612Brew Main Stage Amber Ale

Posted by Beer Blogger | Beer Pictures | Posted on April 24th, 2013

612 Brew Main Stage

While IPAs, imperial stouts, sours and other big flavored beers have been the hype for some years now, it seems session beers are a growing presence. Is is great news for those of us looking to enjoy several beers while we’re out and not have to worry about what kind of condition we’ll be in when we have to drive home. 612Brew has introduced a very nice brew with Main Stage Amber Ale that offers plenty of flavor along with a low enough alcohol content to enjoy a few without waking up with a hangover.

Main Stage Amber Ale blends caramel, Munich, and Victory malts for a nice medium body and a low hop profile along with an ABV of 4.5%. Plenty of flavor from the malt combo with a light biscuity flavor and plenty of smooth light caramel.

Stop in and enjoy this Amber while it rocks the stage at 612Brew. Be ready to throw some dollars at it and spend the night courting a few. Maybe you’ll get lucky.

Get your wallets out. You’re about to fall in love. This Amber ale has a great body and complex character from the Caramel, Munich, and Victory malts. Low-hops and low-alcohol, so you can enjoy several throughout the night, this Amber looks great seated next to you and you can tell, really likes you. The song is almost over.

Time to order another from the Main Stage.

4.5% ABV 31 IBU 14 SRM

Arcadia Ales Imperial Stout

Posted by Beer Blogger | Beer Pictures | Posted on April 10th, 2013

Arcadia Ales Imperial Stout 2007

Winter time.  While most of us hate the colder weather, most seem to love the big beers that come out to keep us warm this season.  Big barleywines and imperial stouts with malty bodies and higher alcohol levels to warm the cheeks.  While many of us look forward to big names that may be hard to get, we should be paying more attention to the great beers that are much easier to come by.  Acadia Ales Imperial Stout is a perfect example of a great imperial stout that can hold it’s own aginst the big guys and is easy to get your hands on.  It even won a gold medal for bottle conditioned beer at the 2002 Real Ale Festival.

This bottle is from 2006 and aged wonderfully.  For 8.4%, it held up very well over the years and was still thick and viscous.  The nose had plenty of chocolate and a light alcohol note.  Lots of milk chocolate in the taste with a nice bit of roasted malt bitterness still around.  I’d definitely cellar this one again.

Acadia Ales sells this brew in 4-packs of 12oz bottles making it easy to grab several for the cellar.  Enjoy a couple now and put a couple away for 6 months to a year from now.  It’s great to experiment with aging reasonably priced brews and seeing how they change over time.  There is less risk financially than doing so with the expensive, limited released bottles.  The bargain prices also means you can afford to pickup a number of them to put away.  Check one out every 6 months and see how it progresses over time.  Save some for a vertical tasting from several vintages over the years.  12oz bottles also mean you don’t have to finish a whole lot of big beer if you do choose to go at a bottle on your own.

Winter is here and it’s time to stock the cellar and settle in for the cold months ahead (and the holidays where a big of alcohol helps to ease the stress of the season).  Checkout Acadia Ales Imperial Stout and keep warm this winter.

Barley John’s Brewpub 13th Anniversary Ale

Posted by Beer Blogger | Beer Pictures | Posted on April 5th, 2013

Barley John's 13th Anniversary Ale

Barley John’s Brewpub in New Brighton, MN has been offering some of the best beer in the state along with awesome food for years now.  This March marks their 13th anniversary and as always, their anniversary beer is a big Irish Red Ale.  The 13th Anniversary Ale is a strong Irish red ale that’s big enough that it may be called a barleywine over in Ireland but here in the US the alcohol, at 7.3% ABV, makes is a bit low for that.  It’s still plenty big for a style that normally clocks in between 4.0% and 6.0% ABV.  Along with amped up alcohol comes big flavor.  Lots of light caramel in the aroma with a nice full malty kick.  The flavor is very full but light at the same time so it doesn’t overwhelm.  Plenty of malt body with notes of light caramel and a slight sweetness.  The light sweetness in the flavor turns to a nice dryness in the aftertaste making this beer easy drinking and really rounding things out nicely.

After 13 years in business, Barley John’s continues to brew up great beer and offer wonderful food to go along with it in a welcoming little brewpub just outside Minneapolis.  If you haven’t stopped in or it’s been a while, make your way there and checkout the much loved year-round offerings along with a ton of great seasonals they’ve been cranking out lately.  They had a total of 9 seasonal beers alone when I was in the other night enjoying this 13th Anniversary Ale.  Just because there have been an explosion of new brewers in the Twin Cities lately, we shouldn’t forget the older staples that make brews we’ve loved for years.  Drop into Barley John’s soon for the 13th Anniversary Ale and try some of the other fun stuff on the menu.

