Thursday, April 28, 2016

Minnesota Breweries One by One #27: Omni Brewing, Maple Grove, with Hopsessed Double IPA

This mural was only installed a few days prior to our
visit, on the occasion of Omni's 6-month anniversary.
It's Sunday, April 10, 2016. Time to visit breweries #s 27, 28, & 29. That's the plan, anyhow, and we're going northward this time, starting first in the suburb of Maple Grove. It's 20 miles northwest of Minneapolis, population 61, 567, only 84% of them white folks. According to Wikipedia, Maple Grove serves as the retail, cultural and medical center of the northwest region of the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area. I guess it must be true, then.

And we're (Jason and I, again) going to an address in an industrial park, 9462 Deerwood
They'll get around to putting a sign on the building,
give 'em time.
Lane North, and Omni Brewing Company.The building was previously used for an ice cream company, and held many of the features a brewery would need, requiring no real transformation to the site. Just setting up the taproom, putting in the equipment, etc. They opened in early fall of 2015, and it was high time that I had some of their beers.

L to R: Omnipotent, Sweetness, Hopfull, and Lake Day.
We pulled up to bar and decided for a sampler flight that gave us the whole shebang. First up, Lake Day cream ale, a clean, lightly sweet, easy-going drinker. Got to be a hit with the locals. Not bad. 4.9% ABV. Moving down, it's Hopfull IPA, and it's everything you're looking for: bright, hoppy, juicy and citrus-y. 6%, 80 IUB, described thusly: "A straightforward, sweeter than most, IPA that lets Simcoe and Amarillo do all the talking." I was listening. Good stuff. #3 was Sweetness, a stout, replete with roast and chocolate notes. 5.5%, 29 IBU. A solid, sessionable stout. Rounding out board #1, or 2, if you're looking at it from Jason's perspective, was Omnipotent, a sweet and malty scotch ale. Right on the money. A bit big for it's britches, at 8% ABV, but you don't hear me complaining.

Moving on to board #2, from my vantage point, we start with Rua, a Ginger Red Ale. Nothing wrong with it, just not to my taste. I took no notes on this one. #6 was Parti w/Heather, an English Mild with heather, brewed partigyle style. Didn't love it, nothing wrong with it. The, #7, Ardmore Ale, a 4.5% German-style hefe weizen, some of the elements of the style,
banana and clove, but tasting just a little off, a
touch hot...not quite to my taste. Next, Muddy Runner, a toasted coconut porter that tasted exactly like Samoan cookies. Dead ringer for them. You need coconuts in your porter? They're doing it. Does that finish our flight? Sure, but it didn't end our

There was one more that we couldn't include in the flight, and decided to share a goblet of the Barrel-aged Omnipotent Scotch ale. I may need help remembering what the barrel was, but we weren't fans of this one. High booze in it, strong barrel flavors, but it just didn't seem to work. Too hot, too boozy, not nearly mellow enough. There was nothing wrong with the beer they put in the barrels, perhaps the barrel or the whiskey just wasn't right for the beer.

Well, you know what? You can't win them all. With a few exceptions, I liked the beers. They're making good stuff, and I'm sure there's plenty of time and room for improvement. I'll give them a chance again and again, and I feel they will become a welcome addition to the brewing scene.

As for the taproom itself, it's fairly typical. There's where you get the games, there's the merch, over there's the growler cooler, and up top, TVs for the game watchers among us. Long tables, small ones, and one of my favorite art works at any taproom, a beautiful mural made of small and large painting put together to tell the story of Minnesota brewing. One of the staff members (an owner?) informed us that the only stipulation they gave the artist was that it had to include parts of Minnesota brewing history. I think it says something that they would display art on their walls that include the logos of other local breweries that might be considered "the competition."

We'd heard mixed reviews before the visit, Jason and I, but we left unswayed by the negative. There were a few misfires, but the hits outnumbered the misses, we thought. I like this place. They're doing things right. The next time we stop in, I'll treat myself to a full pint of Hopfull or Sweetness.

I took home a crowler, and wrote notes on it a few days after.

Hopsessed Double IPA, 8% ABV, canned on 4/9/16. Drinking it on 4/14/16. 93 IBU.

Highly hazed, dark reddish-hued, copious foam atop. Looking lovely.

Aromatics: floral and earthy at once. Deep, complex, and atypical. What's under this?

In the mouth: Starts off rich and malty, feels like an imperial red at first. More malty & hoppy than your typical double IPA. What kind of malts, I wonder? A little toffee, some caramel. It's malty and tasty, through and through.

This is an interesting one. Doesn't taste like the typical double IPA, much darker and maltier, but still delicious. It's not my favorite way to do a DIPA, but there ain't nothing wrong with it, either. the alcohol is rising, but it's altogether well-balanced and wonderful.

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