Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Minnesota Breweries One by One #46: Bauhaus BrewLabs, Minneapolis, with Sky-Ten! Double IPA

(Editor's note: I wrote this in late December, and for some reason didn't finish it until now, when the gloom of winter weather isn't quite so dire, as it was.)

 It's the depth of winter, now. We're just seeing the light at the end of  the tunnel, a possible way out of this. Temperatures are so low. Perhaps it's best that I put off this report a good seven months and then some so that I can think back and recall the wonderful warmth of that fair day in May when I stopped into Bauhaus BrewLabs. It's Wednesday, May 25, and I biked there, to 1315 Tyler St. NE, right in the center of the NorthEast brewing district, bellied up to the bar and waited for Mark Schwandt to arrive and join me. Full disclosure time: yeah, I was being treated and comped this time, but I had a relationship with them already. I was already a fan, and had been buying their beer for Acadia for nearly a year. They'd already been a mainstay on the taps since before I took over the ordering, and I soon found that their well-made, easy-drinking lagers and ales were a shoe-in to sell at the bar.

Bauhaus BrewLabs of North East Minneapolis opened it's doors in the summer of 2014. Cans came out right off the bat, and I tried everything I could. Sky-Five, Stargazer, Wagon Party, and Wonderstuff. Four flagships that cover a lot of ground, all done well. (As of this writing, Bauhaus has appeared 13 times in the Nib, and I'm fairly sure I haven't missed one.) I only made it to the taproom once, initially, after they'd been open for months, and got a taste of Schwandtoberfest then. I didn't get back to the taproom much because it seemed like there wasn't much that they offered beyond the flagship brands. I'll get back to that point later.

Homeguys Helles lager.
The taproom at it's quietest, before the rush.
So, returning to last May. I enjoyed the beers at the bar, until sales director Mark Schwandt took me behind the scenes and we toured the brewery. I got a good peek at the whole facility, and a glimpse at it's future, including plans for new beers, such as the one which I will tell you about at the end of this post. Watched it all in action, and got the answer for why Wayne Wilderson endorsed their Activity Book. (How many breweries have Activity Books?)
And I had all the mainstays, as well as the one other beer available, a Helles Lager brewed in collaboration with Fair State. I don't have much to say about Helles lagers. There really isn't much to say about them. They're light lagers that are easy-drinking. After my time at Bauhaus, I went to Fair State to try their version. Fairly identical, and just exactly as they should be. But, what to say about it? I think I already said what there is to say.

Hot fun in the summertime.
Matt, some interloper, me, Mark.
And here's the rub: I like the seasonals from Bauhaus quite a bit. Chances are, if you go to the taproom, you'll find a seasonal and the four flagships. Nothing wrong with that. If you're a super-geek like me, always on the hunt for new beers, you might be disappointed that there aren't more beers than that. (And we super-geeks are a demanding bunch.) But if you're just looking for a place to hang out with friends and drink great beers, we'll you're good, then. There are other attractions, like trivia and music, video games (they actually have the original Simpsons arcade game with Smithers as a villain) and parties and so forth. Inside the building is nice enough, but the patio is a thing of beauty.

What Bauhaus is doing, they're doing very well. Clean, well-executed, damned drinkable.
Add to that an unrelenting creativity in the marketing department. Each new release comes with a video, and often, too, a song. A new Imperial Alt, called Beechballer (almost all of Bauhaus' names invert expectations) was promoted with the men of Bauhaus playing shirtless volleyball in this weather, while Mark sings an impassioned ode to the brew, in a voice he described as Bolton meets Hagar. That's just the latest. They've been doing it and doing it over the past 2 1/2 years, and I've been enjoying it.

About the time our tour of the site was over, Mark's brother Matt came over and joined us, his brewing duties done. There are other Schwandts involved in the business, many more with names that start with M. And I like them and their brewery and it's beers. Keep at it, Bauhaus, and I'll keep digging it.

As I said, the beers I had on this visit were the flagships that I've already written about, and the helles lager, of which I had little to say,'s good. So, I recently snagged a bottle of the Over the Charts series Double IPA, called Sky-Ten! (So, it's Sky-Five times two.) And I opened up that bottle, and here's what I said about that.....

Sky-Ten! Double IPA. 8.8% Alc. by Vol.

Lightly hazed, amber-ish hue, solid, lasting cap of ivory head.

In the aroma: Big bitterness, pine and citrus notes, grapefruit-y and lightly floral. Just the way I like it.

In the mouth: Juicy, piney, hop bitterness grabs the palate, and the malt below is doing it's thing. Great complexity of flavors here, with the hop bitterness staying in there for the long haul. Malts complement the affair, and aid in the drinkability. Tasty stuff. Spicy, hoppy, juicy, delicious.

For a brewery that mainly does German styles and lagers, not really known for their use of hops, this is a damned fine version.

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