Thursday, April 7, 2016

Minnesota Breweries One by One #23: Montgomery Brewing, Montgomery, with The General

I've never really heard of Montgomery, Minnesota, much. This made it all the more surprising when I heard good things about Montgomery Brewing, when it opened up in 2014. I mostly heard those things from Val and Ryan, and I believed them, naturally, for they seemed to show good taste in beer. But when was I going to visit Montgomery? And where the heck is Montgomery, anyway?

Montgomery is a city in Le Sueur County, Minnesota, in the United States, 45 miles south of Minneapolis.  I copied and pasted that from Wikipedia. Population 2, 956. 94.4% white, predominantly of Czech heritage. It's a typical small Minnesota town, and ever-so charming. And it has this brewery, and I had to go there and drink it's beers.

Our caravan left Faribault and found it's way to Montgomery and 306 2nd St. NW. This building was formerly home of, get this, Montgomery Brewing Company, from about 1880 to the 1940's. The current owners of the building, which had been other things, of course, in the intervening 75 years, thought it would be cool to revive brewing to the region, and why not do it right there and retain that historic name? They even re-use some of the beer names, (The Chief Amber Ale, in particular) and display as much memorabilia from the old brewery as they can.
Flag Street APA.

I can't help but love this space. There's something about taking a historic building and re-purposing it for it's original purpose that thrills me down to my core. I just love old buildings, even when, or maybe moreso, when they could use a paint job. The place is what it's supposed to be. It took me a while to soak it all in, look over the selection, come to terms with their use of the term "cannons" instead of crowlers, admire the decor, scan the brewing equipment within eyesight. When it came time to pick a beer, I just went with good ol' American pale ale, because I like them, and if you make a good one, you're alright with me.

Flag Street American Pale Ale. Light citric nose, floral, pleasing, nice bitterness, medium-bodied, good drinking. 42 IBU. 5.3% ABV. Everything you want from a pale ale. They describe it as such: "You don’t have to wait for a holiday to pay homage to the old red, white and blue. Flag Street is an honest pale ale that has enough integrity and resolve to be called American. This balanced ale is slightly hoppy with a hint of citrus. Come down to the street lined with flags and pay your respects."

A cross section of our beer-loving troop.
There were seven beers on tap. While I drank my pint of Flag Street, I occasionally took samples from the flights of my friends, whose number had grown for this visit. In addition to myself, Jason, Rod, Sharon, Dave, Ryan, and Val, Jason's sister Angie had arrived with Little Evie in tow, and her friend Sara. It was a mighty table by now.

Like many taprooms we've seen, a collection of growlers
from other breweries is on display, but MBC mixes it
up with memorabilia from the older brewery of the same name.
More ephemera from the original
brewery graces the walls. Find
out why you should keep their
beer in your home.
So, I sampled from Northside Blonde, The Chief Amber, Shelterbelt Brown Ale, and others. There were raves about the Redbird Rye-PA, and I tasted that one, too. They were right. I may have skipped the Zlate Pivo (more Czech!), but have notes on the Smoked Porter. I'll skip those, since I took home a crowler, I mean, Cannon, and have posted those notes already. I was impressed with the overall quality and flavor of the beers. Everything was just right.

I recall having a full pint of Redbird, but didn't take notes. I had become more interested in being there, than writing things down about the beers. In the midst of my reverie, along came one of the owners, as well as brewer Charles Dorsey, who knew Ryan and Val from their many visits. Out of the blue, Chuck whisked me away on a tour of the 1,500 square foot facility and gave me the history of the business, as well as plans for the future.  When we got back to the taproom, Chuck mentioned a bourbon barrel imperial stout, and wondered if we would like samples. Would we? Next thing we knew, an array of sample glasses of the rich, inky treasure appeared for all. And wouldn't you know it, he actually had some crowlers filled and ready to sell us.

I held on to mine for about 2 1/2 weeks, and the notes, from last night, follow:

The General: Bourbon Barrel-aged
Russian Imperial Stout. 
The General. Barrel-aged Imperial Stout. 9% ABV. 80 IBU.

Solid Stygian hue. Vast blackness, large and lasting cocoa/tan head resting comfortably above. Looking good.

Whiskey hits the nose first, vanilla and cocoa. Big time Kentucky Bourbon. Molasses, oak, char. Cherry, just a bit. Sweetness and richness together, again. Great depth. Smelling great.

I found some interesting decorations in
the mens' rooms of the taprooms of
Minnesota, but none so whimsical as
this painting of ...well, you
figure it out!
In the mouth: Immensely complex. Caramel malt and toffee tastes roar up real strong on the palate. Coconut? Toasty. Tasty. Full-bodied, rich, decadent, delicious.
Solid. Sweet, then dry. Big, then thick. Much richness. Definite decadence. I said that, right?

All in all, this is exactly what I want out of a beer like this. Good one, Montgomery! Keep 'em coming!

Cheers, Chuck!
The beers of Montgomery have begun appearing in kegs at nearby bars and restaurants, and local liquor stores in the Cannon form. To Dorsey's delight, they were even distributing as far as the Northern suburbs, as it's closer to his home. I was happy to see a small town like this really embrace a craft brewery that's doing it right. I hope I keep discovering those kinds of communities as I continue this project.

The taproom was scheduled to close at 4 pm, but as the hour went past, the staff threw that out the window, and
kept letting people in. As for us, the cheese puffs that Sharon brought just weren't doing it for nourishment, and we packed up to have dinner at a nearby pizza place.
And so endeth part two of three on March 20, with one more stop on the agenda. Farewell, Montgomery Brewing Company, and Montgomery, Minnesota! I hope to drink your beers again!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congrat's to Montgomery Brewery

This sounds like a wonderful place to visit the next time I'm in Mn.

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