Friday, June 15, 2018

Dual Citizen University IPA

Dual Citizen University IPA. 5.5% ABV. 75 IBU. Dual Citizen Brewery, St. Paul, MN.

Clear-ish, copper-y colored, slimmed white head.

In the nose: Earthy, herbal-y, citrus. Flowery. Nice.

In the mouth: Hops pounce and play on the palate. Just enough bitterness, just enough sweet. Mixture of malt nears complexity, but doesn't quite make the grade. Feels a little unbalanced, but I can't say in which way. There's a lot of bitter, and a bunch of sweet, but they just don't mesh. Jarrylo, Galena, and Chinook are the hops in this one.

It's a good beer, but it's not much better than that. It is likable, but not lovable. So, I do like it. And I would drink another. But. And, there's always a but. ....

I'm going to keep an eye on this brewery, and hope that the next one I write about here is one I like just a little bit better.

Hop forward aroma with notes of melon, pear, and black pepper. Medium body with bitter hop astringency. Malty sweetness balances piney hops bitterness before giving way to an earthy, dry finish.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Sisyphus Churro Imperial Brown Ale

Sisyphus Churro Imperial Brown Ale. 8% ABV. 27 IBU.

Clear, bright crimson, near brown coloring, slim brownish head on top.

In the nose: malty, caramel, cinnamon (light).

In the mouth: Rich, spicy, malty, delicious. Mellow. Fine. Medium bodied. Cinnamon is mild on this one. It's there, though. Caramel malt, mild spice. I like it, it's tasty, and it goes down nice and easy. Pretty, pretty good.

I searched and searched and couldn't find any information on this one, other than those basic stats above. Nothing about what makes it "churro." I'm going to have to track down Sam and grill him on it. See what good that does me.

Ale Asylum Tears of My Enemies Pale Ale

Ale Asylum Tears of My Enemies Pale Ale. 5.9% ABV.

Clear, golden-hued, large white head.

In the nose: aroma of fresh wort, oddly enough. Oats and yeast. Oddly enough. Some semblance of hops simmers somewhere.

In the mouth: Okay, there's some hoppiness, there's a fresh, zesty taste. Hop bitterness plays it kind of low and easy in this one, fades off fast. It's smooth, tasty, and rather unremarkable. Especially for one with so drastic a name. I don't really feel like I am chilling in the capital city of Fruitland. (See below.) It's a rather ordinary APA.

I like it okay. But no more than okay. Okay?

Zesty and bold upon the first sips, with luscious notes of apricots, peaches and oranges like you’re chilling in the capital city of Fruitland. Tears of My Enemies is available March through July 2018, both packaged and on tap throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

Inbound Fruit of the Loop Citrus IPA

Inbound Fruit of the Loop Citrus IPA. Brewed and canned in the North Loop, Inbound BrewCo, Minneapolis, MN.

There's several layers of punning. Fruit of the Loop refers both to the neighborhood that the brewery is located in, as well as the underwear company, and then the breakfast cereal, Fruit Loops. 

"Get the juicy tastebud extravaganza with the North Loops' fruitiest American IPA. Best enjoyed with Saturday Morning cartoons."

Oh, yeah? They don't show those anymore. So, I'll go on Youtube and look for some Captain Caveman. Dynomutt. Bugs Bunny Road Runner. You know.

Clear, amber/bronze coloring, slim, but staying ivory head.

In the nose: bright citrus, big fruit. Lightly flowery, intense hop bitterness, sweet malt. Nicely balanced. Delightful.

In the mouth: More bitterness boards the palate at first pounce, but then comes the sweet and juicy, the fruity and malty. Tasty stuff. Tangerine, grapefruit, lemon and lemon. Orange zest for a bit. We're keeping it all in the citric, with big juicy bites of fruit. Medium bodied, easy drinker. Long bitterness, generous fruit.

I can dig this one. Good citrus IPA and you can drink it.

Hop & Barrel Lactose Panda Chocolate Milk Stout --the can

Hop & Barrel Lactose Panda Chocolate Milk Stout --the can. 6.1% ABV. (So says the website can reads 5.5%.) 30 IBU. Hop & Barrel Brewing, Hudson, WI.

