Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Minnesota Breweries One by One, #10: Lupine Brewing Company, Delano, with Uncayndness Oatmeal Stout-Wine Barrel-aged

Continuing from the last stop in Delano, MN, to the next, Lupine Brewing,  #4 on our tour of the breweries of Wright County, was just a few blocks away, from 2nd St. North to  N. River Street, and the one that Jason had visited before. Their logo combines an image of wolf's paw print (Lupine means anything relating to wolves) with the hop plant, whose Latin name, humulus lupulus,  is derived from an association with wolves. I've tried to find the exact connection, and have discovered many theories. The "bite" of the hop's bitterness was one, and the resemblance of the leaves to a wolf's teeth was another. We have to go back to the man who gave it the name, Pliny the Elder and the original phrase he used "wolf of the willows", referring to how the plants grew wild in the forest, much like the wildness of the wolf.

And we love our wolves. Much as we love our hops. They all come together at Lupine. As I said, J. had been there before, so he didn't need to investigate the selection, and could repair himself for the drive home. So, it was up to me to take in as much as I could of this brewery and taproom, taste the beers, and take the notes. And herein lies a problem with our approach. The last brewery of the day might just be the best brewery of the day, and after a number of beers, my focus starts to slip. It's inevitable. The notes aren't as good, the pictures are crappy, I forget to ask for a clean coaster for my collection. Maybe I forget to ask a few questions. I get fast and loose with my growler purchases. I ain't saying I was drunk, I was just drinking.

I liked the bar, enjoyed the atmosphere, got into the vibe of the place. Past the restrooms, another bar waits for when they need to expand the room. On the other side of the taps sits the brewing equipment, and the manufacturing side of the operation. We were there late-ish on a Sunday, but there was still a feeling in the air that this was where the beer loving crowd of Delano comes to celebrate life.
I couldn't tell for sure, but...
...there seemed to be....

....a disco in the brewery.

Three Bandits Coffee Porter.
There were eight beers on, and I started with the 3 Bandits Coffee Porter. 5.5% ABV. Medium-bodied, full dark malt flavor, with a rich coffee taste. Intense earthy, roast-y character,with notes of cherries and other dark fruits. I liked this. I could have kept on drinking it, long after the glass was emptied.

Next up, the IPA, (5.8% ABV, 60 IBU), floral, fruity and fresh. Medium-bodied, refreshing, bursting with hoppy flavor. Flat-out delicious. This one, too, I could drink and drink. Mmmm.
India Pale Ale. 

Nitro Oatmeal Stout
A third? Why not? This time, the Oatmeal Stout, on Nitro. Smooth. 5.5 % ABV. 35 IBU. Malty. Roasty. Creamy. That's all it says in my notes. That's all that needed to be said. Good ol' beer.

I enjoyed my time at Lupine, and would definitely like to return. There were a few beers I didn't try, but if these were right on the money, they probably did a good job with the Brown Ale and the Wheat.

Now, I mentioned that I'd never been to the brewery, but I have had the beers, some months ago, a surprise sales call. I recalled this in the review of the Murder of Cranberries review, just a few days ago.  The samples did no good, but word kept coming that this was a fine operation. Many raved about Murder of Cranberries, so I was glad to see it available and instead of ordering a pint, I took home a mini-growleretterino. They were so reasonably priced that I took home two. Here are my notes on the second.

Barrel-aged Uncayndness Oatmeal Stout. 6.3% ABV. 32 IBU. The odd spelling of this beer refers to cayenne peppers tossed into the mix.
Solid blackness, slim brown head gone in a second.
Aroma is a blend of red wine, dark malt, cocoa, and light spice.
 In the mouth, the wine barrel comes in and grows and grows, with the pepper heat following fast. Growing fast. Taking over...no, keeping time. Strong dark malt foundation. Low hops. Minor bitterness. Nice blend of sweet, tart, rich, ....yum. Undying peppery heat.
This is a nice little experiment, a fun diversion, but I can't see doing it twice.

I like this brewery, and I'm damn glad I checked it out at last. I'll be checking them out again and again. If not at the brewery, from time on tap elsewhere, such as ....the bar I order beer for....? Yeah, probably.

What's next, in installment 11? I have some ideas. You, though, will have to wait and see.

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