Monday, January 11, 2016

Minnesota Breweries One by One: #2: Harriet Brewing, Minneapolis, with Karma Suture Belgian Brown Ale

If you recall the ending to my last post, I was pondering what my next move to check off local breweries would be, and how I would do it. I checked bus schedules to see how I can visit some St. Paul breweries on a Sunday, but something intervened to change plans. A couple of things, actually, starting with #1, I had pressing matters to attend to, "errands" some call them. But attend to them I had to do, before any recreational activities. And the other thing? The temperature is below zero today, almost 10 degrees below. No fun. Not sure I wanted to do a lot of standing around waiting for buses, or walking to catch the next connection.

I've known Madeleine for seven years, and never knew she had such
 flair with chalk.
My business at the library, the bank, and the grocery store kept me in the neighborhood where both Hiawatha and Minnehaha Avenues meet with Lake Street. What else is there? Harriet Brewing. Wasn't there a new beer just released? I walked up to the back entrance to the taproom and saw owner Jason Sowards. No, he informed me, that release wasn't until Tuesday afternoon. But on entering the room and reading the beautiful new chalkboard (the things you miss you don't visit for a month or three), there was a beer on tap that I hadn't even heard of, so a growler full of it was soon in my possession. After a couple of beers, chatting with friends, taking in some live music, it was time to go home, and with dinner and chores done, it's time to crack open this Belgian-style brown ale called Karma Suture for reasons that weren't made clear to me. It's 4.8% ABV, with 25 IBUs.

Clear, reddish brown coloring, large creamy-tan head, lasting long and leaving some lace.

Some sweetness in the nose, minor fruity esters, low bitterness. Mostly malty. Probably Belgian Special B in this one, and I'd guess that Belgian yeast is being used. I really should have asked Jason while I was there, but I also enjoy the guessing game.

In the mouth: starts slightly sweet, thoroughly malty, ending dry and crisp. Just enough bitter for balance. Just enough sweet for flavor. Nicely rounded, and quite tasty. Some chocolate malt notes, and a bit caramel malt flavor, too. I like this one. When you're desires something dark, but you don't want to go with the high alcohol offerings like Dark Abbey dubbel, or Grande Zombi stout, this makes an excellent session ale, while hanging out in the taproom, relaxing with the music.
Cheers, Joe, and thanks for the beer!

I found this one to be quite satisfactory, and will enjoy drinking at least half of the growler tonight.

Steve West and friends provide some sweet music on a frigid Sunday afternoon. 
I've done a fairly thorough job of documenting the output of this brewery over the past five years. They are fifth most tagged Minnesota brewery on the blog, after Town Hall, Surly, Schell's and Summit. When they opened, there were no other production breweries in the city of Minneapolis, only brewpubs. We've got nearly 30 now, and Harriet still hasn't seen any real expansion in that time, nor packaged any of their beers in cans or bottles to sell outside the taproom. Tap handle real estate has gotten more competitive, and Harriet has to do a lot more marketing to stay fresh in the eyes of the craft beer crowd. Just putting on music events and food truck rallies may not be enough to keep the drinkers coming back to this old, former garage. I'd like to see them survive and grow. Quirky breweries like this help keep the beer scene just a little bit weird, and I'd hate to see that go away.
The bobbing head of Hank Williams Jr. continues to watch over
 the record section,
where some of my LPs remain in the collection. 

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