and a real nice bitterness backed by a graham cracker maltiness. But all of the beers were pretty tasty.

Next stop: Saint Paul Brewing, not far away. (There are a lot of breweries in and near downtown Saint Paul.) This is a spectacular place in the old Hamm's Brewery complex.

Their beer garden is in the now-outdoor ruins of the old ice house.


They had a couple excellent beers here too. Smoke on the Lager is nicely smoky and a little sweet. Hidden Passage is an English-style IPA, biscuity and fruity.

11 Wells Distillery is right next door, so we stopped in there for a Rye.


And finally and as usual, Aegir Brewing is on the way home, and as it happens, they have a new beer on tap. #11031 Unsolicited Deck Pic is a pretty tasty Hazy IPA, as Hazy IPAs go.


And Moose and I went back to Aegir on Saturday for a couple glasses of Shield Maidens Blonde just for good measure.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Weekend Beers

The weather was kinda crap this weekend, so it seemed like a good idea to drink more beer.

Here are a few more from nearby Lupulin Brewing:

#11005 Lupulin La Flama Blanca is a real tasty, clean, hoppy beer. Citrusy, floral, with a nice bready maltiness.


#11006 Lupulin Straight Hash Homie is a pretty typical hazy IPA. Thick, slick, and fizzy.


And finally, #11007 Lupulin Adult Sophistication is a nice Barleywine, nicely complex and really dangerous at 12.5%abv.


Back at home, we knocked back a few cans on Saturday.

#11008 Toppling Goliath Pompeii is an unusually tasty hazy IPA, hopped with Mosaic. Fruity and citrusy and reasonably well balanced, it's definitely a cousin of pseudoSue. We found the can at Northbound Liquor in Elk River MN.


A lucky find at the Costco in St. Cloud was this can, #11009 Surly Barrel-Aged Darkness 2022, an incredibly tasty complex strong beer,. Its 12% abv is very well hidden. We saved a second can to taste next year.


Three more from Northbound, starting with #11010 Warrior Valkyrie. It's a 5.5% abv Golden Honey Ale. Good beer, a little sweet for me.


I think I tasted the next one during an Omaha Beer Week event a couple years ago, but I must not have written it down. #11011 Stone Fear. Movie. Lions. is not a bad beer, as hazy Double IPAs go. Fruity Pebbles and citrus hops. The beer's name comes from the what3words version of the location of Stone's Richmond VA brewery.


And one more from Warrior, #11012 Warrior Samurai Imperial Red. Big, and yet kinda thin. Huge fruity hops and dark caramel malt. Finishes more balanced than it starts.


It seems like we just made a beer run, and yet the tasting fridge stands empty once more.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Tag des deutschen Bieres

April 23 is German Beer Day, the anniversary of the Reinheitsgebot.


And here am I with no German beers in the house.

Schlechte Planung.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Plans (or ideas, anyway)


 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

A nice day for a beer or six

 Forty degrees and sunny yesterday, so we got out of the house to enjoy the day.

First stop: Hayes' Public House, about 45 minutes away in Buffalo MN. Good beers in a fun Irish-type pub setting. They've also got firepits and tables out front, and a patio on the roof with a great view of Buffalo Lake.

I'm a big fan of smoke beers, so I went straight for the Folliard's Smoked Irish Ale, pulled from a cask.


It's a Real Tasty Beer, although it wasn't all that smoky. A beer engine really makes for a smooth, creamy beer, but CO2 does release the aromas more efficiently.

I'm also a big fan of Schwarzbier, and they just happened to be pouring their Black Lager.


Medium body, chocolatey, and malty. Another real good beer. (That's Paris and Choo waiting for me to join them in the raising of the glasses; Kathy is just off-camera to the right.)

Heading back in the general direction of home, and after some Navigator misnavigation, we were at Bauernhof Klause Tap Haus & Bourbon Room in St Michael MN. There's a surprising number of good beers on tap, and an even more suprising number of bourbons on the shelf! Kinda spendy, but you have to pay for quality.


