Saturday, March 17, 2018

Oliphant Peanut Butter Rodent

Oliphant Peanut Butter Rodent. Peanut Butter and Chocolate Black Ale. 8% ABV. Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, Wisconsin.

Dark brown body, creamy toned head, lasting long, looking good.

In the nose: peanut butter meets chocolate and comes screaming out of this glass. Sweet, creamy, chocolatey, nice. Love it.

In the mouth: More of the same and then some. Richness and deliciousness. Peanut butter and chocolate reign supreme. Very mellow, very cool. And very likable. So tasty. So malty. So peanut butter-y and chocolate-y.

peanut butter rodent

something really funny happened to me this morning. i will tell you about it later. well, you might not think it is that funny, but i could hardly breathe i was laughing so hard. ok, i can't wait to tell you. last night when i was sleeping, all my teeth fell out and i swallowed every single one of them. funny, right?

black ale with peanut butter and cacao nibs. 8% abv

Weldwerks Coffee Coconut Stout

Weldwerks Brewing Coffee Coconut Stout. Weldwerks Brewing Company, Greeley, Colorado. 8% Alc. by Volume.

Solid blackness, rich brown head, leaving lace, looking good.

In the nose: chocolate malt first, then comes the coffee. And right after that, we get the coconut. It's not as smooth of a blend as I'd like, though.

In the mouth: Again, they appear on the palate in a similar order. Here's Mr. Malt, all dressed in chocolate, ushering in his friend, Señor Coffee, and sliding in from behind, the Coconut Kid. It's flavorful, full-bodied, not over-anything, in the least. It comes together in a smoother fashion than it did in the nose. It has that going for it, and it's mild in it's expression. Tasty stuff, still: good beer, and you can drink it.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Venn Raspberry Porter

Venn Batch #29 Raspberry Porter. Venn Brewing, Minneapolis, MN. 6.5% ABV, 20 IBU.

Dark brown body, nearly black, with crimson highlights. Brown ring of creamy foam on top. Looking great.

In the nose: Sweet and fruity with a twist of tart. Deep, dark malty notes lurk just below. Bright and delightful.

In the mouth: Fruit forward, bobbing just above the rich, malty flavors that dominate. Coffee and chocolate notes slightly submerged by the berry. Full bodied, full-flavored, and quite drinkable. I like this. Not too much of anything, well-balanced, well-blended, nicely done. In a word or seven: good beer and you can drink it.

Raspberries up front, porter on the back. Our Batch #9 Porter infused with raspberries. Fruit is prominent up front, with dark chocolate and coffee in the finish.

Malts: Crisp Maris Otter, Munich, Oats, Pale Chocolate, Caramel 60, Chocolate, Victory

Hops: Warrior (United States)

Yeast: American Ale

Ballast Point Sour Wench Blackberry Ale

Ballast Point Sour Wench Blackberry Ale. Ballast Point Brewery, San Diego, CA. 7% ABV. 10 IBU.

Bright, bold crimson coloring, slimmed, creamy head above, looking good.

In the nose: tart, fruity, very blackberry.

In the mouth: Big sour from the start, big blast of blackberry. A little bit of lactic sour. Bright, bold, fierce. Puckering. Refreshing. Lightish bodied and easy drinking. Tasty.

If you're into fruity kettle sours, why, by all means.

This pretty lady will make you pucker.
Our Sour Wench Blackberry Ale is a fruity Berliner Weisse-style beer bursting with Oregon blackberry flavor and aroma. The fruit addition adds a beautiful violet hue, and the taste has an approachable soft tartness from kettle souring. This artful gypsy will surely lure you into the world of sour beers.

And here's more, less marketing-ese:
Sour Wench was a Home Brew Mart recipe that we made every year for the Southern California Home brewers Fest in Temecula. This Blackberry Ale was originally developed by Ballast Point’s original Master Brewer Peter A’Hearn and Colby Chandler. While interning in Germany, Peter fell in love with the Berliner Weiss style of beer. A beer made with a procedure in which the mash was soured. The tartness of the Oregon State Marion Blackberries, at one pound per gallon, was a perfect addition for this sour style. Sour Wench is not aged in oak barrels. In the end, it’s a great bridge beer into the sour styles.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Sierra Nevada No Middle Ground Coffee IPA

Sierra Nevada No Middle Ground. 6.9% ABV. 50 IBU. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Chico, California. (And elsewhere.) Ale with coffee added.

Clear, copper/bronze color, big ivory head that slips down shortly.

