Monday, January 23, 2017

Modist Lord Humungus

Modist Lord Humungus. 10.5% ABV. 76 IBU. Beef-ed up version of Wasteland.

Here's a bottle that was released in late October, and celebrated with a post-apocalyptic party. It was just before the election, and it seemed so amusing then. Such a cute, quaint notion we had. Well, we're not living in the wastelands just yet, but everything we once knew seems to be falling apart.

Impenetrable blackness, ring of cocoa-toned foam.

In the nose: spicy rye malt hits first. Big malt aromatics, with a side of hops.

In the mouth: Big rye malt. I mean, big. Zesty hop blast. Great balance in this big, big beer. Thick mouthfeel, huge. Yuuuuge.

Part of the inspiration for the ramble
at right was this poster, whose
political components were extricated
when the label was designed.
Man, I feel sick for saying that as a joke. Forgive me. I feel a little depressed even making light of the fact that the insecure orange billionaire is currently in control of our destinies. But, that's not what you came here for, is it. Maybe you actually came here because this blog somehow survived the apocalypse, the remnants of the deforestation of the internet  and you are researching the society that came before you? You are reading this to see what America was like before the fall? Well, I'm just talking about beer, something that gave us joy in those troubled times, a transformative elixir that keep our spirits up before the days of the culling, and camps, and the rehabilitation chambers. Before those of us who tried to resist the schemes of the tiny handed one were captured and corralled, some killed and some merely humiliated, but all of us sent to the underground chambers, the slave colonies, the hive headquarters. We were cut-off from our freedoms, separated from our special places of happiness, kept from the wonderment of everyday luxuries. Now, we're mining more diamonds for Melania, and keeping the Donald in healthy hair replacements.

No, I'm just talking about a bold, expressive and flavorful beer that pushes the boundaries ever-so much without going too far. It's a big one, and if we keeping pushing, maybe we'll break down that damned wall, my friends. Keep pushing.

From the label: "Lord Humungous. 10.5% ABV., 76 IBU. Borne of the blood, fire and gasoline of the Wasteland, this beer is an imperial stout mangled with a barley-wine forged from an imperial red. A potent rye ale with notes of spicy sweet toffee, dark chocolate, burnt sugar, a body of black tar, and a smoldering finish."

Wild Mind Race Dog Wild Oat Pale Ale

Did I need to buy one of these new Wild Mind growlers and add to my vast collection? No. But I wanted it. Ten bucks? When I could have kept bringing in other growlers and getting them filled, if I remembered to bring a cap along? Someone else's growler that fits into my growler carrier and isn't such an awkward, inconvenient shape? Yeah, but I wanted it. So, I've got it. So.'s a beer I brought home Thursday night and took notes on this morning (my schedule, you know. I'd be lying if I said "last night".)

Wild Mind Race Dog. Wild Oat Pale Ale. 6% ABV.

Crystal clear, bright golden coloring, big white head. Looking good.

In the nose: soft, sumptuous, brimming with tropical fruit flavors. Sweet, fruity, nice. Just delightful.

In the mouth: yum! Delicious. Sweet, pineapple and guava. Bitterness is sufficient, but never too high. Super smooth mouthfeel. All those flavors from the nose are popping back on the palate. Beautifully hoppy. Exquisitely executed.
I can finish this one up in no time.

From the website: Race Dog  | Wild Oat Pale Ale,  6.0%ABV, 50IBUs

A pale ale brewed with our native wild yeast, oats, and hopped heavily with mosaic hops. Notes of peach, pineapple, citrus, and blueberry.

Town Hall HMS Pilsner

If you've read this blog with any regularity, you'll know that I'm primarily an ale man, and not really a lager lover. When I choose beers, I tend to overlook lagers, and pilsners, and I try to correct that every now and then. And so, at last, HMS Pilsner, German-style pilsner, 5% ABV. Hallertau, Mittelfruh and Saaz. (Not Her Majesty's Service, I guess.) That's all the website says. Is there more? I'll look later, for now I'll drink it.

Clear, bright golden coloring, slim ivory head.

In the nose: Sweet, cereal, malty. Not getting the hoppiness just yet. It's minor, so far.

In the mouth: Lands nice and clean on the palate, hops pop up, sweet turns to dry. A little bit of fruit meets hop bitterness in the mouth. Crisp as they get, clean, like I said, and effortlessly drinkable. Hops feel bigger in the flavor profile as we continue on.

I will finish this mini-growler in no time, and will move on to something more my style. But if you love German pilsners, you can't go wrong with this one.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Insight Phantom Taxi

Insight Phantom Taxi Double IPA. 9% ABV. 84 IBU. Insight Brewing, Minneapolis, MN.