A little bit ago, my friend Brian Priefer announced online, in the social medias, the he'd just finished canning some beer. I begged, cajoled, and wheedled him (those are all real words) to drop off a sample for me on his way home. When he did so, it was this one, which I'd already reviewed based on a crowler brought back from the brewery. If I only knew they were canning it, I'd have bought a different crowler.

So, I asks Brian, I asks him, is this any different from that? And he says: it's the version I'm happy with, so that does it, I'm reviewing this one. And patiently awaiting delivery of the other two.

Obsidian-tinged, richly roasted & toasted brown cocoa-brown head on top, leaving lace, looking lovely.

In the nose: soft, smooth, semi-sweet, velvet-y and chocolatey. Very enticing.

In the mouth: Mmmm, warm dark malt sensations, more chocolate, cream, yummy. Yep, that's a technical term, they teach it down at the beer drinking school. Medium bodied, caramel malt meets chocolate, with lactose delivering the smooth. Sweet, but beautifully balanced. Creamy, luscious, rich, and delicious. I like this loads.

You can't get it here yet. Got to go to Wisconsin for it. It'll be worth the trip, though.

An easy drinking milk stout. Layers of milk chocolate and light caramel with a subtle roast backbone make this stout suitable for any reason in any season.

There's more on the label: "Know the one thing pandas dig more than pandas dig more than bamboo? Chocolate milk. True Story! The lactose addition in this rich, creamy stout gives it layers upon layers of chocolate character, making it decadent and sippable, at once. A lack of Lactose Pandas in our fridges makes us sad pandas."

Monday, June 11, 2018

Town Hall Pollen Party

Town Hall Pollen Party. 7.3% ABV. Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, amber-ish hue, slim white head.

In the nose: Big on the sweetness, high on the honey. Not a whiff of hops. Meager malt. But interesting.

In the mouth: Spicy, sweet, herbal notes aplenty. Smooth malt mouthfeel. A tangy kick keeps coming back on the palate, tickling the tongue. Hops are popping. Tasty. Sweet, strong, snappy.

Nice one. I wouldn't go back to it often, but I can appreciate it.

Brewed with Vienna malt and wheat, Hallertau Mittelfruh and Fuggle hops, dandelion honey from Bar Bell Bee Ranch located in northern MN, and a blend of garden herbs.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

BlackStack Inc. Stout

BlackStack Inc. Stout. 6.5% ABV. IBU: Low. BlackStack Brewing, St. Paul, MN.

Solid blackness, utterly opaque, slim brown head.

In the nose: rich malt, roast, cocoa, some sweetness. Very nice.

In the mouth: More of the same. Bittersweet, roasted, slightly toasted, medium-bodied, and fairly easy-drinking.

I like this one. Good stout and you can drink it.

Rich and roasty aromas of bakers chocolate giveway to a soft and rounded mouthfeel and flavors of medium roast coffee and burnt caramel. A firm but restrained bitterness layers with the roast for additional depth of flavor. Wonderfully balanced with all of the flavors perfectly... Incorporated.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Surly Zest Crazed Pale Ale with Grapefruit and Lemon added

Surly Zest Crazed Pale Ale with Grapefruit and Lemon added. 5.5% Alc. by Vol. Surly Brewing, Brooklyn Center (& Minneapolis), MN.

Slightly hazy, bright golden hued, slim white head, leaving lace. Quite nice.

In the nose: Citrus explosion. Zest is king here, hops are second fiddle. Fruity as you get. (Within reason, naturally.)

In the mouth: Boom! Zest and hops hit together! Oof! Pow! Blam! Blaze of bitterness blasts the palate, with the juicy fruit keeping time behind. Bright, fresh and lovely. Light-ish bodied, easy-drinking. You can toss back one after another.

Go ahead and drink it.

Our brewers couldn't say no. Once they got a taste of the peel, they were hooked. They were....Zest Crazed Maniacs! The bright aromatics, paired with juicy grapefruit and lemon zest, dominate our citrus-heavy take on the American pale ale. 


Bright hop aromatics and grapefruit and lemon zest combine in our citrus-heavy take on the American pale ale.