In the nose:Coffee and hops butting heads. Mixing and mingling, but none taking court. Earthy coffee notes with pine and citrus just below. And then hops take command.

In the mouth: Earth and coffee grit get on the palate first, with sweet malty flavors beneath. Slowly, hops flavors kick up from below. Medium-bodied, long finish, lush malt. This is an odd one. I'm still not on board with this not quite a style. Coffee IPA? Why? Does it work? No.
I'm not getting what I want from an IPA and the coffee ingredient adds little value. These two elements don't belong together, no matter what it says beneath these words.

At first glance, it might seem strange to combine coffee and hoppy beer, but really, the two flavors have a lot in common. Good coffee and hops both have complex and fruity aromas which create layers of flavor. No Middle Ground is brewed with fruit-forward hop varietals and cold-brewed coffee for a unique take on the IPA.


YEAST  Ale yeast
FINISHING HOPS  Citra, Mandarina Bavaria, Simcoe
MALTS  Two-row Pale, Munich, Oats, Midnight Wheat

OTHER  Cold Brewed Coffee

Pryes Raspberry Sour

Pryes Raspberry Sour. 4.8% ABV, 5 IBU. Preyes Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear and crimson, slightly pinkish, with minimal foam coverage.

In the nose: slightly tart and mostly fruity. Sweet and lovely.

In the mouth: more sour, more pucker, and plenty of fruit. "Raspberry-forward", I'd say if I was the pretentious type. Fruity, slightly sweet, then dry and puckering. Sweet, tart, sweet tart, doing the sweet-tart tango. Light-ish bodied, easy drinking session sour.

Three words and then some: Tart, Ripe, Fruity

Inspired by fresh raspberries, our Raspberry Sour is full of tart, ripe and fruity flavors. The beer opens with big fruit and tannin flavors from raspberries. Passion fruit flavors fill out the middle, a bridge between the tart and sour. It ends with a crisp tart finish. A beer that continually evolves during your drinking experience.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Town Hall Trip'd Out Tripel Ale

Town Hall Trip'd Out Tripel Ale. 11.8% ABV. Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, bright golden/amber hue, slim, soon-gone head.

In the nose: bubblegum, fruit, sweetness. Slightly sharp, alcoholic.

In the mouth: A sweet, malty, fruity thing in the mouth. More bubblegum. Sweet, sharp and boozy. Mellow malt. Not as dry and spicy as I'd like from a triple, but not bad, not bad at all. Nothing too complex or complicated, easy-drinking, despite the strength. Pleasant stab at this Belgian style.

Belgian-style Tripel Ale brewed with candy sugar and honey.

Oliphant Anutart Cherry Sour

For the first time, crowlers from Oliphant feature unique and original painted art by Jeremy Hughes on their labels, and for the first time I'm trying out "anutart", which I'm just going to assume is pronounced: "A new tart." This is one I've never tried, though they've been making it for some time. I always seem to visit the taproom when it isn't there.

A word or two about Jeremy's picture. It looks like a tooth holding hands with a cat and a dog inside a mouth. Nothing strange about that. Except his creepy google eyes. And that his butt is on backwards. Must be a reason. Or not. (Wait. Should a tooth have a butt?)

Oliphant Anutart Cherry Sour Ale. Berliner Weisse? 5% ABV. Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, WI.

Clear, bold crimson color, slim whitish head, done in a quickness.

In the nose: bright and fruity. Growing tartness. There's your cherry.

In the mouth: Sweet, tart, fruity. Mmm. Nice. Tart, cherry, sweet, repeat. Medium bodied, quite drinkable, mmm. Maybe a little thin. Perhaps a full Wisconsin-sized crowler is more than I needed.

I'm not really into fruited kettle sours, but I can enjoy them and certainly see the appeal. A little of this one went a long way, though I finished the contents of the crowler with nothing but ease.

Did I buy this because the idea of the beer intrigued me, or because I drink every beer this brewery makes, or because I love Jeremy's art and want to have this on poster. Or t-shirt. Or something. I know for sure that I won't crush this one and toss it in the recycling bin.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tin Whiskers Phase Shift 02/2017

Tin Whiskers Phase Shift 02. 7.5% ABV. Rye Whiskey Barrel Aged Barrel Shifter Porter. St. Paul, MN.

Utter darkness, fully opaque, slim brown head.

In the nose: Cocoa, coffee, molasses, more. Vanilla, cherry, whiskey? Rich, luxurious, lovely. A feast for the senses.

