Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Broken Clock Nordic Night Winter Porter / MN Breweries One by One #120

Broken Clock Nordic Night Winter Porter. 6.3% ABV, 46 IBU. Broken Clock Brewing Cooperative, Minneapolis, MN.

To the eye: Dark brown color, with ruby highlight, under a solid cocoa-tinged slice of foam.

In the nose: Some sweetness, a little fruit, a touch of spice, but altogether a malty affair. There's an interesting blend of spices here, mingling with the cocoa, caramel, & coffee underneath.

In the mouth: Warm and flavorful from the first sip. Medium bodied, long malty finish. Nice integration of flavors, well balanced. Great iteration of a spiced wintry porter. I haven't had one of those in a while, and they can be a refreshing change of pace.

Official word from the brewery: Chocolate and spice aroma with strong dark chocolate and toffee flavors intermingled with spices, including nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and cinnamon. 

This will be the seventh beer I've tried from this brewery, thanks to samples. And I've decided to make this post also Minnesota Breweries One by One # 120, because I paid them a visit back on Saturday, September 16, in between my first taste of Head Flyer and my first time at the new 56 brewing facility.

Broken Clock is at 3134 California Street in NE Minneapolis, occupying the same space as 56 before them, and NorthGate before that. Their operations are hindering in the same way as those others due to their lack of a proper rest room facilities, which prohibits them from running a taproom on premises. Occasionally they are allowed certain "pint nights" when they are allowed to serve sixteen ounces to customers, as long as they've rented out a Biffy, or any other brand of portable water closet.

I'd first heard of Broken Clock through the promotions of my friend Dale Thomas, one of the directors of this collective. At the time, there was some confusion between this upcoming brewery and another with a similar-sounding name, Clockwerks. In hindsight, we can surely have two "Clock" breweries, just as we have three that start with "In-" and two that start with "North", despite occasional lawsuits.

As stated above, I got to try their beers through samples and have had two of their beers on tap at Acadia, where I'm in charge of ordering. I like supporting the plucky upstarts and these guys are as plucky as any of them. It helps, also, if the beer is quality stuff, and it is.

This was stop number three for me on the 16th of September, after a fight and some at Headflyer and a pint at Bauhaus to stop and figure out how to get there. It wasn't hard at all, since I'd been there before last October, when I stopped in at 56 Brewing at that location. You do have to look for it, though. This was not one of those aforementioned pint nights, just a regular tastings and growlers/crowler sales. They would let you drink your crowler on premise, if you wished, using
Clocks are not only in the logo at Broken Clock.
plastic cups that they provide. There wasn't anything on at the time that I hadn't had yet, or hadn't reviewed here before, so I sampled them again while talking to the brewers who were manning the taps. Took home a Sundial IPA in a crowler, but chose to save it for later, rather than consuming all 750 milliliters there at the picnic table. I would have needed a friend to help me out with that.

I was up-to-date with Broken Clock at that time, but when I check Untappd, it seems that I've missed out on an Imperial Stout called RISe', and a Spruce ESB. I like what they're doing here, and it seems like they're using a home-brewer's sense of experimentation and achieving professional results.

So, it looks like I need to get out there again and keep with their new products. I can't always expect to stay on top of the scene by waiting for breweries to bring me samples. I mean, that would be great, of course. And is it that much to ask, really? (Dear readers: this is one of those statements that I make from time to time that is meant to be read tongue in cheek.)

Never mind, I'll check in on Broken Clock very soon.  Nice beers, all around.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Toppling Goliath Fire, Skulls, & Money India Pale Ale

Toppling Goliath Fire, Skulls & Money IPA. Toppling Goliath Brewing, Decorah, Iowa. 7% ABV.

To the eye: Highly hazed, bright orange, tight ring of ivory foam atop. Glass of O.J. or "hazy IPA"?

In the nose: soft and citrus-y. Pineapple, orange, and lemon. Mango. A splash of grapefruit. A li'l splash. Big fruit, low bitterness.

In the mouth: All the above, dropped on the palate. Very smooth, but with greater bitterness than the nose ever knew. Long, lingering hoppy flavors. Very meek and mild malt. Big time citrus attack. Smooth and creamy.

You know, this is all right. It's not my favorite style of India Pale Ale, but I don't hate it.

Inspired by a trip to the west coast, designed to capture the wild spirit of adventure and brewed to be enjoyed with friends. This rich IPA is for those with wanderlust in their heart and fire in their eyes. Join our Citra, Mosaic, Galaxy, and Nelson Hops on a journey to the bottom of your glass.

Well, maybe I just need more wanderlust in my heart and fire in my eyes to like this better. I guess.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Indeed Mango Helio

Indeed Wooden Soul Mango Helio Brett Saison. Wood barrel aged beer brewed with mango. Bottle Conditioned. 8% Alc. by Vol. Brewed and bottled by Indeed Brewing Company, Minneapolis, MN.