Dark Yellow

Honey Malt
Simpson's Golden Naked Oats
13.6ยบ Plato
English Ale


Bent Paddle Infusion Series Tea Break Blonde Belgian-style Blonde Ale

Bent Paddle Infusion Series Tea Break Blonde Belgian-style Blonde Ale. Infused with Green Tea and Lemon. Bent Paddle Brewing Company, Duluth, MN. 6% Alc./Vol.

Slightly hazy, bright golden hued, slim white head.

In the nose: Light, herbal, slightly spicy/citric. Quite nice.

In the mouth: Fruity at first, sweet, herbal, floral, pleasant. Just flat-out delightful. Low, even negligible bitterness. Sweet malt Quite tasty, and terrifically drinkable.

I used to be a skeptic of tea-infused beers. Not for long, though, and not for this one, for sure.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

City Lights Coconut Porter

City Lights Coconut Porter. Brewed in Milwaukee, USA. 5.3% ABV. 35 IBU.

Solid blackness, under a thin, dark brown head. Looking great.

In the nose: soft, sweet, rich. Full of coconut flavor. Lightly roast-y. Quite nice.

In the mouth: I hate to keep repeating words, but it's all there. Sweet, rich, full. Roast. Chocolate. Coconut. Smooth. Medium body. Light cocoa finish. Vanilla. Toasty. Delicious.

This is quite good. I'm really not that into coconut beers, so I'm happy that this is a one-and-done, but it's good one, so take my advice and go try it out.

Bright, pleasing malt character is cradled in a soft, cushiony, smooth mouthfeel that glides easily down the throat at each swallow. Lip-smacking hints of coffee and chocolate readily move across the tongue, as the dark body gives up its aromatic coconut roastedness. The addition of Madagascar Vanilla comes through in the finish to round out the sweetness of this delicious beer. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Dual Citizen NOT Grand Russian Imperial Stout

On the 3rd of May, I went on a little bike tour with my friend Ed to see some breweries in St. Paul. The first stop was new to me, Dual Citizen, open for about 5 months. I had two beers, an IPA and a Belgian golden strong, and I liked them both, but I wasn't taking notes. I thought I would try out their imperial stout at home, and took home a crowler of that. Waited a solid month to open it, and what happened next is something completely unprecedented.

Dual Citizen Grand Russian Imperial Stout. 8% ABV. Date: 4/27. Dual Citizen Brewing, St. Paul, MN.

Huh. I poured this out into the glass and I'm thinking....this is not the color of an Imperial Stout. But that's what it says, that's what they told me it was, I'll go forward thinking that that's what this is.

So, it's a clear, crimson color. Off-white, lace-leaving head. Definitely does not look like an imperial stout. And I tasted it before I bought it. A month ago. Does the label not say "Grand" and "8.1% ABV" ? It does.

In the nose: Bright, fruity, beautiful. Stone fruit, apple, berry. Moderate bitterness.

In the mouth: Fresh and fruity. Low hop bitterness. Big malt backbone. Tasty and drinkable. And an utter mystery. Definitely mislabeled. But what am I drinking? Is it the red ale? The pale? Not one of their several IPAs. Not the Belgian IPA. Or is it? I'm getting a lot of fruity funk.

As you can tell, I'm disappointed. If I knew that I didn't have their RIS in my possession from a month ago, I would have bought one yesterday. (I went back on another St. Paul jaunt, this time with Jason, and it was his first time.) And what if I open up the crowler I did buy then (the University IPA), and find out it's the same as this one? (Probably not. Not hoppy enough....maybe.)

Again, a first for me. I've bought a growler of a crowler that was completely mislabeled. I paid for an imperial stout, and I did not get it. I sincerely hope this never happens again.

Inbound Laser Loon Kolsch

Inbound BrewCo. Laser Loon Kolsch. Brewed and canned in the North Loop.  Inbound BrewCo., Minneapolis, MN. 4.3% ABV, 22 IBU.

Warning: I may say the following again. I've had a crowler of an Inbound Kolsch before. But this is the first time I've had one from a 12 ounce can with the name of Laser Loon. Is it the same? Is it different? Both? Neither? Let's find out.