In the mouth: Boom! Big whiskey notes on the palate right from the start. Outsized flavors, rich malt, big barrel tones, vanilla, cocoa, coffee, blackstrap, a touch of anise, more. Full bodied, full flavored, non-stop delicious. Starts out sweet, rounds out dry.

I took a peek at my previous report on this beer, it's earlier iteration, and I'm not disappointed. Whatever flaws I felt then are not apparent now. I like this much better than before. Perhaps abler hands are at the wheel, here? Or time bringing experience and wisdom?

Thanks again to the Running Tap for bringing it to me?

Released November 19, 2016 // Local rye whiskey barrels from Isanti Spirits contribute rich, complex malt and wood characteristics to a porter previously aged on white oak and cherry wood. • 7.5% ABV

56 Brewing Citrus Chaos IPA

56 Brewing Citrus Chaos IPA. 5.7% ABV. 25 IBU. 56 Brewing, Minneapolis, MN. Date filled 3/3. Date consumed 3/11. Date received 3/8.

Highly hazed, utterly thick and orange-juicer, slim white head above.

In the nose: soft, slightly bitter, fruity. Tropical notes start it off, with grapefruit coming in quickly. Orange and lemon smother the pineapple and guava.

In the mouth: Juicy, fruity, soft and smooth. Some bitterness pops up, but not enough for me. Or, maybe it is enough, but I keep wanting more. Lots of yeasty goodness on the palate. Medium bodied. Easy drinking. Smooth as it gets.

Not a bad rendition of this style that I'm still on the fence about.  Still like those old-fashioned IPAs. 25 IBUs does not an IPA make. They should call these something else, is all I'm saying. When folks want to tell me "this IPA has less bitterness", I want to answer: "then it ain't no IPA!"

Aromas of juicy and tropical fruit, with a clean grapefruit/orange bitterness. A hazy American pale ale dry hopped with a heavy dose of Amarillo and Citra hops.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Grotten Sante

Grotten Sante. Brouwerij Kazematten, leper, West-valanderaaen, Belgium. 6.5% ABV.

Very opaque, burgundy-hued, large and lasting lush, creamy head. Looking fantastic.

In the nose: Fruit, spice, funk. Lots of the dark fruits, fig, raisin, grape, plum, a trifle sweet. Rich and vinous, small amount of sourness. Exquisitely complex Belgian character takes hold, though it can't be quantified or categorized. There aren't always words for the specialness of Belgian ales, but we have to try. Candi sugar in this one, rich, deep, dark malts, too. Brown sugar. I've spent so much time on smell, I'm dying to taste.

In the mouth: Boom. Fruit, spice, sweet, tiny tartness. Tasty. A lot of tasty. Very wine-like, deep, dark fruits. Grape, plum, raisin, again. This is delightfully delicious. Not quite a dubbed, more than an amber or a brown, far from a quadruple, but very unique and flavorful. Starts sweet, ends dry, spends time in the mouth most magical and transcendent. I can't help but like it. Yum, yum, yum.

Grotten Santé is an darkbrown, spicy beer of 6 % ABV, with small quantities of an ‘exotic’ ingredient that creates a slight dryness.

Venn Brewing Denali IPA

Venn Brewing Batch #40 Denali India Pale Ale. 7.2% ABV. 65 IBU. Venn Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

Slightly hazy look, bright golden color, massive, lace-leaving ivory head atop.

In the nose: Tropical tones aplenty, pineapple and passionfruit, mango and more. Not getting much else, not that I mind. Lovely stuff. Exquisitely pleasant.

In the mouth: Bolt of bitterness blasts the palate first, then fades and invites in the fruit. Scrumptious. I haven't said that in a while. Fruity, while not quite sweet, then dry. Nice little dance between the fruity and the bitter. Medium bodied, long-lasting bitterness. Delightful. Hits me in all the right places.

This is an IPA I would return to again, and again.

Let's hear those three little words: Pineapple, melon, bitter. 

A single-hop IPA featuring the new Denali hop variety, a neutral malt structure, and a clean fermentation.

Malts: Domestic Pale, Caramel 10

Hops: Denali (United States)

Yeast: American Ale

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Freehouse #33 Gose

The Freehouse #33 Gose. 3.4 % ABV, 10 IBU, The Freehouse, Minneapolis, MN.

This is the first stand-alone review here in the Nib of a beer from The Freehouse, the brewpub in the downtown district called The North Loop. I've been there several times, written about them a few times here, but never brought home a growler, or a crowler. I have to thank The Running Tap for getting this one to me.

