Saturday, August 27, 2016

Minnesota Breweries One by One #71: Lake Monster Brewing, St. Paul

You know, it's been awhile since I've been to a St. Paul brewery for this project. It's been months, it seems. And it's a nice day, why not bike to Lake Monster, for my second visit ever. I went there once with Dave A. in late December of last year, but I really couldn't tell what part of town we were in. Would it be easy to get to by bike? It was incredibly easy. I took Lake Street (and I had business there anyway) all the way across the Mississippi river into St. Paul, where they change the name to Marshall Street, then take that to Cretin Avenue, and take a left. From there it's a short trip over another bridge which spans 94, and you're almost there, inside an industrial complex called Vandalia Towers at 550 Vandalia Street.

Chalkboard.
Lake Monster has appeared in the Bitter Nib twice before, you can read the reviews of their contract-brewed bottled products here. The IPA and Pilsner are still the only products that are in the market, though some of their other beers make it into bars in keg form. I had the sour brown at Acadia for our Minnesota Wild & Funky event in May, but never got around to taking notes. Well, this time I took out the old trusty notebook and sat down to examine my beers at the taproom.

Berliner Weiss. 
First up, Berliner Weiss, their take on the tart German wheat ale style. At 4 % aBV, it's a hazy gold, and refreshingly tart and quenching, and ultimately dry. It was just what I needed after a bike ride of nearly 5 miles from my home, simple, easy drinking, nice. 

Irish Red.
Next up, and Irish Red Ale, at 5.3% ABV,  called Kelly's Red, which they referred to as a "hop-forward amber ale" and I couldn't argue with that. There was rye malt employed as well, contributing to the spicy notes in aroma and flavor. Sweet and malty and hoppy, with a long, bitter finish. Continuous snappy, hoppy twang on the palate. I liked it quite a lot, and would gladly have another. 

For the third pint, I went with the IPA on cask, with Centennial hops added. Fresh, lively, beautifully bitter and green. Just right. 

Cask IPA with Centennial hops.
Murmur Milk Stout.
About the taproom itself, it's spacious, warm, and comfortable. Typical elements about: here's your chalkboard with the choices, next to that the merch, and there's the TV (thankfully off), over here's your board game shelf, over there's your water station. Off to that side, a group is gathering for some women's history trivia, for some reason. And outside, the well-used patio. Almost all of the elements in place (what, no free popcorn?), and to go with, some damned fine beers. 









I decided to have one more, and made it the Murmur Milk Stout, on nitrogen, a dark and dreamy pint. Cocoa and coffee in the nose, a smooth but substantial ale. Just about note perfect for a nitro milk stout. Not the sort of thing I normally choose, but they nailed it. 

I while away a nice little evening at Lake Monster.
Great space, good service, and excellent beers. My only complaint is hardly one at all. Just make more great beers, and don't stop doing it.

Oh, no, sorry, one real complaint: coasters, people! You've been open long enough to afford to order and use some coasters. And not just to add to my collection, you need something in between the glass and the wood. Even napkins would be nice, if you can't be bothered to do coasters. It's just civilized.

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