When we passed by Paisley Park in Chanhassen, there was already a gathering and the traffic was slowed down. Waconia was the first place we stopped, and the only visit of the day not to play any Prince music. They went with reggae. Okay. Fine. The rest of us are remembering a great artist who didn't deal well with pain relievers.
So, on this quiet Wednesday afternoon, we had some flights and I took some pics and I really enjoyed the beers and the place, and out of nowhere someone offered us some samples of their soon-to-be-released Imperial Stout. We must have stuck out from the locals, especially when I have my notebook out. I love it when that happens. I believe it was actually the Gin-Barrel Aged Driftwood Imperial Stout that shortly thereafter was released in bottles. (Anybody have any of those bottles for trade? Sure would like to get my hands on one.)
The report on brewery # 33 was stalled because the photos are lost in limbo, and now the notes are missing, too. Shall my opinions of Waconia Brewing be forever lost? No, because on the 20th of November, we were again in those environs, and Jason suggested that Waconia was between two of our set goals. Could we stop in for one, or two? Sure. So, it's a do-over.
One change, though. That Wednesday was fairly slow, and this Sunday was just a popping' beehive of activity. People playing board games, card games, watching the big ol' football games. (Which was a major distraction for our bartender, not that his service suffered any for it.)
Waconia Brewing (now to be called WBC, because autocorrect wants to go to Laconia, for some reason), is at the corner of a little strip mall area at 255 Main Street in Waconia, Minnesota, population 11, 480, only 95.7% of them white folks. Situated on lovely Lake Waconia, Carver County. Did you know that The Replacements' Bob Stinson was born in Waconia? That's what Wikipedia tells me. Doesn't say where Tommy was born, though.
The family-owned brewery opened in 2014, with the motto "Approachable Beers from Approachable People." Many of the standard line-up have names that associate them with the place. Wac-Town
Wheat. Carver County Kolsch. 255 Amber. (90K IPA, I think, is named after the length of lakeshore mileage. Maybe? I'll look into it.) Those four are also canned, and there's an ever-shifting array of seasonals and specialties.
My first choice was the Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter, naturally, why would I pass that one up?
And it lived up to the hype. (There has been hypes, not as much as Dangerous Man's PBP, but some.) Full of everything promised, rich, peanut-butter-y, chocolate-y, malty
deliciousness. I was loving it. Pity I missed out on bottles, or growlers. They had very little left on tap, so I'm glad that I got a chance to check it out.
Jason, meanwhile, had chosen one of the 2nd
Anniversary beers, the Raspberry Tart, and I took a taste of that one. Mighty nice. Refreshing, tart, tasty. Good stuff. Another one I wish I could have taken home with me. I made two choices for that, the 2nd Anniversary Double IPA, reviewed earlier, and the Mo' Winter Milk Stout,
reviewed below. But before we took off for our third stop of the day, I got one more pint in, the
and bitter, slightly sweet, certainly citrus-y, with a long, bitter finish, medium-bodied, refreshing and ending on a dry note. This is firmly within my style of IPA, and I would definitely find it a favorite were I a Laconian. Heck, if it were within reach on an average day, I would make it my daily IPA. Barring that, cheers, Waconia, you've got some good beers here!
All around, this is a brewery that knows what it's doing and is doing it well. I look forward to trying their beers over and over again.
Mo'Winter Milk Stout. 5.8% ABV. 21 IBU.
Dense, opaque, deep and beautiful. Slim cocoa-tinged head. Looking nice.
In the nose: Big roast, large malt, much chocolate. Hints of dark rum, anise, molasses.
In the mouth: Smooth, silky, malty, clean. Dark ale you can drink all night. Lightly sweet, slightly toasty, just about delicious. Good drinking. Creamy smooth, dark and down able. Nice.
Here's the official gobbledygook from the website: Mo’ Winta Milk Stout
Grain: American 2-Row, 2 varieties of Dark Crystal, Chocolate Malt, Roasted Barley, Oats and Lactose
Hops: Magnum & East Kent Golding
Yeast: London Ale Yeast
Notes: Dark, delicious, and made for winter, this smooth and creamy stout goes down easy. With low bitterness and moderate carbonation, this is an approachable ale for all types of beer drinkers. The addition of milk sugar compliments the roastiness, adds body, and produces a pronounced sweetness. This well balanced traditional English sweet stout can be enjoyed on the coldest of Minnesota nights or taken home as an after dinner dessert beer. Prost! $5/pint