Clear, bright golden, slim to no head on it.

In the nose: tart, fruity, salty, just like a good Gose should be. Sharp, arresting, Intriguing.

In the mouth: Tart grips the palate from the start. Fresh, zesty, tart and tasty. Light bodied, easy drinking. Slightly salty, a touch of fruit. Low bitterness, lesser malt. Big time sour. Nice gose, and you can drink it.

There making some good beers here. Go check them out.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Schell's Citra Blanc American Pale Lager

Schell's Citra Blanc American Pale Lager. 6.7% ABV. 44 IBU. August Schell Brewing, New Ulm, MN.

Clear, bright golden color, large and lasting ivory head on top.

In the nose: sunshine-y citrus-y notes steal the show here. Blend of lemon and grapefruit, with a twist of the tropical, too. Beautiful.

In the mouth: A hop explosion kicks it off, gives out fruit, swiftly turns out dry. Crisp and refreshing. Light bodied. I always remind the reader that I'm not a lager lover, but I am in favor of flavor, and this one packs it. This is nothing short of delightful. Any time I've had a citra hop lager, I'm liking it, and this one is crafted exquisitely. Tasty, tasty, tasty, and almost yum-a-dum-dum.

Similar to an IPA, Citra Blanc is hop-forward and refreshing, for those who like their beer to pack a punch. A citrusy, hoppy lager. Citra and Hallertau Blac hops create bright flavors and aromatics. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Surly 60 Below Rye IPA

Surly 60 Below Rye IPA. 6.5% ABV. Brewed and canned by Surly Brewing Company, Minneapolis & Brooklyn Center, MN. "Brewed For The North."

Grinning frozen skulls. Yes, some of us feel this way in the winter-time. We've had a few nice days in a row, the snow is slowly melting, but, no, it's coming back tomorrow. You think, it's March, we're on  our way to spring! We can break out the bikes again! No. No. No. There's still that threat. Keep the gloves and hats handy. Don't put away the long underwear yet.

Lightly hazy, crimson colored, large, creamy ivory head above, lasting long, and leaving lace.

In the nose: Richly, caramel malty aromatics hit the nose first. Lush and lively. Earthy, spicy hops.

In the mouth: Hops shine first on the palate, bright and citrus-y, but quickly swallowed up by malt, spicy, rich rye malt. Hardy, robust, and lively. Fruit flavors unfold. Sweetness creeps in. I believe I read someone somewhere someone's description of "candied grapes", and I get that, too. Dark fruits, spicy malts, altogether tasty. Good rye IPA, and you can drink it.

There’s cold, and then there’s COLD. Teeth-chattering, extremity-numbing, eyelash-freezing cold. On February 2, 1996, Tower, MN hit the all-time state record low temperature. 60 Below, a hardy rye IPA, pays tribute tothat mark and the unforgiving Minnesota winter. Enjoy it before frostbite sets in and turns those beer-holding fingers blue. Best served…cold.

This hearty rye IPA uses experimental hop varieties that lend notes of candied grape, orange, and vanilla cream. Cararye and flaked rye contribute a deep red hue and spicy malt notes.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Sociable Ciderwerks Fat Bike Mulled Apple

Sociable Ciderwerks Fat Bike Mulled Apple. 5.2% ABV. Sociable Ciderwerks, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, golden toned, no head.

In the nose: Cinnamon, clove, allspice. Apple behind it. All the pumpkin pie spices at play.

In the mouth: Hot, juicy, spicy, cloves, cinnamon-y, all-spicy. This has it all going on. Spiced apple pie. Nice. Very nice. Light bodied, lots of flavors, good drinking. I like this one. It's pretty darned alright.

Actually, it's damned nice. Good stuff.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Sierra Nevada Know Good IPA

Sierra Nevada Know Good IPA. 6.2% by Vol. 62 IBU. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Chico, CA.

Clear, bright golden, slim white head.

In the nose: Lightly spicy, sightly citric, very mellow. Floral. Kinda quiet.

In the mouth: more bright, sunshine-y, citrus, a little bit juicy. Honey-ish.. Lovely stuff. Lightish bodied, fully flavored. Good ol' drinking IPA. Ain't nothing wrong with it.

This straightforward, slightly hazy, American IPA has just enough malt body to launch the citrus and floral hop notes straight to your palate, making Know Good perfect for today or any day. When it comes to hop flavor, we know what good is, and you do, too.

Bud Light

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