Thursday, March 10, 2016

Minnesota Breweries One by One #19: Bad Weather Brewing, St. Paul, with Chinook SMaSH

Bad Weather Brewing, 414 W. 7th St., St. Paul
We've been to 18 breweries so far (me, and you, because you're along for the ride, of course), eight from my hometown of Minneapolis, and 10 from other, further -out communities, in this exploration of the breweries of Minnesota. And yet, we haven't stepped into any of the breweries in the next town over, St. Paul, capitol of the state, population just under 300, 000, county seat of Ramsey County, originally called Pig's Eye, after tavern owner Pierre "Pig's Eye" Parrant.  (Oh, why didn't they keep that name?) Sits on the East Bank of the Mississippi, across the river from Minneapolis, and only 62% of it's inhabitants are of the non-Hispanic Caucasoid race.

Birthplace of Charles "Sparky" Schulz of the funny papers, F. Scott Fitzgerald of the novels, and such well-known thespians as Loni Anderson, William Demarest (no, not just of "My Three Sons", but the films of Preston Sturges), and Al Franken's partner Tom Davis. Garrison Keillor, from my original hometown of Anoka, spins his folksy, small-town, down-home tales and sells Powdermilk Biscuits at the Fitzgerald Theater in "A Prairie Home Companion" on the radio. And it's a town I hardly ever visit, because, hey, we're Minneapolis, okay. You just stay on your side with your St. Paul ways and be all quaint and go to bed early. Whatever.

partial peek at the offerings on the chalkboard, in front
of fermenting tanks
But it's time that I drank their beer, and I decided to start with Bad Weather, because I knew they had a great taproom in their brand new brewery which opened last fall, that I hadn't visited yet. It was a day off, and they had a new beer on, so I went out to drink it.

Bad Weather started putting beers out in the market in 2013, brewed in the Lucid facility in Minnetonka. Their beers have only appeared here three times before, 2 of their 12 ounce bottles and one bomber. I have had a few others, including two that I ordered for Acadia last fall, the Hopcromancer and Firefly. (Never took notes on them, though. That seems to happen a lot.)
Half of my Galactic Tide Rye Porter.

So, I hopped on the Green Line light rail train at the West Bank Station and rode that all the way into downtown St. Paul for the first time ever. The directions I read told me to find a certain corner and take a certain bus for a certain length until I got to the spot. But this foreign burg is so confusing to me that when I soon found myself situated near E. 7th St. in the low digits I decided to just follow it until it turned into west 7th St. and eventually find the 414 address. That was a nice little walk.

It's an impressive space. Long bar, brewery behind it. Loads of table space, with a separate room adjoining. I cast my eyes on the chalkboards, spied an ale I'd heard of, and though the new one was already pouring, decided to start with Galactic Tide Rye Porter. Tasty stuff here, rich and roast-y, full bodied and smooth. 5%, 33 IBU, a classic easy-drinking English-style dark ale.

It's fun to find friends when taproom
Bourbon barrel-aged Cauld Weather Wee Heavy.
I had barely started my pint when a familiar voice rung out from down the bar, my old friend Ed Jackson, himself a St. Paulite. When I see him on my side of the river, it's usually visiting me wherever I've been working, or at Minneapolis Town Hall brewery. For once, here we were having a drink together on his home turf. I moved down next his seat, and ordered my next glass, the Bourbon Barrel-aged Cauld Weather Scottish Wee Heavy, the new one tapped that afternoon. And it was nice. I didn't take notes during this drinking session, so I can't pretend to have a review of it in my head all ready to unspool for you, but it was pretty much what you'd want: hearty, slightly sweet, malty, boozy, just delightful.

fermenting tanks.
Cheers, Joe!
mash tun.

I was about to chose my third beer, the Coffee-Infused Ominous Double Brown Ale, equally delightful, when behind the bar came co-owner Joe Giambruno who said hello, and asked if I wanted my glass filled, for I'd be needing a tour beer, wouldn't I? Oh, I asked, there's a tour. Sure, he said, whenever you're ready. I informed Ed, and then along came another friend, Andy, brewer at Barley John's brewpub, and the four of us went back into the brewery where Joe gave us a peek at the goings on at their big, beautiful system, as well as their plans for expansion.

Belgian Pale Ale. 
I had a couple more on this visit, a tasty Belgian
Pale Ale, and a taste, but not a full glass, of the Sour Ominous, a kettle sour version of the double brown. It getting to the point of too much beer and time to go and head back to Minneapolis. I left with a better idea of Bad Weather, and was more impressed with their output. Nothing but good beers coming out of here, folks. I haven't been to all of the breweries and taprooms in St. Paul, by any means, but do yourself a favor, and get down here. I know I'll be back.

I wanted to get a shot of the awesome mural by label artist
Lucas Gluesenkamp, but Ed and Andy got in the way.
I took a growler home with me, as well, and the notes now follow:

S.M.aS.H. with Chinook I.P.A.

Clear, bold amber hue. slim beige head of foam.

Nice spicy aromatics, mellow citrus hop character. Altogether enticing.

Taste: big hop bitter attack at the front, then all is cool and easy. Smooth. Malty. Medium-bodied. Good drinking. Grassy/citrus-y Chinook hop attack continues sip after sip, getting brighter, bolder, citrus-ier (that's a word, right?) every single time.

I liked this one so much that I took the entire growler down in one afternoon session, not once growing tired of it.

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