Big Thanks To Insurance Companies

Cold Spring Moonlight Ale

July 15th, 2008 beckel

This is my first beer from Cold Spring Brewery out of Cold Spring, Minnesota who have been brewing since 1874. It was brought to my attention by the fine folk at Brew52.com. This beer is a bit different than most, their website states that it is 1/2 porter and 1/2 bock combined into one nice brown ale. Pours an interesting dark brown color with hints of rose when brought to light. The head on this beer is very minimal, under an inch and light in color. Aroma is interesting, traditional bock malt scents are predominate but it smells a tad bit like a porter. The flavor is even more strange than the scent, quite malty, almost sweet but more caramelized. The mix of these two beer styles gives a very different flavor, pretty decent, but a bit boring. Mouthfeel is medium. I’m glad I got only one of these beers in a mixed six pack, but I think after drinking a few in cooler weather this beer would potentially have a bit more to offer. If your a fan of malt or different brown ales this may suit your tastes. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Cold Spring Moonlight Ale

Grain Belt Premium

June 25th, 2008 beckel

I knew the day would come when I would review the wonderful Minnesota beer that is Grain Belt Premium. Today this event has been advanced by the fine folk at Brew52.com, a Minnesota based weekly community beer review website. This beer was once brewed by Minneapolis Brewing Company in Northeast Minneapolis along the Mississippi River. About 6 years ago they were purchased by Schells but still remain a separate entity. This beer pours a very transparent golden color. Has moderate head that settles rather rapidly. Very simple scent of malt and almost a sweet citrus. Mouthfeel is very light and smooth. Tastes like a slightly malty lager with an almost tart after taste. Good flavor but very simple. This is a great easy drinking beer, particularly on a nice hot day. If your into simple lagers this is a good one to go for. Beyond that its always nice to enjoy a flavorful cold local beer that is reasonably inexpensive and very drinkable. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Grain Belt Premium

Surly Furious

June 23rd, 2008 beckel

Oh Surly how I do love you. I have to start this post with a bit of full disclosure. This beer given to me the day of my twentieth birthday was the beginning of my love for American craft beer. It is brewed by the innovative Surly Brewing Company in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Not to be confused by Surly bikes another grand company that started in the state of Minnesota. Furious is an IPA that represents what an American IPA should be in my opinion. Pours a deep hazy red color that starts to fade to a slight orange tint in bright light. Plentiful slightly tan head. Smells strongly of hops with a bit of bitterness but very well balanced. Tastes strongly of hops, particularly the cascade variety. Which is to be expected with its 99 IBUs and 6.2% ABV. Very full flavored and certainly a bit bitter for those not used to the heavy hop punch, overall incredibly well balanced with a nice malt undertone on the front of the palate that helps ward off the bitterness in the end. Mouthfeel is quite smooth and makes this a very refreshing beer for anytime of the year. I whole heartedly encourage everyone to try this beer because it may show you flavors you have never enjoyed before, particularly if you care for a hoppy beer. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Surly Furious

The Four Firkins

June 16th, 2008 beckel

On Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the grand opening of The Four Firkins in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. The Four Firkins is the 1st specialty beer store in Minnesota and basically the best birthday gift I could ask for. They stock domestic craft beer as well as many imported craft beers, they do not sell liquor or crappy beer (read: miller, A-B, Coors). I am told they stock some root beer and NA beer, though I didn’t notice any as the store was quite crowded at the time, and in the future they may sell wine. The grand opening was fantastic, I didn’t come in time for the Brau Brothers samples but at 6PM Flat Earth was there with their Element 115 Lager a delicious hoppy lager I hadn’t tried before, certainly worth a shot. Summit had a keg of cask aged IPA, it was unfiltered as to allow for a secondary fermentation in the cask and provided a good deal of extra flavor that is not present in their regularly bottled IPA. I would like to see Summit continue to try creative things like this as I am not traditionally partial to summits IPA, but the cask aging made it a very worthy beer. Surly was there with their bitter brewer and Schells had many of their bottled beers available to taste, the hefeweizen was pretty decent. Aside from free beer always being grand this store is truly awesome the shelves are lined with good beers from all over, bottles big and small. I feel like a kid in a grown up candy store. They even have a decent sized cooler with some cold beer including plenty of Surly. The prices are reasonable and in the brief conversation I had with Alvery (the owner) he seemed like a nice guy, go on over and give him your support. He even has a bike rack up front. Support craft beer lovers!