Highly hazed, bright orange, short-lived ivory head.

In the nose: sweet mango notes butt heads with the sour. Wild funk emerges from the fruit.

In the mouth: More sour than sweet now, but not as puckering as some would wish. Me, I'm fine with it. Quite fine. We don't need our palates attacked with fierce acidity all the time, do we? Medium bodied, quite consumable.

Whenever some folks hear "mango" they ask: "it's not too sweet, is it?" No one wants "too sweet", but they forget that brewers know what they're doing, and will rarely produced that "too sweet" that they're so afraid of, and in this case, have got it quite right. Not too sour, not too sweet, not too fruity, neither.

I like it. One thoroughly complex and intriguing barrel-aged fruit sour saison. A lot going on there, and a lot to like.

Dogfish Head Pennsylvania Tuxedo Pale Ale

Dogfish and Woolwich present Pennsylvania Tuxedo. A pale ale brewed with Pennsylvania spruce tips. 8.5% all. by vol. Brewed and bottled by Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE.

Lightly hazed, amber/golden hue, small off-white head.

In the nose: floral, citrus hop notes, bread-y malt background. Nice enough.

In the mouth: Those spruce tips come on strong at the front. Big pine and citrus attack on the palate. Spicy and spruce. Nice. Medium bodied, easy-drinking, just enough hops, adequate malt, everything works on all levels.

Good spruce, hoppy, sweet and malty pale ale and you can drink it.

A spruce-infused pale ale, Pennsylvania Tuxedo pays homage to the flannel-suited hunters and gatherers who dwell deep in the backcountry of north-central PA.

Brewed in collaboration with family-run outdoor clothing company Woolrich, Pennsylvania Tuxedo is a sessionable concoction with a grassy citrus kick complemented by the resinous conifer notes of fresh green spruce tips. We went into the forests of north-central Pennsylvania and Georgetown, Del., to pick these fresh tips ourselves.

A dry yet doughy malt backbone lets the hops and spruce shine while still balancing out the bitterness, making this one an easy sipper.

Insight Brewing I Shall Name Him Terror Bear NorthEast style India Pale Ale

Insight Terror Bear NE IPA. "drafted by Insight Brewing." "So delicious we can hardly bear it." Minneapolis, MN. 7.5% ABV, 21 IBU.

To the eye: Clear, bright golden, slimmed-down ivory head.

In the nose: Tropical fruit notes, with a twist of citrus. Pineapple, mango and a drop of tangerine and lemon. Nicely balanced, though more sweet than bitter, for certain.

In the mouth: Plenty of fruit on the palate, and a moderate amount of bitterness. Citrus pops, and there's a touch of blueberry. Sweet, biscuity/crackery malt character holds down the fort. Bitterness persists, though on the slight side, and malt maintains.

Here we have the low IBU, high tropical fruit note characteristic of the NE-style, but without the requisite lack of clarity that sets so many into a frenzy. Maybe that's what does it. I'm not sure what they're all freaking out about. As it is, this is a fine IPA, and you can drink it.

(Although, oddly the phrase "hazy" keeps coming up in their descriptions. Maybe a little, but not much.


A 7.5% ABV celebration of Citra and Mosaic juicy, hazy deliciousness. Mango, pineapple and passion fruit aromas spring out as the beer is poured. And the tropical fruit nose blends perfectly into delicately balanced flavors of orange, tangerine, and grapefruit zest.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Lakefront Shop 2 Centennial IPA

Lakefront Shop (Single Hop) Series #2 Centennial India Pale Ale. Ale made exclusively with Centennial hops. Brewed and bottled by Lakefront Brewery, Milwaukee, WI. 7% ABV, 50 IBU.

Lightly hazed, amber hued, slim white head.

In the nose: Sweet malt starts the show, with Centennial hot on it's heels. Piney, leafy, citrus-y, green.

In the mouth: Big bitterness from the start. Grapefruit, orange, lemon. Medium-bodied, long hoppy finish. Nice, tasty session IPA. I like this more and more as we go.

In 1974, amid the Watergate scandal, Queen’s follow-up album, and The Brady Bunch getting nixed, hop growers at Washington State University discovered a special breed in their fields. Descended from five different hop strains, with one helluva citrus aroma, they dubbed the young cones “CFJ90”. Maybe the WSU team took 26 years to refine CFJ90? Maybe they waited for Ice Cube’s solo debut? Either way, in 1990, they unleashed the new hop, renamed “Centennial”, to eagerly-awaiting brewers. Often used alongside similar hops, we thought Centennial deserved its own solo in our Single HOP IPA series. 
SHOP–Centennial pours deep gold with a rocky white head. A generous Centennial dry hopping gives it a punchy grapefruit and orange blossom aroma, while late boil hop additions add plenty of floral and citrus zest flavors up front with biscuity Munich malt in tow. Medium bodied, SHOP–Centennial finishes with lingering orange peel.