Lightly clouded, bright golden coloring, lush white head above. Looking good.

In the nose: big ol' pine and citrus, lemon and grapefruit and pineapple, oh, my. Lots of beautiful, bitter notes, right on target.

In the mouth: more bracingly bitter attacks on the palate, flush with citrus fruit and more. Big flavors, big alcohol, big bitterness. I can dig it. Not a bad DIPA, not bad at all.

Some gobbledygook from the website: This Double IPA is bursting at the seams with flavor! We didn't hold back on the hops with this one, so be prepared for full-on citrus and mango aromas finishing with a ton of grapefruit and tropical fruit in the flavor. With a light and balanced malt body, the hops shine through creating a bold, hoppy brew.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Tin Whiskers Lecky Scottish

Tin Whiskers Brewing Company Lecky Scottish Ale. Brewed and packaged by Tin Whiskers Brewing Company, St. Paul, MN. 5.5% ALC./VOL.

Dark brown color, ruby highlights, slim darkish head.

In the nose: sweet and malty and slightly smoky. Maybe more than slightly. Peaty.

In the mouth: malt-forward, hop absent, smooth and utterly drinkable. The smoky aspect lays on lightly. Tasty. Bit of a swift finish, though, gone before you know it. But that's fine for the style. Good beer, you can drink it.

What's the label want to tell us? "A dry, peated Scottish ale with a well-balanced peated smoke character to appeal to smoked ale and scotch lovers alike."

Prairie Artisan Ales Funky Gold Mosaic

Prairie Artisan Ales Funky Gold Mosaic, a dry-hopped sour ale. 6.5% alc. by vol. Brewed and bottled by Krebs Brewing Company, Krebs, Oklahoma. Made by people who truly care from Oklahoma with love.

Hazy, bright golden hue, slim, lasting white head. Looking good.

In the nose: sharp, sweet, then wild and funky. Cat pee, vinegar, pineapple, white wine.

In the mouth: intense puckeration at the start, big sour, big funk. Bright tropical fruit notes, with never-ending sour notes throughout. Acidic, bright, bitter, and beautiful. Delicious. Wonderful flavors here, very refreshing, very tasty. Go out and get some.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Fair State DuPounde Saison

Making the rounds again, as promised. My Fair State growler hadn't been filled since my visit of January 28 of last year. Long over-due visit, last Tuesday. Had one that was new to me, Smorgasbord, a delicious blend of various sour ales, had one I'd reviewed before when I had a keg of it on tap at Acadia, that one being Tuque, the spiced rye saison, and also had some FSB, which I had on tap at Acadia, but did not write a review on. I must search out a bottle somewhere, for I've missed my chance to get a keg of the latest edition.

And I filled my growler with Du Pounde, which came out last summer, and is also available in cans. And I promise that I will not wait another year before I get this growler filled again.

DuPounde Saison, 5.5% ABV. 25 IBU.

Lightly hazy, golden hued, slim white head.

Belgian yeast bounces against the nose first, followed by straw, sweetness, spice, and bubblegum. A little bit sour/funky/tart. A whole lot of interesting.

In the mouth: Puckering. Sour. Smooth. Wheat-y. Moderate bitterness. Medium body. Ever-so easy drinking. Citrus hop presence. Turning out and ending out dry on the palate. Refreshing. Delicious.
Has to rank among the best locally-brewed saisons. Quite nice, this one. I can drink it and drink it.

Here's the info I grabbed off of the Fair State website: 5.3% ABV | 25 IBU | 11.3 GRAVITY
A dry, rustic, hop-forward farmhouse ale brewed with a high percentage of malted wheat, Centennial hops, and French Saison yeast.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Able Big Blk Wlf Imperial Stout

Able Seedhouse & Brewery Big Blk Wlk Stout. 9.8% ABV. 52 IBU. Sample bottle, given as a gift from Able. Pretty sure I can't buy a keg or a bottle for the bar, so it was a very nice gesture, and I can't wait to crack it open and drink.

Dark black coloring, roasted tan head, a bit slim, but lasting. Looking' fine.

In the nose: Ah! Espresso first, then cocoa rolls on up. Maple, molasses, ...pepper? If you look hard enough...

In the mouth: Cool and clean entry on the palate. Much malt, naturally, rich dark flavors. More coffee, more cocoa, and all those other touches we talked about earlier appear in minor roles. It's a big one, but I feel it could have a heftier mouthfeel, more viscosity, things like that, things that make imperial stouts the monsters they often are. This ain't bad, but it could be much better.

As it is, though, I'll take it, and thanks to Nate for the gift.

