Monday, April 25, 2016

Minnesota Breweries One by One #26: Able Seedhouse & Brewery, NE Minneapolis

It was a Sunday, April 3, and we found ourselves (myself) with a day off, and no set plans. So, perhaps I should visit another brewery taproom and add to the numbers for this project? Of course. Because I was off-course. To be on course, I will have to have logged at least 2 breweries per each week that's transpired this year. Fifty-two weeks times two is 104. At my last count, we had at least 100 breweries in the state, including those who do not have a taproom to visit. That number has changed since by at least two, with the openings of Modist and Inbound the past two weekends. The plan remains to visit at least two breweries per week to stay on track. As of this writing, I have the situation well in hand, but am way behind in writing these reports. Thirty-five on week sixteen. (Nine more to write!) Week seventeen starts today, but I'm resting and it's raining. What will they be this week? Haven't decided.

But back to that Sunday, three weeks ago, it's week fourteen and I had only been to twenty-five breweries, behind by three. That all amounts to my roundabout way of saying I had to rack up another brewery and headed into NorthEast Minneapolis by bike on a Sunday afternoon. I was going to Able Seedhouse & Brewery, at 1121 Quincy Avenue, right in the Logan Park neighborhood. Now, I could have taken Broadway Avenue to Quincy, but I was coming from a different direction and chose to take the usual route I would take in finding Indeed Brewing, going down 7th St. until I hit 15th Avenue, then once past Indeed turning a right onto Quincy and traveling all the way down until reaching the corner. It was a strange notion, to turn away from Indeed, but I had to check out the new kid on the block. And log brewery #26.

Proper Pub Ale.
I locked my bike and walked through the patio area on my way into the taproom. I saw some friends outside and got their impressions on the beers. I had heard a lot of differing opinions, from divergent individuals, but there's only one way to find out for sure. I sidled up to the bar and scanned the marquee style tap list. (No chalkboard for them.) Went for a Proper Pub Ale for my first, on CO2 (a nitro version was also available), a half pint pour. 4.2%. 29 IBU. Highly carbonated, sweet and malty, with an inappropriately high level of hop bitterness. A lot of English ale ingredients in this: Maris Otter malts, Fuggle and Challenger hops, aromatic red wheat malt. I could see what they were going for, but I was not a fan of this one.

Next up: Two Sparrows Wheat Pale Ale. Clear, golden, nice and hoppy, clean and crisp. Nice hop bite, very smooth and drinkable. 4.3% ABV, 30 IBU. 50% wheat malt. Centennial, Chinook, Ahtanum, and Mandarina hops. Delicious. I'd return to this one again and again. Okay, we're one and one now. Let's keep turning this tide.

As seen in the photograph, there's a little booklet with information on the beers that was brought to me by the server when I requested a little more insight. Rather than a full page printed off with all the data, a darling little volume. How adorably precious and hipster.

Able is the kind of place, it seems, where people have
birthday parties for their dogs and leave the balloons
on the ceiling. 
Yup, we're in NorthEast, and it's flush with young hipsters, just being as ironic and twee as can be. Especially when they bring their dogs in. That's when the pups get greeted by sayings that would make a baby blush with embarrassment, spoken in registers several times higher than normal. Sometimes it's all a crusty old curmudgeon can do to stay in his seat and keep his eyes from rolling all the way to the back of his head.

Able's taproom feels like a converted factory, which it probably is, with an array of picnic tables and benches. Games over here, merchandise there. Me, I like the bar. And I was ready for beer number three, yet another half pint, to stretch out my samples.  Before I got to that, though, there was another sample, just a taste, of their infusion, the Two Sparrows blended with pomegranate and acai, which my friendly server raved about. It was nice, but I wouldn't necessarily seek it out.
Blk Wlf Stt.

Number three was the misspelled on purpose, apparently, Blk Wlf Stout. Nice'n' roast nose, silky smooth, rich and malty, dark and drinkable. Quite nice stout done right. 3.7% ABV, 32 IBU. Nice session stout for sure. Another win in this one.
First Light India Pale Ale.

Time for one more? Okay. Let's finish it off with First Light IPA. 6% ABV. 60 IBU. Crisp and clean, lightly hoppy, citric and floral notes in nose and in the mouth. Falconer's Flight, Azacca, and El Dorado hops, English pale ale, Caramel, and American 2-row malts. Good beer and you can drink it. Not a mind-blowing IPA, not outstanding, but it's tasty and refreshing. Does the job.


I was happy with the beers here, as well as the service, but I can't use the word impressed. They are new enough, that there is still time, lots of time for them to grow and stretch. There are no flaws in the beers, nothing wrong with them, just not especially spectacular. I will continue to visit from time to time, and see what else they have brewing.

As a P.S., the one aspect of the business that I wasn't completely understanding is the part that gets top-billing over the brewery, the Seedhouse part of it. Apparently there's malting going on, not just brewing. A better understanding of that might give me greater insight into the business in general, but that will take a little more research and another visit.


1 comment:

Eric Wentling said...


Pretty much exactly my impressions...good write-up Al.