Friday, July 22, 2016

Minnesota Breweries One by One #51: Lupulin Brewing, Big Lake

It's July 3, and time for the second stop of the day, going from St. Cloud down twenty-seven miles southeast  to Big Lake (pop. 10, 000, a staggering 97.6% of them caucasians), andI Lupulin Brewing, at 570 Humboldt Drive, another brewery anchoring a mall. They had been open since April 2015, and I'd been anxious to try them, hearing nothing but good things from absolutely everyone. Tasted some growlers at gatherings, too, but it was high time to take a stool at the bar.

Apricot Blonde, Spudfest
We looked over the menu, and I decided to do a flight of the first six listed. First one, Spudfest, I didn't care for, but it was not meant for me. It's listed as a farmhouse/cream ale, a hybrid I've never heard of, and it must use potatoes or it's name is a strange non-sequitur. Next was a little better, the sweet and fruity Apricot Blonde, but it was perhaps too sweet and fruity for me. Drinkable enough, though. Number three was Belgian Blonde, 6.5%, 25 IBU, and my notes merely read: "right on", meaning that it delivered everything I'd want or expect from such a beer.  Now we're cooking. Over the lame stuff, on to the good, heading into the really good.
Ciara Red, Tripel

Anonymous Lupulin bartender pouring Lupulin beers.
At this point, though, my note-taking really ceased. I was more interested in taking in the place, getting a feel for the room. Looking through my photos, there were quite a few of a person who I perceived to be a manager looking straight at me from the background, while I'm trying to snap shots of the scene. Those aren't the best pictorial impressions. Perhaps I should have introduced myself, but for two reasons: I like to remain incognito, and not tell the staff that I'm going to blog about them, even if it's a place that I like, and also, he seemed kind of busy.

There are some rules that I follow through this project, and some portions of my journeys are decided upon a whim. Like the taking of notes. I had decided to take some beers home with me, so there would be notes on some beers, just not every one. There are times when I just feel like leaning back and enjoying.

Lupulin Nitro Chocolate Stout
Rounding out the flight was the amber, the triple and Citra Red. I was pleased with all of these and decided that I would add glass to my overwhelming collection of things. Glass in the form of a growler of beer (which I still have too many of), not in the form of any of their beautiful styles of glassware. I still have far too many of them, and when is the next time I'll bring beer back from Big Lake to pour into it?

Lupulin Barrel-aged West Coast Stout
After the flight is done, time to check on some of those beers not available in sample form. I went with a Chocolate Stout on nitro, Jason chose Resin Rapture, an Imperial Red IPA at 8% ABV. They were both right on the money. Just as smooth, roast-y and creamy, just as bold and hoppy as you want.

I decided to skip the Simcoe Imperial Stout because 750 ml bottles were available (had one at home already, took no notes, saving the second for later), and chose the Barrel-aged West Coast Stout (7.5% ABV, 75 IBU) as my final beer at Lupulin. Was that ever a nice one! Hit all the right notes, brought the barrel aged action, deep and rich and
hoppy. Loved every drop of it.
Jason with his growler, my hand with my stout.

That was a nice one to end on, as we had to hit up another brewery, and there was time to travel, and time to spend there before they closed. This is the one we missed before when they closed earlier than advertised. But, I'm getting ahead of myself, that's a story for Breweries One by One #52: 10 K Brewing, Anoka.

I enjoyed my stay at Lupulin, loved the wood all over, the good design of the taproom and the overall professional appearance of the place. I would enjoy visiting again and again, when the opportunity arises. This is a place that knows what it's doing and is on track to succeed. I can see them expanding and distributing outside their area before too long. I look forward to seeing their logo in more and more places.

growler of triple.
As mentioned earlier, I took home some bottles, and a growler of the Tripel, and here are the notes I took on it a few days later:

Lupulin Belgian Tripel, 9.5% ABV, 30 IBU.
Slightly clouded, golden/amber coloring, short-lived smallish white head.

Lovely aromatics, fruit 'n' spice and everything nice. Belgian yeast brings bubblegum hints, definite Belgian tripel flavor. Plenty fruity: apricot, peach, orange, lemon.

Taste: it's all happening in the mouth. Big, bright, and beautiful, full of everything I want in a triple,
and not skimping on the booze, too. A touch maltier, and fuller bodied than many, and I like that.

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