Clear, pale golden color, slim, but staying ivory head. Looking good.

In the nose: Light. Faint. Slightly fruity. A touch floral. Nice.

In the mouth: Slightly hoppy. Just a touch fruity. Requisite delicate apple and pear notes. Light bodied, and exquisitely easy drinking. Dainty and delicious. Mmm. This is all kinds of nice. You can drink it, and drink it, and drink it without worrying about nothing. Delightful.

Glancing at the earlier review, hmmm, ...yeah. Pretty much.

German style, refreshing lightness. Bright honey and grain malt notes. Crisp hop balance from subtle lemon-herbal and floral aromas.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Ale Asylum Goddambergeddon

Ale Asylum Goddambergeddon. Imperial version of Ambergeddon. 8.2% Alc./Vol. Ale Asylum Brewing, Madison, WI.

ALE ASYLUM is unfiltered and all natural. We use no additives, preservatives, fruit, horse hooves, fish guts, or extracts. Our ingredient list: water, malt, hops, and yeast. This is what we mean when we say our beer is FERMENTED IN SANITY. You know who makes it, you know what it’s made with.

Largely clear, deep burgundy hue, solid head of creamy/white foam on top. Looking nice.

In the nose: Much malt, much hops, big in every way. Tons of citrus meets a load of caramel & toffee, with a pinch of bread crust, too. Much richness, as well. Bold, son.

In the mouth: Boom, bam. Chocolate, caramel, toffee, underneath a big blast of citrus-y hops. Big buzz of booze to meet the extra hoppy/malty kick. It's a burly one, a brawler, a big-boned bastard. Brash, unabashed and fuzzy. And I can dig it.

A bigger, angrier version of the big and bold Ambergeddon Amber ale that is both complex and supremely drinkable. Goddambergeddon will be available February through April 2018, both packaged and on tap throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

56 Marshall St. Series Barleywine

56 Brewing Marshall St. Series Barleywine. Brewed and bottled in NorthEast Minneapolis, MN by 56 Brewing. 9% ABV, 90 IBU. Bottle #307/432. Date: 2017.

Richly colored, largely opaque, burgundy hued, under a slim, off-white, cream-toned head.

In the nose: Dark fruit, stone fruit, burnished fruit. Deep, rich, fruity, wine-like, and very malty. Alcohol threatens, at first.

In the mouth: Richness, dark fruit, leather, molasses, caramel, toffee, deepness....intensity. Full body, full flavor. I like it. (If I don't exactly love it.) Good barleywine and you can drink it. And there ain't nothing wrong with that.

This American barleywine has the aroma of raisins and nugget hops with flavors of deep caramel malt and toffee. The finish is slightly sweet with a crisp bitternesss.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Firestone Lager

Firestone Lager. 4.5% Alc./Vol. Helles lager. Firestone Walker Brewing, Paso Robles, CA.

Clear, bright golden color, slim white head, soon gone.

In the nose: Clean, lightly malty, airy....not getting much else.

In the mouth: Light bodied. Lean malt mouthfeel. Slightly cracker-y, biscuit-y, clean and lean. Super drinkable. Yep. It's a lager, and you can drink it.

Here are more words, not written by me, about this beer, from the people who trying to sell it:

We created our first Firestone Lager in 2000, and it proved to be well ahead of its time. Now it's back, new and improved, for those who finally want a better lager.

In a craft world dominated by hoppy beers, we have gone back to basics with Firestone Lager. this is our hardest beer to make--and our easiest one to drink. Made in the classic all-malt Munich Helles style, Firestone Lager demands technical perfection from our brewing team, with a transparent canvas that would otherwise reveal the smallest flaw. Gambrinus pilsner malt establishes a crisp, dry base with a soft mouthfeel, while noble German hops provide just a whisper of bitterness. The result is an impossibly smooth and immensely drinkable beer that aims to help redefine American Lager. 

In the words of Brewmaster Matt Brynildson, "Firestone Lager is made for drinking, not thinking. It's all about enjoying a good, clean beer."

Town Hall Citracade IPA

Town Hall Citracade IPA. 6.3% ABV. Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, Minneapolis, MN.

Clear, copper-y colored, slim white head.