Oliphant Big Jilm Northern English-style Brown Ale .

Oliphant Brewing Big Jilm Northern English-style Brown Ale. 5.1% ABV. Canned on 08/22/2017. Somerset, WI.

Clear, reddish brown color, slim white head, drifting down in a quickness.

In the nose: sweet and malty, bright and fruity. Highly likable.

In the mouth: lean and clean. Low bitterness, mostly malty. Nicely balanced. Beautifully drinkable.

This is another one that I've either missed or passed up over time, because the style isn't one of my favorites. I'll take an IPA over a brown ale every time. I will drink them, though, and appreciate a good one. This one is one of those. Very nice. (I am disappointed upon looking at my Untappd activity that I've never even tried it. 189 check-ins for the brewery, and not once for this one, though it's been on when I've been there. Silly me.)

conan wrecks savage havoc on the world, by crom! big jilm leathers up for the cabaret. 

If you know what that means, you know more than me.

"Big Jilm" is a song on Ween's "Pure Guava" album that I haven't been able to get out of my head once it gets in, for twenty-five years now. Click on the video, and it'll get you, too. Or not. It's an acquired taste.

Milwaukee Citrus Happy Grapefruit IPA

Milwaukee Citrus Happy Grapefruit IPA. 6% ABV, 55 IBU, Milwaukee Brewing Company, Milwaukee, WI.

Lightly hazed, bright golden hue, slim white head.

In the nose: All grapefruit. Big grapefruit. You want grapefruit? Here it is. And, not much else.

In the mouth: Moderate bitterness, and huge grapefruit. Lean bodied, clean malt flavor, cool and easy drinking. And all-out grapefruit. It's a good IPA, and you can drink it.

Single hopped with Centennial hops provides rich, piney, earthy and fruity hop backdrop to the incredible citrus bouquet and flavor from the use of real grapefruit juice.

Bright, juicy and loaded with refreshing citrus flavor. The Citrus Happy Series is a new line of citrus inspired flavored IPA?s that will tickle your taste buds and quench your thirst.
All the IPA?s in this series are based on a compliment to our year round Hop Happy IPA. The recipe is aggressive citrus and hop aromas up front with a light golden malt
backbone to really bring the citrus flavors forward.

Surly Darkness Russian Imperial Stout 2010, Seven Years Along

Six weeks ago, I sat down with a Drkness 2012. Three weeks ago, it was time for a 2011. And now, it's time for Surly Darkness 2010. Russian Imperial Stout. Surly Brewing Company, Brooklyn Center, MN. 10.3% ABV.

Complete and thorough blackness, rich roasted head, long lasting, looking amazing..

In the nose: campfire, molasses, anise, dark rum, all kinds of cocoa.

In the mouth: bigness, richness, so much sweet, with plenty of bitter, non-stop richness. So nice, so good. Seven years in, I didn't think I'd find a flawless Imperial Stout. It's not missing a damn thing. The 2011 I had 3 weeks ago felt a little oxidized. This one? Not at all. More, give me more!

Still drinking, still enjoying, still slayed by the richness and the maltiness and the hops that keep it just in check. So sweet, so tasty. Everything is as should be. Nice, nice, and very nice.

So very nice that I can't believe that this one has lasted 7 years without losing anything in the flavor department, or body, or texture, or richness. You just never know.

Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery Blackbarrel Gold

Town Hall Blackbarrel Gold. Barrel-aged Belgian blonde infused with blackberries. What barrel? I can't find the information anywhere. Wait, found something. I'll post it later. 9.1% ABV.

Clear, bright burgundy color, slim head that drifts to nothing in no time.

In the nose: dark fruit, berries, bright, sweet, ...oaky. Lemony.

In the mouth: Lemon bursts first, followed by the berries, and only later do the aspects of the barrel eke out. As a blonde ale is the base, it is entirely smothered by the extra effects. But, sometimes, that doesn't matter and we take full delight in the after-effects. Oddly enough, I don't get quite as much of the bourbon flavors as I'd like, for the fruit seems to have smothered that. It seems. Maybe if I drink more, I'll get it. Maybe.

It is tasty, though. Strong, beautiful, delicious. Far from sublime, but full of slippery pleasures.

A strong Belgian blond ale infused with fresh blackberries, aged in bourbon barrels, and finished with a touch of fresh lemon. Bright tart fruit balanced by Belgian yeast esters, round malt, and lingering oak and bourbon.