I've always said that a great name sells the beer, so I was drawn immediately to WarPigs Waking the Witch. I'm pretty sure this is brewed by 3 Floyds, but they might contract it out to Summit. In any case, it's a terrific Black IPA, malty and roasty and grassy.

The shot of Whistlepig Old World Cask Finish Rye 12 year required a chaser, so I ordered a nice, clean Third Street Minnesota Gold. Billed as a premium lager, it was refreshing and surprisingly flavorful.

We're running short on beer at home, so we made a quick stop at Northbound Liquor to stock up. No idea what we bought, though; it's still out in the car.

Finally, not that we needed a reason, but Aegir Brewing is right on the way home. They didn't have anything new on tap, but I enjoyed several Oaked Whiskey Rye IPAs and Allfathers Porters.


And now, a restful Sunday!

Saturday, April 9, 2022

#11000 Aegir Zekey Less Freaky

 And there it is! Aegir's new Tripel, Zekey Less Freaky, is beer #11000!




A timeline of thousands

 Funny, yesterday I realized that this year — January 3, to be exact — is the 30th anniversary of Beer Me! Because of some bookkeeping confusion in those early days, the first beer I recorded is actually listed as #1953, Blitzen Barleywine from the long departed La Jolla Brewing Company in California. (I had driven down to the San Diego area for the spectacular "Ring of Fire" solar eclipse.)

The first beer in the notebooks, beer #1 was Butterfield San Joaquin Golden Ale, on March 22, 1993. I had it at Pacific Coast Brewing in Oakland CA, my local hangout back in those days. Of course, time goes on, and Butterfield and Pacific Coast have closed since then.

  • #1000: Redhook Märzen, June 7, 1995 at The HopYard in Pleasanton CA, my other favorite hangout back then. I wasn't really a fan of Redhook beers, apparently.
  • #2000: Bellows Steam Lager, August 12, 2000 at The Great Taste of the Midwest. That's a great festival, but good luck getting tickets. I visited Bellows in 2002, but they've closed since then.
  • #3000: De Troch Chapeau Tropical Lambic, July 25, 1998 (more bookkeeping confusion) at 1st Wines and Spirits in Allouez WI. This was back in the day when I would try pretty much anything, even though I had already recognized my aversion to grocery beers by then.
  • #4000: Avery Hog Heaven, October 28, 2001 at Chicago's amazing Map Room. I spent some time there when I was at Siebel in 1998. Three years later, when Paris and I visited, the bartender remembered me! (Hog Heaven is a fantastic beer, by the way.)
  • #5000: Köstritzer Maibock, August 6, 2003, at the wonderful Essen Haus in Madison. Köstritzer Schwarzbier is one of my all-time favorites; their others are drinkable.
  • #6000: Elysian Whoville Weizenbock, April 13, 2006, at Elysian's "The Hill" brewpub in Seattle. Great beer. This was about nine years before the buyout.
  • #7000: Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop Ale 2008, May 9, 2008 at another of my local hangouts, Omaha's Crescent Moon Alehouse. Sierra Nevada's special releases are always a treat.
  • #8000: Carlow O'Hara's Leann Folláin, October 29, 2009 at the Bull & Castle in Dublin. I had other Carlow beers that day that tasted a lot better than this one. I gotta say though that Bull & Castle was probably my favorite Dublin bar.
  • #9000: River North Hypothesis, December 31, 2012, on the Beer Porch in Omaha. Our friends Nick and Julie Bernard brought the bottle from Denver, and it was terrific.
  • #10000: Scriptown Winter Honey Lager, December 5, 2018 at Scriptown Brewing in Omaha. Looks like I slowed down quite a bit during that decade. Brewer/Owner John Fahrer hosted a 10000th Beer Party at the bar, and a good time was had by all.
  • #11000: Well, there's a plan, and it's going to happen today...

Lupulin Brewing, Big Lake MN

In preparation for beer #11000 this weekend, we went to nearby Big Lake and visited Lupulin Brewing for two more beers.