In the nose: Nicely hopped, citrus and tropical tones aplenty. Malt flavor exudes aromatics from below the hopping. Nectarine, tangerine, lemon, lime. Very cool and lovely.

In the mouth: Bright and beautiful. Slight sweetness smashed up against bitter. Clean exit. Medium bodied. Tasty new twist on an IPA. Not enough to make the regulars put down their Masala Mamas. They'll try it on Happy Hour, sure. But they never forsake Mama, no, never.

There have been 137 Town Hall beers reviewed here in the Nib. More than any other brewery. And 399 IPAs, as of this writing. More than any other style. Not sure what any of it means, but I know I can count on the beers of Town Hall, especially when it comes to the hoppy ones.

Citracade Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery •   IPA - American •   6.3% ABV
IPA featuring Citra hops and a well-balanced malt backbone. 

Oliphant Red Hulk Lager

Oliphant Red Hulk Lager. 5.5% ABV. Oliphant Brewing, Somerset, WI. 1 quart/32 oz crowler.

Clear, dark reddish hue. Slimmed-down off-whitish head.

In the nose: Good and malty, sorta sweet, brightly burnished. Quite nice.

In the mouth: Starts off slightly sweet and fruity, but, moreover, majorly malty. Light bodied, fully flavored. Tasty stuff, and easy drinking.

This one is a beer that has brewed for quite some time at Oliphant, and I think that this crowler is my first time trying it. No, it's not. According to Untappd, I tried it out in August of 2015. But I never chose to bring it home in a crowler/growler until now, because I just don't prefer lagers, even red ones.

And when it comes to Hulks? I go with the Green ones.

red hulk

don't get so angry. be like me and hide in a closet and break popsicle sticks when life has got you down.

red lager. 5.5% abv

If only Jeremy were there on my visit, I could have pestered
him with questions about this chalk drawing. It doesn't
really resemble the gamma-irradiated form of General
Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross. It looks more like Dan Hedaya
with a sunburn. Or Harvey Pekar, maybe.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Ballast Point Aloha Sculpin Hazy India Pale Ale

Ballast Point Aloha Sculpin Hazy India Pale Ale. 7% ABV, 70 IBU. Ballast Point Brewing, San Diego, CA. "Juicy Tropical Notes from Brux Trois yeast."

Lightly hazy, bright golden hued, slimmed down ivory head. Looking' alright.

In the nose: Tropical fruit aromatics. Pineapple. Guava. Etcetera. Maybe mango. And still, a lot of hoppiness. Nicely bitter.

In the mouth: Bright and fruity, bold and bitter. Juicy. Medium bodied, long, hoppy finish. Tasty. Hey, this is alright. Good ol' IPA, and there ain't nothing wrong with it.

With Aloha Sculpin, we used Brux Trois yeast to turn our award-winning IPA into a tropical oasis, with bright and refreshing notes of mango, pineapple, and guava.

Ale Asylum High Coup India Pale Ale

Ale Asylum High Coup India Pale Ale. "A dank and resinous India Pale Ale from Ale Asylum in Madison, WI. 6.2% ABV.

Clear (slight chill haze), bright golden color, sizable and staying head of ivory foam above.

In the nose: Blast of citrus notes and hop bitterness. Grapefruit, orange and lime. C hops ahoy. Fierce upfront, mellow thereafter.

In the mouth: Juicy and bitter, together. Dank and resinous is right. All the pieces in all the right places, all taking part in playing their part. (Pssst, I just gave away the secret of great beer.) Lean bodies, easy drinking, long, hoppy finish. Astringency hangs on the palate, just the way I like it.

Very nice IPA. Nice work, AA.

6.2% abv.– Bold yet approachable, this resinous IPA is dank and resinous and packs the flavor of a high octane beer in a more sessionable 6.2% abv package. Aromas and flavors of tropical fruits dance wildly over your palate before a splash of juicy bitterness washes them away. High Coup is available April through June 2018, both packaged on tap throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota.

Minneapolis Town Hall Czar Jack Imperial Stout

Last week was Town Hall brewery's annual barrel-aged week, in which each day brings a new barrel-aged twist on a THB classic, usually en...