Sunday, May 8, 2016

Minnesota Breweries One by One #29: Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis, with Terragon Witness Witbier

It's another Wednesday, another day off, and time to check another brewery off the list. On the 13th of April, I chose Boom Island. I've been trying their beers as they've been released since their debut in 2012, and they have appeared 13 times before in the Nib. To avoid repeating myself, I suggest you read this one in particular, though you have to go down past the part about Day Block to get to it. This was from when I had the notion to to write a series where I tackle all of the breweries I could get to by bike in the Twin Cities, hitting several of them on one day, writing about those all in one post. I could have called it Twin Cities Breweries A Bunch At A Time, but instead it went by the name of Biking to Beer. I only did 3 of them, before the project was abandoned, partially due to the fact that I took no notes and procrastinated on the writing too much. I've sworn that it will not happen to this project, says the man writing about a brewery visit from 24 days ago, with nine more articles left to write. I'm going to do it, I kept telling myself, just watch me.

flight.
Belgian Chocolate Stout, nitro.
Are you done reading that post? You really should give it a glance, it was where I first reviewed the space itself. This time, though, was not a first-time visit, and the occasion was not chosen at random. A sales-rep from their new distributor (after years of self-distribution) wanted to know what it would take for Acadia to have a dedicated line for Boom Island among the 26 beers on tap (discounting the root beer and cider). I informed him that I'd always strive to consider them among the rotation, but it wouldn't hurt for them to show me around the brewery and introduce me to the owners, whom I had never met. And so I biked from my home in south Minneapolis, through downtown, to Washington Avenue and all the way north, just past Broadway Avenue, turning right on 21st, St. and a bar called Cliff 'n' Norm's. The entrance is from the back. I walked in to see Jim is behind the bar, as always, co-owner Kevin Welch is busy bottling Hoodoo with his crew, and I found a seat, soon met Tim Hufford, my host for the afternoon, and got a pint of the new nitro Belgian Chocolate Stout. Smooth, soft, dark and creamy, just enough chocolate to hold it in your tastebuds. An easy-drinking stout, for sure, certain to find favor at the bar. Sure, I'll try it out.

chalkboard.
Next, we got a flight going, but there were no surprises here. Witbier, Saison, Hopbier, Hoodoo Dubbel, Brimstone Tripel, and Thoprock Belgian IPA. I like 'em all, to varying degrees. All good beers, no question about it. And all of them previously reviewed here.

Zarathirstra.
When the bottling was done, Kevin came over to chat and talk a little about the past, present and future of the company. A search for a new brewery location is in the works, one that would allow them to stretch out and breathe, I would hope. It's a very tight spot they're in, but somehow it works for them. An expansion would be good, and it will be nice to see them grown and get into other markets.

I had a pint of Zarathirstra next, the Belgian-style bitter, fresh, zesty and refreshing. Kevin was able to clarify a mystery that puzzled me since that post of last year, where I wondered where the name came from. Answer: the musicians of the Minnesota Orchestra came up with it, as it was brewed originally for a festival of the music of Richard Strauss, he of "Thus Spake Zarathustra", aka "The Love Theme From 2001: A Space Odyssey, ...and Kevin hates it. But it's a big seller there, and he can't change it, poor guy, or people will get confused, upset, and angry. No one wants that.

Cheers, Kevin!
I finished out my afternoon hanging out with Jim, Tim, and Kevin by getting a glass of the 11.5% Holiday Ale Yule, astonishingly left over from last winter. (Or did they stash kegs away? I forget.) Dangerously delicious. I liked it when I first reviewed it from a bottle, but I love it now, and went through 2 kegs of it at Acadia last winter. Wonderful beer.

I got a growler of the Witness Witbier with Terragon, and was soon on my way. I'll be back, though, you know I will.




Terragon Witness Witbier
Clouded, light straw yellow, slim white head.

Light spice in the nose, wheat notes, some citrus. Nice.

In the mouth: delicate spiciness, tarragon and coriander together, at last. Small orange and lemon notes, refreshing wheat malt texture. Spice notes grown in prickliness and heat. An interesting mix going on here. I like it. Little bit of celery-ish flavor here and there. And a bit of ginger-bread, too. I mean it. Seriously, celery and ginger-bread, with citrus and wheat. Mmmm.

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