#10998 ドキドキ "Doki Doki" is a fantastic light beer, billed as a "Japanese rice lager". It's got mild grainy malt flavor, mild floral hop flavor, very low bitterness, and a fantastic balance and even complexity. Great stuff.

#10999 Brave Noise was less impressive. Weirdly floral, weirdly citrusy. And look, if you're going to serve murky beers, at least call them out on the menu. This one was labelled "Pale Ale - American", which is why I ordered it.

See you tonight at Aegir Brewing for beer #11000!

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Almost 11,000

This Saturday, beer #11000 will go in the books! We'll be at Aegir Brewing in Elk River MN around 6 or 7pm on Saturday; they have a new Tripel that would do nicely.

JOIN US! And stick around for karaoke afterwards!

Friday, March 25, 2022

Warm up beers

Karaoke at Aegir Brewing tomorrow, but we thought it would bea good idea to stop by for some practice beers today.

(Allfathers Porter. Fine beer.)

Monday, March 21, 2022

(Some of) The breweries of Lake Minnetonka

Big fun on Saturday, when we loaded up with a couple friends and visited five new-to-us breweries about an hour south of home.


First stop: Chanhassen Brewing in Chanhassen MN. I don't know how long they've been open, but they're new enough that I didn't even have them listed on Beer Me! yet. It's a nice big open place, with outdoor seating, stuff for sale, and beer to go.


They have a small ice rink next to the patio! I'll bring my skates next time.


And there will be a next time, because the beers were pretty good. Of the seven I tried, the Carver County Reserve #1 was a real standout. A 12% abv rye-barrel-aged rye wine, it was thick and creamy, with lots of nutty rye malt, and no alcohol at all. (Tasting notes)

Not far to the west is Enki Brewing in Victoria MN. Another big place, but more dark and pub-like than Chanhassen's industrial feel. They do have a kitchen here, along with the usual amenities. They were even making S'Mores by the firepit.


The beers are pretty consistent, if run-of-the-mill styles, and quite drinkable. Once again, the favorite was an excellent big beer, The Raven, a 9.4% abv imperial stout. Thick, smooth, chocolatey, malty. (Tasting notes)

After a stop for snacks, we arrived at Excelsior Brewing in Excelsior MN. Nicely busy this afternoon.


They sell bottled beer in the stores around here, and the Big Island Blonde was really tasty when I tried it. The ones we had on tap weren't quite up to that standard, except for the excellent Spresso Milk Stout. At 5% abv, it's richly malty, chocolatey, and just sweet enough. (Tasting notes)

Next up was Unmapped Brewing in Minnetonka MN. Lots and lots and lots of beers here.


(That's a crappy picture of a good brewery.)

Unmapped also sells packaged beer in the local stores, and I've always been impressed with them. In fact, the first three canned beers I tried all went to the Hall of Fame. Three of the ten beers I tried Saturday did the same! (Tasting notes)

Just so you don't get the idea that big dark beers always get the highest scores, I give you Tonka Lite, their 4% abv light lager. Light and fizzy, with a sweet grainy malt flavor and very low bitterness.

Mind the Map missed the Hall of Fame by just one half of a point. This 5.5% abv English ale has a light-medium body, big toasty malt, and a great well-balanced finish.

11th Hour is a fine stout along the same lines as Excelsior's Spresso. Big, smooth, malty chocolatey, and 5.3% abv.

And returning to the big beers, there's a 12% abv barrel-aged imperial stout called Woodlands Project #15. Hugely oaky and perfectly malty.

Finally, we stopped at the very nearby Boom Island Brewing, also in Minnetonka. Lots of beers here too, including a number of Belgian styles. (Tasting notes)

But the ones that got my attention were the Bell Rock American IPA (good, well-balanced beer in an increasingly difficult to find style) and the barrel-aged imperial stout Czernobog. Less oaky than Unmapped's Woodlands, but smooth and delicious.

We briefly discussed swinging by Aegir Brewing on the way home, but after tasting 36 new beers, going home was the right call.