Barley John's 13th Anniversary Ale Top

Barley John’s Brewpub Cocoa Old 8 Porter Cask

Posted by Beer Blogger | Beer Pictures | Posted on March 27th, 2013

Barley John's Old 8 Porter Cask Cocoa

Barley John’s Brewpub in New Brighton just minutes outside of Minneapolis offers awesome beers and food.  With the return of casks on Wednesdays, a number of great new brews have popped up.  This most recent cask beer took their awesome year-round Old 8 Porter and added cocoa to the cask.  Normally there is plenty of wonderful roastiness, chocolate, and coffee in both the aroma and flavor but the addition of cocoa added a nice extra hit of chocolate to this favorite.  Cocoa Old 8 Porter pours nicely from the cask via gravity pour and leaves a nice frothy bubbly light-brown head.  The foam didn’t stick around as long as it normally does on tap, likely due to the additional oils of the cocoa killing head-retention but that just meant it was even easier to get the brew straight to your mouth.  The cask pours extra smooth thanks to a lower carbonation level than the normal brew and allows many of the flavors to really come through a bit more than normal.  The aroma has nice notes of chocolate and light coffee with the cocoa adding a bit to the chocolate hints.  Smooth and light milk chocolate.  Light coffee and a light and balanced roastiness with just a hint of roasty bitterness.  A very nice addition to the Old 8 Porter.

Wednesday casks offer fun new version of Barley John’s normal brews along with their seasonals beers.  With spring coming and their great patio opening at that time, you need to plan a time to drop in for a Wednesday cask offering and checkout the great things they’re brewing at Barley Johns.  Drop in soon.

Barley John's Old 8 Cask Cocoa Top

Town Hall Brewery Red Sterling Lager

Posted by Beer Blogger | Beer Pictures | Posted on February 15th, 2013

Town Hall Brewery Red Sterling Lager

Lagers are still a style that many craft beer fans don’t seem to appreciate. The problem is that they seem to have preconceived notions of what lagers are and believe they can’t be the flavorful brews they love. Town Hall Brewery has been pumping out fantastic lagers in the last several years and they’re just what people need to turn them on to the great things a lager can be. Their newest is the Red Sterling Lager.

The Town Hall Brewery Red Sterling lager combines Munich and European Pilsner malts to create a brilliant deep amber colored brew plus a bit of crystal and wheat malts to round things out. This makes for a great warm malty aroma and body. Plenty of Noble hops in this brew please even the hopheads in the crowd with a great aroma and bite in the flavor. The brew is balanced nicely and drinkable for glass after glass. Weighing in at 6.6% alcohol by volume, it’s plenty drinkable and won’t do you in after just a glass or two.

Winter seasonal beers at Town Hall go quick and plenty of the regulars and staff are really enjoying this one. Make time to get down to the brewery and grab a couple pints and possibly a growler while it’s still around. As much as I hope it sticks around for a while and comes back again soon, there is no guarantee. Grab a pint of Red Sterling Lager while you can.

Town Hall Brewery Red Sterling Lager Top

Tyranena The Devil Made Me Do It

Posted by Beer Blogger | Beer Pictures | Posted on January 18th, 2013

Tyranena Devil Made Me Do It

Tyranena Brewing Company out of Lake Mills, Wisconsin offers a wonderful lineup of great beers with offerings for everyone.  While their regular lineup of year-round and seasonal brews has something for everyone, their Brewers Gone Wild series brings with it many special treats for the craft beer fan.  One of the offerings that has returned several times in the past few years is the Brewers Gone Wild The Devil Made Me Do It, a coffee imperial oatmeal porter.

Over the years, Tyranena has made a name for itself with it’s porters and this one blends a mix of a big porter with roasty coffee and the silky oats.  Light chocolate and coffee in the aroma with a nice roastiness rounding things out.  The Devil Made Me Do It is smooth and lightly creamy from the oatmeal up front with notes of warm chocolate and a nice coffee note in the aftertaste.

The Brewers Gone Wild series showcases the wonderful talents at Tyranena and offers some special treats for beer drinkers.  The offerings rotate and change and are only available for a limited time so get them while you can as they may or may not ever return again.  The Devil Made Me Do It is available now and one you’ll want to get your hands on while you can.  Grab a 4-pack or two now and don’t worry about what the significant other says about it.  If they ask, tell them the devil made you do it.

Devil Made Me Do It Close Up

Town Hall Brewery Pint Club Ale

Posted by Beer Blogger | Beer Pictures | Posted on January 16th, 2013

Town Hall Brewery Pint Club Ale

They really do single hopped pale ales right at Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery.  This one, the Pint Club Ale, is a made using Amarillo hops.  These hops impart a ton of citrus aroma and flavor in this beer and really shine through nicely with just enough malt to stand up to them but also let them be the star.  Amarillo hops have been difficult to get in the past couple years so it’s exciting to see them back and the availability improving for brewers.  This one weighed in at 4.8% ABV so it drinks nicely pint after pint.  While there are plenty of hops in this brew, they don’t overpower and one could session this drink for an evening without burning out their tastebuds.

The introduction of Pint Club Ales is something new for Town Hall Pint Club members.  The Pint Club Ale will be available from time to time and always be $3 a pint and $7.50 a growler (refill price) for Pint Club members.  No waiting for happy hour or other promos to get a discount on this beer.  A delicious pint for just $3 all the time until the beer is gone.  The beer itself may or may not change batch to batch.  Pretty cool deal that makes the already awesome Pint Club membership even better.

