Monday, February 1, 2016

Minnesota Breweries One by One #6: Day Block Brewing, Minneapolis, with 2nd Anniversary Imperial Coconut Stout

Another day off, another brewery to visit and check off. Weather would again be no deterrent, for it was actually in the 40's, if you can believe it. It also just so happened that Day Block Brewing on Washington Avenue was kicking off their 2nd Anniversary celebrations with some new beers, so my decision was made, and off to Day Block I went. It was the exact 2-year anniversary for them. Why do I remember it so exactly? Is it because I meant to go their anniversary celebrations last year, but never did? Or, because January 27, 2014 sticks out so clearly in my mind?
 It was a blustery, snowy, blizzard-y day, and I closed up the Blue Nile quick as I could so I could cheer on my friend Paul Johnston (now going as Thornes for some reason) at his new place. I couldn't catch a bus, and walked all the way in the snow to see the end of their opening day celebrations. Surprised and delighted to see my old friend Mike there bartending, who I'd trained as barback/bartender at the Nile many years past. I hadn't seen him in years, and had no idea he was back in town. Now, I give full disclosure for no reason at all. Day Block was the first place I interviewed at when I decided to look for new employment. I thought that if they needed a bar manger, I could be it, and perhaps my friend the brewer could put in a good word for me. The interview went well, I thought, but no job resulted, because they did not want to have a bar manager initially, much to my surprise. I guess they weren't financially structured at that point to pay for that position. And I didn't want to leave my job to just be a bartender. It's just as well, I don't know if that would have been the perfect fit for me, anyway.

Nonetheless, I keep going back for pizza and beer. And it's good pizza and good beer. On this stop, I pulled up to the bar and manager Stefanie told me about the Double IPA, which became my first beer, and I will say more when I review a crowler of it later. I followed that with the Citra Pale Ale, which I know I've had before, but have not taken notes on. It is just what it should be, an easy-drinking, smooth, hoppy pale ale with Citra hops. A delight for the hop-head, but not a trouble to drink down. Sometimes, you just need a beer, and you can put your notes away.

But, you know what? These anniversary offerings did bring out the beer geek elements, and I found myself seated next to two of them. I took great delight in hearing one say to the other: "Excuse me, I need to do my ticking." "Oh, me, too, " said the other, and they pulled out their devices, opened their apps, and clicked away. Do I tick? Yeah. Of course. But not all the time. It ain't my life. But it's a lot more my life than it is in other peoples, so as much as I may mock the Uber Geeks, I have to admit I'm never that far from them. Is it just because I like to add a lot of words and a picture of the beers I drink that sets me apart, rather than just checking something off online, or in a silly notebook. Doesn't make me better, just a little different.

Next up, I ordered the Imperial Coconut Stout. And music swelled from the other room. I asked the bartender to watch my stuff while I went to check it out and was lured into the other bar by a live band doing a great version of Thelonious Monk's "Bemsha Swing." There at bar #2 was brewer Dan Banks, having taken over from my old pal Paul, now at a brewpub in Michigan, as well as BeerAdvocate pal Tim. A slice of birthday cake, made with the Imperial Stout was swiftly delivered to me. I don't normally eat cake, but had to indulge on the occasion. It was good.

That was it for Day Block, entry #6 in Minnesota Breweries One by One, which I've written about earlier here. Next up, a couple at Town Hall a little bit up the road, including the quadruple called Foolish, then across the street to RePUBlic, where for some reason Surly Nein was on sale for $3 ("get rid of it!"), then down the road a piece more for an Abrasive Ale at Acadia (who picks their tap selection, some mad genius?), giving me the courage, at last, to do my hot as molten lava rendition of "Moonage Daydream" in honor of our dear departed space oddity David Bowie. Then, home and rest and relaxation at last.

The next night, I cracked the crowler and wrote the notes:

2nd Anniversary Release, Oak Aged Coconut Imperial Stout, 9% ABV., 67 IBU, 750 ml.

Solid blackness, with a rich, creamy, light tan head, lasting long and leaving lace. Looking great.

Deep, rich and chocolatey aromatics, caramel and toffee, too....a little coffee, as well, before the coconut reveals, itself. Still playing it coy in the nose.

Taste: All kinds of thick and gooey richness and dark, delicious malts in this one. Chocolate is chief in this, and the coconut is a minor player, at least it hasn't revealed itself much yet. Full-bodied, intense, and delicious. Not as thick and chewy as some Imperial Stouts, but there's no lack of flavor or intensity here, it's just easy to pass down the throat. Big chocolate flavor lasts and lasts. This is a treat. A coconut-less treat. Maybe it's here, but it remains a small-time player in the overall profile.

Lots of malt richness in this, and it ends on a dry note. Very nice. Lot of lingering in the finish. Lot going on.

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