Northbound Snowpocalypse

So, you know. I reached my goal. I saw all of the breweries in Minnesota that I could. And everyone asks me, what's next? What do you do in 2017? The answer is that I continue to check out the new ones, try to revisit the best of the out-state and suburban breweries, whenever I can, and keep making the rounds of the locals.

Immediately after accomplishing that goal, Jason and I stopped in at Sisyphus and I took home their latest, Silky Choice Stout, since reviewed here. My next night off was New Year's Eve, and I took home 2 growlers from Town Hall, both since reviewed here. The next day, New Year's Day, a Sunday...I went nowhere and did nothing. That's what you're supposed to do. And it's cold out there. So very cold. It's been destroying a lot of my plans lately. Once we're out of the teens and in the twenties and thirties, I'll spend my free time outside, I promise. Lately, we've been below zero, or slightly above. Ugh.

The following Tuesday night (Monday was grocery shopping day), I made my way to Northbound with the intent to take home a growler, something I haven't done since I did my Minnesota Breweries One by One entry back in February. The beer review for that post was "Snownami" one of the three winter ales in the Snow Series. And so I entered the Brewhouse with my mini-growler, "Nami" written in marker on the growler cap, and found a seat at the bar. My old friends Krissy and Tim were still working the bar, and most of the servers were still familiar to me from when I worked there, 2 1/2 years ago, and then some. Plenty of good things on tap: the double IPA Jimbo, the doppelbock, and 2 of the Snow Series, Snownami, and Snowpocalypse. I just have to get back when they release Snowmageddon to round out the series.

Alright, let's crack open that mini-growleretterino and have some dry-hopped Scotch Ale. 8.8%. Snowpocalypse, here we go.

Dark brown coloring, fully opaque, toasted brown foam above.

In the nose: Sweet notes first, toffee, caramel, lightly toasty/roasty, slight hop presence, but mostly the malt keeps going on this one.

In the mouth: Mmmm. Yes. Just a little smokey in the flavor with this one, more than anything a malt monster. More toffee and caramel, creamy and delicious. Just delicious. Alcohol creeps up just a bit, but it's not bad. It's warming and it's working. (3 degrees below zero right now. It's so fun to be in Minnesota in January.)

So tasty, so rich, and so tasty. A nearly 9% Scotch ale that delivers all the malty goodness. Yeah, I'm liking this.

Here's some gobbledygook from the website: Each winter we release our Snow Series. The first is our Snowpocalypse, a dry hopped Scotch Ale. Normally, Scotch Ales aren’t dry hopped but here at Northbound we REALLY like our hops. So we ignored the style guides and brewed what we wanted. The earthiness of the East Kent Goldings hops compliments the rich caramel profile in a Scotch Ale. At 8.8% ABV, this beer will warm away the cold winter’s chill.

Surly Misanthrope

Surly Misanthrope.

Hazy, pale golden hued, slimmest white head.

In the nose: big-time funkification. Wild and sour, barnyard, citrus notes, sauvignon blanc. Very nice.

In the mouth: Bright and fruity, with a heavy dose of oak climbing on the palate. Sweet, then sour, then dry. Cleans the mouth, scrubs it out, gets it nice and dry for the next sip and swallow. Flavor is nice and juicy, a little bubble-gummy...what have we got here? Stone fruits, apricots, peach, wrapped up in brett and oak.

So, what's the story of this? Cynic gets soured, then barrel-aged? I'm going to go check the website. "Misanthrope is a Belgian-style Saison, aged with Brett in used white wine barrels.
Pilsner, Aromatic, Oats
Columbus, Slovenian Styrian Goldings
Belgian Ale finished on Brettanomyces Claussenii
14º Plato
9.6 ºSRM"

Okay, guess I had that right. I first had this over three years ago at the original brewery taproom. So glad the bottles have finally come out, but I'm not sure if I need to get more too many more. At $24 apiece, it's just a little outside my budget. The only problem with that plan, is that it's too, too delicious.

Is there more gobbledygook, maybe from the back of the bottle? Why, yes, a quote from Moliere's The Misanthrope: "Betrayed and wronged in everything, I'll flee this bitter world where vice is king, and seek some spot unpeopled and apart, where I'll be free to have an honest heart."

Three cheers for Surly, for giving us poetry with our beer!

And more, of course. I feel obligated to repeat the rest of the label: "This Belgian-style Saison ale is aged in oak barrels with Brettanomyces. Golden in color, it has notes of tropical fruit wrapped in an oaky horse blanket, and you know, other stuff that continue to produce a blah, blah, blah to create blah, and etc. It is best served cool and enjoyed alone or with a tolerated companion."

Okay, that's maybe a little bit clever, but I hope no one got paid to write that. Come on!