With the Pint Club Ale being discounted to Pint Club members and available to everyone else too, it’ll go quickly.  A tasty single hopped brew to kickoff this new deal for members is sure to please.  While in last night I enjoyed several pints of this beer and other Pint Club members did the same.  Staff seemed to really enjoy it too.  A good sign that it will likely go quick.  Time for you to get in there and grab a couple pints and possibly a growler, while you can.

Town Hall Brewery Hop Tonic

Posted by Beer Blogger | Beer Pictures | Posted on December 11th, 2012

A bit over a year ago, Town Hall Brewery started featuring a Drink Of The Month.  Each month, one of their bartenders was given the chance to create their own signature drink.  Many of them were seasonal like Irish Cream, pumpkin pie martini, or the current eggnog.  One that beer lovers were intrigued by was the Hop Tonic.  The first batch of hop-infused vodka was made using Cascase hops.  While one could have it served up straight, most opted to have it served as a hop vodka tonic.

The hops imparted a nice herbal hop flavor on the vodka.  I’m not usually a hard liquor guy but this was nice and refreshing.  I’d definitely have another.  It’s always interesting to see hops used in stuff other than beer such as this tonic or hard candy made with hops.

While most of us love craft beer, some of our friends and family prefer something else.  With the seasonally changing drinks of the month, Town Hall now has even more options for those that choose not to enjoy their great brews (or maybe you just need a break between beers).  Checkout their current Drink Of The Month and enjoy some great good and brews to go with it.

Indeed Brewing Sweet Yamma Jamma

Posted by Beer Blogger | Beer Pictures | Posted on December 6th, 2012

Indeed Brewing Sweet Yamma Jamma

Autumn has come and brought with it plenty of seasonal brews we all love and look forward to each year. The fresh hopped ales, Oktoberfests, and pumpkin ales all come out this time of year. Indeed Brewing is the newest production brewery with taproom in the Twin Cities. They’re offering unique brews and their autumn brews are no different. Plenty of breweries have a pumpkin beer out right now but how about a sweet potato brew? Indeed Brewing Sweet Yamma Jamma has similarities to a pumpkin beer but is made with sweet potatoes.

Yamma Jamma is much like a pumpkin brew but with a lighter flavor and less spice than your typical pumpkin brew. Its nice and drinkable in a way most pumpkin beers aren’t with their big doses of spice. You can enjoy a couple pints of Yamma Jamma without overwhelming yourself.

Available on tap at bars around the Twin Cities, seek out this one while it’s available. It’s also on tap in taproom at Indeed Brewing and be sure to see if they have it on nitro pour while you’re in there. Great local beer is best enjoyed as close to the source as possible and in the brewery’s own taproom is about as fresh as you can get.

Cask Bourbon Barrel Vanilla Surly Darkness

Posted by Beer Blogger | Beer Pictures | Posted on November 14th, 2012

Cask Bourbon Surly Darkness

For those that love a good Russian imperial stout, there is no finer time than that this is upon us.  All the imperial stouts seem to come out with the cold weather and hope to warm drinkers nicely.  In Minnesota, there is no more sought after imperial stout than Surly Darkness.  With it’s annual bottle release at Darkness Day, kegs also begin to appear at local bars around the Twin Cities.  From time to time a special cask makes an appearance too.  This cask is one of only 4 made and was filled with Surly Darkness aged in Woodford Reserve barrels then aged on fresh vanilla beans in the cask.  Amazing combo.

The Darkness was pulled from the tanks back in October and into the Woodford Reserver barrel it went.  The brew spent several weeks in the barrels before being transferred into a cask with the fresh vanilla beans to condition a bit longer.  The resulting flavors were fantastic.  The aging time in the barrel added a nice bourbon note without being overpowering and the vanilla was light but came through nicely.

The cask was tapped at 5pm at a local bar and it was nice to see that word of it’s tapping didn’t hit sites like BeerAdvocate and RateBeer.  Because of this, the tapping wasn’t packed wall to wall with tickers and people that only stop into a bar when they have something special on.  Instead the regular crowd was able to enjoy this fine brew without having to be pushed and shoved to get a glass.  While special events are fun at times, it’s nice to see those that regularly patronize a bar be able to get their hands on something special rather than those that will only stop in when there is a special tapping.  There were only about 10 people drinking this special cask (including 4 Surly employees) in the hour and a half I was at the bar so it was easy to enjoy a couple glasses at an unhurried pace.  No 30 minute waits in long lines while a frazzled bar staff run around attempting to quell a crazy crowd as is common at some of these special beer tapping events.  The fact that it was tapped during 1/2 price Minnesota beer nice didn’t hurt either.

Surly Darkness is a special seasonal that many look forward to each year.  Those that didn’t get a chance to checkout this cask aren’t out of luck yet.  With 3 more casks going out to bars at some point in the future, there is sure to be another chance to enjoy this beer.  But like the standard Darkness, it will go quickly so be sure to be there plenty early to get a seat.

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