Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Minnesota Breweries One by One #66: The Herkimer, Minneapolis

The Herkimer, at 2922 Lyndale Avenue, has appeared once before in the Bitter Nib. You can read that here; it was part of my attempt to visit and have a beer at all the breweries in Minneapolis on one day before the task became impossible. This was two years ago. Go ahead, click the link, read it, then come back.

Okay, are you done? Great. Now, I don't know if much has changed for the better or worse there, though I do know that some brewers have come and gone. Still, they continue to brew, and I must visit the brewery and drink their beers, because this is the nature of this project. I had that one beer at that visit two summers ago, and went there again a few weeks later, having two Baltic Porters, because it was 2-4-1 Happy Hour. I skipped them since then, over two years have gone by, and this project or not, it's time for a return visit. I popped in last Thursday evening, August 11. I've decided that I can't let my days off go to waste, and had to see another brewery on the list on each of them. It was getting late, and I wanted to check a brewery off my list that wasn't too far from home. There are fewer and fewer of them left.

Black Perle. 
I sat at the bar, observed the options available and greeted my bartender, who was a capable profession, full of courtesy, attentiveness, and good cheer. I chose for my first pint Black Perle, a beer that does not appear among the others on their website. Must be new. I would have pegged it for a schwarzbier, though the list calls it a "dark ale", though not a porter or a stout. My brief notes went as follows: "soft, slightly sweet, major cocoa in the nose and on the palate, rich and malty, but very smooth." I liked it.

Helles Bock. 
Next up, the 7% ABV Helles Bock, Sweet, malty, creamy....buttery? Under-attenuated? I drank it down, but didn't love it. I've had buttery hells bocks before, but liked them better than this. It's not bad, and I did finish it, but I didn't love it. This one is also not on their website, but it the Maibock sounds remarkably like it.

I'll admit this freely: probably the worst picture
I could take of this beer. There's something that
happens when I feel self-conscious doing some-
thing conspicuous in the lair of Uptown's
bros and bro-eenas. 
I decided to bypass Toolers Weiss (which I didn't care for when I reviewed it on BeerAdvocate in 2004, but I'm sure it's gotten better in 12 years!), Jeffrey Kream Ale, Slushbox Session IPA, Dr. Nat's Brew, and American Red, and chose as my third and final pint of the session the IPA know as The Lutz, which I'm pretty sure I've never tried. It's been well-documented that I love IPAs. How's theirs?
 First of all, I will consult the listing on their website. What do they say, before I tell you what I say? "The Lutz West Coast IPA has a prominent to intense hop aroma with a citrusy, floral, perfume-like, resinous, piney, and/or fruity character derived from American hops. It pours with a medium reddish copper color."
Hops: Bravo | Cascade | Calypso | Fuggles
Malt: Marris Otter -UK | Castle – Belgium
ABV: 7% | IBU: 66 | SRM: 12 | OG:17.9 | Decoctions: 0 (aw, come on, why not even one?)

My notes: Big citrus aroma, intense hop taste, long bitterness, juicy malt ballast, overall a tasty, well-done West Coast IPA. I'd drink it again.

I sat at the bar, soaking in the atmosphere, half-listening to the conversations of the dudes and dudettes of Lyn-Lake. I enjoyed some wings, took in the decor, paid a little attention to the shuffleboard players, inside and out, and tried to pay less attention to the multiple TVs around the bar, all showing the Olympics. And I closed out with a bourbon, because I love bourbon and they're a bar, and why not.

Of all the decor in the place, why take this shot (/selfie)?
Because why a dude on an ostrich, that's why. 
After this, I went next door to LynLake Brewery for another IPA, brewed with apricot, and they have no food or liquor, but there were probably five times as many people, also watching the Olympics. The Herkimer will always do well at that location, because any bar will, and the beer is decent enough. Sometimes interesting, sometimes not, but always somewhat drinkable, though never enough to make it a necessary spot for the dedicated ale imbiber in Minneapolis. (They certainly shouldn't call themselves "Minneapolis' choice craft brewery", as they most certainly are not, definitely not now in the age of the taproom.) And they will certainly thrive, when there must be safe places for people to cheer on the Green Bay Packers, here in Vikings land.

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