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.

RIP Armand Debelder, Grandfather Gueze

A well-made Gueuze is a thing of beauty, and Armand Debelder defined the style. He died this month at the age of 70. Raise a glass of Gueuze, if you can find one.

Read one of many tributes at Good Beer Hunting.

Friday, March 18, 2022

My beer fridge is nearly empty

I just finished up the rest of the beers that I brought back from Nebraska last month.

#10945 Avery Night Warden
An excellent barrel-aged Imperial Stout! Deceivingly light in body, but creamy and chewy, with a nice oak character and just a little whiskey.

#10946 Clown Shoes The Storyteller
Real tasty rich complex beer. Hugely malty, nicely roasty, with some oak and whiskey. Aged in WhistlePig Rye barrels.

#10947 Scratchtown The Lord of Ord
This place is in the middle of nowhere the Sandhills of Nebraska, and they've been making tasty beers since they opened in 2013. This one is no exception: chewy and malty and nicely roasty, with just enough alcohol character for balance.

And finally, #10948 Lupulin Barrel-Aged Little Black Rain Cloud
We picked up this bottle at the brewery a little while ago; they had the not-barrel-aged version on tap. It's billed as a Wee Heavy, although at 11.1% abv it might be a bit strong even for that. It's thick and almost still, and packed with sweet dark malt. That's really about it though. I'll open the second bottle next year to see how it matured.

And that's about it; the fridge is empty. Well, except for three Aegir beers. There's a bottle of each from 2021 and 2022, so we can have a little vertical tasting.

Tomorrow, we'll do a lap (or as much as we can manage) around Lake Minnetonka to visit the breweries there!


Sunday, March 13, 2022

Aegir Johnny Tarr

Karaoke and a new beer at  Aegir Brewing last night.

#10941 Aegir Johnny Tarr
Their new Irish Stout, served on a nitro tap. I don't usually get the same beer twice, but I drank this one all night!

And a good time was had by all.

By the way, "Johnny Tarr" is the perfect name for an Irish beer.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

BeerClub Brewing, Mora MN

We paid another visit to BeerClub Brewing yesterday, having stopped there on the way home from the US Hockey Hall of Fame a few months ago. It's a 40-minute drive from home, not bad at all, and they welcome well-behaved dogs inside.

They had five beers on tap that they didn't have the first time around, which is always fun.

#10936 BeerClub Anvil Accident
A Hazy IPA, slick and fizzy, with lots of grapefruit hop flavor and not a whole lot of bitterness. Still, not a bad beer.

#10937 BeerClub Mock Bock
A real tasty clean malty rich Bockbier!

#10938 BeerClub Doppelbock
Of course, you have to follow a Bock with a Doppelbock, especially when they're both this good. Big and malty and dark and very nicely balanced.

#10939 BeerClub Plus Minus Porter
Not a bad beer, with a whopping well-hidden 9% abv, but it has a real big vanilla sweetness that I wasn't too keen on.

#10940 BeerClub Trip Hammer
Finishing the night at the top of the ABV ladder, this Belgian-Style Tripel was really grassy, sweet, fruity. Not Tripel Karmeliet by any means.

All in all, we had a lot of fun and some really good beers. We'll definitely be back!

Tonight: karaoke (and beer) at Aegir Brewing in Elk River MN.

A little more catching up

Notes are typed and pictures are uploaded!

#10932 Equilibrium Fluctuation
This Hazy IPA came highly recommended, but my general opinion of the style still stands.

#10933 Anderson Valley Huge Arker
This one, on the other hand, was magnificent. The ideal "sitting by the fire" beer.

#10934 Fargo Belsnickel
The more Fargo beers I try, the more I like them. This Dunkelweizen did not disappoint.

#10935 Fargo Crikey
A sour IPA. Not a style I thought I'd enjoy, but it's really refreshing.

There are even more beers in the tasting fridge, patiently awaiting their turn at the bar.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Catching up a couple weeks

Well, it's been a while. But given the choice between drinking and typing, I think I made the right call.

I brought back a whole bunch of beer from the Omaha trip — mostly from Wine, Beer, and Spirits in Grand Island — so there's lots of new additions to the beer list.

#10925 Destihl Normal Pils
A real good German-style Pilsener, malty and floral and nicely dry.

#10926 Robinsons Fear of the Dark
Except for the diacetyl, it's a real tasty Irish Stout sort of beer. Part of the Iron Maiden series.

#10927 Deschutes The Abyss 2021
I haven't had The Abyss in quite a while, and this bottle was just as good as I remembered it. Tasty and complex and even stronger than it tastes.

#10928 Stillwater A Sound Saison
Real good Saison. Bready malt, floral hops with a hint of citrus.

#10929 Bur Oak MOMO
MOMO is the Missouri Monster, depicted on one of the greatest labels out there. It's a strong darkish ale, really nutty, and probably really dangerous.

Saturday was Karaoke Night at Aegir Brewing, and they just happened to have a couple new beers on tap.

#10930 Aegir Pale
A lighter version of their IPA, it's pretty grassy and grainy, with a low-medium bitterness.

#10931 Aegir Do you even lift bro?
A new Scotch Ale (more of an Old Ale, in my opinion) that's full of dark caramel and a little smoke. I like it.
There's more, but I have to get the notes typed up first. In the meantime, we're heading up to Mora MN and BeerClub Brewing this afternoon!