Monday, January 9, 2017

Minnesota Breweries One by One #47: Take 16, Luverne, with Kick the Bucket Double IPA

It's January, 2017, and I'm playing major catch-up with this project. Actually, I quite enjoy looking back on summer as it's cold outside, very, very cold and the skies are dark in the afternoon. Looking at those pictures, and remembering those days, it almost gives one hope.

Not the prettiest picture of downtown Luverne, but that sky.
In June, I spend most of the month working on a major move, and only spent one day seeking out new breweries, and the trip was one that Jason had planned months prior. Take 16 Brewing in Luverne does not yet have a taproom, but the city allows them a certain amount of days to hold a party in the parking lot, serving pints in plastic cups, on the condition that proper equipment for the removal of human waste matter is provided. They get some pizza from the nearby Pizza Ranch, a band rocks out, and everyone is groovy.

Normally, the brewery is only open for growler sales. Until they build that taproom with a functioning restroom, that's how it's going to be. Saturday, June 4 was one of those days, and I took the day off of work so we could make it there, looping in visits to Bank Brewing in Hendricks and Brau Brothers in Marshall. This would take care of the SouthWestern corner of the state.

And so we took off for our 3 hour and 20 minute trip, a good 203 miles to 509 E. Main Street in Luverne, Minnesota just to drink some beer. Just to say we did it. Passed by a lot of cornfields on the way to Luverne. Luverne, Luverne, Luverne. (Read that as if spoken by David L. Lander aka Squiggy. Or Michael McKean, aka Lenny. You pick.) Population 4, 745. Settled in 1868. (A lot of settling going on back then. Minneapolis came a year later.) A mere 96.3% of them white folks. Probably nice ones, too. Seems like a pretty swell small town, good for raising up some fine farm folk, I'd reckon. Can't tell you too much more about it. It's in Rock County, which, according to Wikipedia "holds the distinction of being one of four counties in the state of Minnesota without a natural lake." Wished they hadn't told me that. Now I hate the place.

So we get up to Take 16 Brewing, so called because there used to be a highway 16 that went by and people used to say "take 16." (It's not a riff on a Dave Brubeck tune, I found out to my dismay.) Get into the brewery, and get us some beers, and they had on tap Kick the Can IPA, Stormy Jack Stout, Sundown Nut Brown, Spin the Bottle Pale Ale, Country Mile Kolsch, Hayloft Hefe Weizen, and Kick the Bucket Double IPA. A full line-up. Untapped shows 8 beers for them, the only missing is called Luverne Lager. Many of these beers have been bottled, but they don't send them out to the Twin Cities just yet. (Oddly enough, they were also serving wine there. Did not know a brewery could do that.)
Cheers, Jason! Clinking our Solo cups.

And what did I drink? Here's where I have to tell you that I forgot...kind of. I didn't really feel like taking notes, for it's awkward to pull out the notebook and scribble at a picnic table in the parking lot in small town farmland, with a cover band rocking out and regular Luverne folk are just having a good time and aren't used to beer geek behavior. There's also something about plastic cups. Between Jason and I, we had the hefe weizen, IPA, stout, and pale ale, and we liked them just fine. They didn't really stand out, nor did they disappoint. There wasn't a thing wrong with them. All matched their appropriate styles. Good beers, and you could drink them, but I'd rather go back when I can have one from a proper pint glass.

I'd had the stout before, from a growler my brother Wayne picked up when visiting his in-laws in Luverne, back around Thanksgiving of 2015. (This year, he chided me for forgetting to bring back the empty for a refill.) Looking back on my Untappd check-in of Stormy Jack from Dec 17, 2015, they gave it a toast and made this comment: "Thanks for reviewing on your blog! come by and see us sometime." I said I'd try, and I did, but I didn't go out of my way to find the head brewer or any of the owners. Chatted with the men behind the bar for a bit, but they were young volunteers. Sometimes I play it cool and try to remain anonymous.

So, we had our beers at the brewery. We'd made it there, we'd been there, brewery number 47 in the books, but it was time to head off for number 48. And I took home a growler of Kick the Bucket, and here are the notes when I drank it shortly thereafter:

I apologize for the crappiness of this picture. I swear
that it will never happen again. 
Take 16 Kick the Bucket Double IPA. 9% ABV. 90 IBU.

Clear, bright amber color, slim white head.

Vibrant notes of pine and citrus, orange, grapefruit, tangerine, pungent & pithy.

In the mouth: sweet caramel malt flavors joust with the powerful pine & citrus hop attack. Big, brash, bold & highly hoppy. while still majorly malty. I'm diggin' it.

This is pretty good stuff: juicy, fruity, hoppy, yum.

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