Friday, January 13, 2017

Minnesota Breweries One by One #39: Dangerous Man Brewing, Minneapolis, with House IPA

Let's go back in time, shall we? Let's forget that it's only 3 degrees above zero and totally dark outside, and remember last spring. On the 4th of May in 2016, I made my first visit of the year to Dangerous Man Brewing Company in NorthEast Minneapolis, by bicycle. My friend Ashley was tending the bar, and I took notes and pics in anticipation of writing the report. Before I could do that, though, the pics got lost, and the notes, too. But not the notes on the House IPA, they rested in a "draft" state here on this blog's dashboard. And I visited the brewery twice since then, the latest a few days ago, this past Wednesday (note: this part was written several weeks ago). I brought home 2 crowlers, and one was, again, the house IPA. As well as a sour strawberry ale, but that will be a different post, here on the Nib.

(Editor's note: some of those pics from 5/4 have been found on Untappd. Wait, no, only one. The peanut butter porter, which I'd already reviewed. I did not check in to the CentenniAle golden rye ale or the kolsch, so those pics remain missing. And I found the notes, but without the pics, eh, let's move on. For what's worth, I enjoyed them both very much, especially the kolsch.)
They make a peanut butter porter here. You might have
heard of it. It seems to be quite popular.

So, what's the deal with Dangerous Man Brewing Company, known hereafter as DMBC? They opened up at 1300 2nd St. NE in Minneapolis in early 2013, owned by the husband and wife team of Rob Miller and Sarah Bonvallet. I had been aware of their progress through my regular customer Jeremiah Shapiro, who was an investor, and would give me insight when he'd stop at the Blue Nile. Their intention from the start was to brew only enough to serve on premise, not have a kitchen, not distribute their wares. Nearly four years later, they've kept to that, with only a few kegs making it out of their doors.

I dug up this old pic of Cal and me planning
our Chicago trip in May of 2013 at DMBC.
I made it out to DMBC on opening night, January 25, 2013. There was a line outside to get in, but the man in charge of said line was former Harriet Brewing volunteer Ramsey Louder, now a brewer at DMBC, and he let me and Harriet Brewing owner Jason Sowards in without making us freeze in line. The place was packed and it would always be a busy spot from there on out. And their beers received great acclaim throughout the land. But, if they're so dad-blamed awesome, why have they only appeared here in the Bitter Nib a mere eight times so far, in three years (going on four)? Well, first you may all remember that you can only get the beer there, not in cans or bottles elsewhere. That first night, I took home 2 64 ounce growlers, of the IPA and the Chocolate Milk Stout, which became a huge hit for them. A few months later, I stopped in without the empties in hand, and brought home the Belgian Strong Golden Ale. That make for 3 empties. So, the next time I went there I wanted to bring those back, and get more, right? When I returned again, I found that a new policy was in place, allowed only 20 growlers to be sold per day. So, I needed to make arrangements to get there in those first few hours of operations before those 20 were gone, or my efforts to bring those growlers across the river would be entirely in vain. I wouldn't have minded if those 20 were the only 20 they had on hand, and were filled each day, but I'm standing there on Wednesday and looking at the coolers filled with growlers marked Thursday, Friday, Saturday....and I was perplexed. Why can't I buy one of those? Because they're for tomorrow. So, I can't get one when I'm customer #21 at say, 7pm, because you need to save one for hypothetical 20 people tomorrow?
Here's Mr. Jackson Greer serving me up a
Red X Ale in October of last year. 

You know what? Forget it. It's not worth the bother, And I did forget it. I skipped them for the next year or so, while their popularity never waned and the legend ever grew. I did visit them from time to time, but never brought their beer home to review here.
Eventually, DMBC expanded into the next building, upping capacity and added a separate retail store to handle growler/crowler sales when it got too busy in the taproom. (I can say from experience how frustrating it is to fill growlers when you have a line of people who want their pints filled, and pronto.) And that policy went away. And they started doing crowlers, so I turned in my 3 64 ouncers and now I enjoy popping in when I can, getting what's there. taking home the crowler, recycling it, taking my notes and enjoying the wonderful DMBC beers.
Warning: This place hires Canadians. Watch
out! Just kidding, of course, Rick is more than
happy to serve you, when he's not making
maple syrup and apologizing for everything.

The first of these I enjoyed from a mini-growler was their latest huge hit, the Peanut Butter Porter, which has become overwhelming popular, and threatens to eliminate our local supply of Skippy for some time to come. There seems to be another full year until my next review, which was after that May visit, where I took the notes and lost the pics. Visit #2 in October saw Imperial Pumpkin Ale and Coconut Milk Stout, because Chocolate Milk Stout wasn't good enough anymore. (How many more waves of gimmick beer trends must we endure? ) Visit #3 of 2016 was Wednesday, December 16, and I decided that I would take notes, and everything, until I saw my friend Sam, and when she came over to hang out with me, wouldn't you know it, there was Rick S. and Grondin. And my pal Rick D. was working behind the bar. You know what I love about Dangerous Man Brewing being so popular? It's not the crowds, no sire.  It's that I can usually see some of my friends there.

I can almost always meet up with friends at DMBC.
All smiles now, Brian, Rick and Sam!
Sam has a peanut butter porter, and
I have a chocolate milk stout. What if
we combined them? What?
Dangerous Man Pale Ale. 
What I don't like about them being so popular? It makes them very over-rated. They simply aren't that much better than everyone else, no matter how many people say so. And while I stayed away (though I'm trying to keep on coming), I continue to have friends who work there, and many more who remain dogged, devoted fans. That's fine, that's cool, everyone's got their faves. I have mine. But, you know what? These days everyone is over-rated. Check out any ol' brewery and their taproom on Untappd or Yelp or Facebook, and see the reviews, and see how everyone loves everybody and everything they do. All beers are amazing now. Every brewery is incredible, and everything they make is awesome.

(I do find that this is one of those breweries that simply must be praised to the skies, or it's fans will plot to silence you, somehow. At least, that's how they behave on the internets.)

Simply not true, of course. But DMBC is brewing good beers, that's a fact. They've made a lot of great beers in nearly four years. I enjoy myself whenever I go, but I'm not usually there on a Friday or Saturday night, when things get a little crazy, and you can't find an inch of free space to move around in. I have been a few times, though, and I've seen it, and it's something. I'm glad for their success, and I'll keep coming back to try more and more of their beers. I've probably had my fill of Peanut Butter Porter, though.

We're all drinking sour strawberry beers.
(Actually, if I can offer some advice to them, I'd say drop that one, so it's not a tail wagging a dog, if you know what I mean. Tell people it was too expensive, not worth the effort, or whatever you want, and don't let the gimmick beer drive your identity. My two cents, take or leave.)
A Scottish Ale I enjoyed in 2014.

The notes are from May, the pic is from December. I found
that the words from spring matched the liquid of winter.
Notes from a crowler of ....Dangerous Man House IPA. 7.3% ABV.  Canned on 4/26.

Clear, bright golden coloring, large, lush snow-white head. Leaving lace, looking good.

Fresh, fruity, floral aromatics. Spicy and citric notes abound. Tropical, touch, if just a touch.
Pineapple and grapefruit. Gorgeous.

Let's drink it, already: big, brash hop attack leads first on the palate. Juicy, citrus notes float on the tongue. Medium-bodied, long bitter finish. Lively, and delicious. My kind of IPA. I can just drink it and drink it. And doggone it, so can you.

(One mystery I never solved: Is the House IPA
the same beer as the IPA they debuted in 2013?
Does that mean I reviewed a beer twice again?
Oh, no. I'm sure it all works out in the end.)

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