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Dave’s BrewFarm Select

November 15th, 2010 beckel

Today I have the last beer from this round of Lake Wine & Spirits Citizen Six Pack and believe it or not the beer I was most excited to sample. Dave’s BrewFarm is a very new and almost local brewery located in Wilson, WI that is nothing short of awesome. While it will take some time to achieve, one of Dave’s goals with the brewery it to be able to grow all of his own grains and hops on premise for use in his brews. In Febuary of 2009 Dave purchased a windmill to aid his brewery and push forward his desire to create a sustainable craft brewery. While Dave (with help from Point Brewing) is currently only packaging two of his offerings: Matacabras & BrewFarm Select, I have had the opportunity to sample a wide array of the inventive ale’s & lagers he creates at both the Great Taste of the Midwest and our local Where The Wild Beers Are and you can rest assured he not only knows how to push the envelope, but also how to make solid classic brews. In most circumstances the last beer I would be excited to try would be a “Golden” Light lager, but in this case not only does this unassuming Lager come in cans but  it is brewed by someone I know firsthand has a sincere passion for creating great beer. I have yet to make the trip down to Dave’s BrewFarm but they have a greater variety of their beers available in their tap room and while they do not have a kitchen they allow you to bring in your own snacks. Their website is currently under construction but you can find their tap hours on their blog.

The first thing one will notice when pouring this Lager down the center of your glass is the bountiful white head that starts to form, eventually creating over three fingers of tight white bubbles that hang around for about two minutes and even leave a small amount of lacing around the glass. With out even smelling this beer I’m already guessing there is some wheat in the grain bill. Appearance is much more attractive that your standard Light Lager, presenting us with a lovely bright orange hue that is quite translucent. Aroma is grainy and enjoyable, notes of wheat, Pilsner Malt, soft oats and even softer citrus, finished off by mild alcohol, biscuit, and perhaps a hint of caramel malt. Flavors of light citrus, orange & lemon are quickly swept to the side by sweet malts that provide clean grain esters and add an additional dimension to the prior citrus esters encouraging one to take another sip. Body is light but the mouthfeel is a more full than most of the style yet crisp, well carbonated and enjoyable. Rocking a very session able 5.5% ABV I would be hard pressed not to drink half a 12-pack of these suckers in one sitting. When I first saw this brew on the shelves I was very tempted to grab a case but now I simply wish I already had one in the fridge. If you enjoy light beers and are looking for some real flavor this is the beer for you. It is brews like this that show Light Lagers do not need to be made with corn and other adjuncts as most large American brewers have been so keen to do, and more importantly can in fact be quite delicious if made with quality ingredients. While on most days I would prefer to sit down with a more complex beer, this brew is fantastic for what it is. A perfect beer for any hot day or a situation when you want something approachable to all and sessionable. When the weather improves again this will likely become a go to back pack brew on a good ride. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Dave's BrewFarm Select

Surly Hell

August 26th, 2009 beckel

Hazaa! A good excuse to whip out the SurlyFest mug. I was in the neighborhood so I figured I would wander over to the MGM off of Lake Street to explore their new building and see what they had to offer. First off I must say I really dig it. With their move and expansion they now have tons of cooler space along over half of their walls which is about a third full of Craft Beer. Further they have done a much better job organizing all of their Craft Beer offerings onto one large shelf instead of scattered about as it was before. The prices seem to be about the same, most average, a few things a bit over priced but their selection of Craft Brew has unquestionably grown and I am all for that. But on to the important part. Half of the reason I went was hoping, just hoping I might just find some of the newly canned product from our beloved local Surly Brewing out of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. All I can say is Hell yea. It seems Surly did a very limited canning run for their first batch and I am very pleased to have been able to secure some.

The simply named Hell is a Munich Style Helles Lager and keeps to the roots of the style but as always has a little extra Surly goodness. As the owner Omar Ansari writes on the back it’s a Surly beer his German mother actually enjoys. The beer pours a light golden straw hue that is very translucent and produces a few fingers of crisp tight white head that loosen and dissipate relatively quickly after you pour. Smells of sweet Pilsner malt and a gentle lemon citrus note. Tastes of clean Pilsner malt sweetness and has a light bread quality which adds to a nice fuller mouthfeel as well as gentle caramel notes. Subtle citrus hop notes are present to compliment the malt but are not dominate at all, particularly for a Surly brew. Body is light. As many of you know I am not the biggest fan of Lagers, particularly light ones but I would happily drink this beer all night long (as I did during their release at Moto-i) particularly with it’s ~5% ABV. An interesting twist on the style that still stays relatively traditional but like SurlyFest contains a bit more hop and rich malty flavors than one may typically expect from the style. On a side note this years brew seems a bit more full flavored and balanced than it did last year when it was first released on tap. You can see my previous review here. I don’t know how much the recipe changed but as always good work Todd. If you are into lagers but are looking for something that shows what American brewers are doing with classic styles this might just be the beer for you. 16 ounce cans for the win. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

Surly Hell

New Glarus Totally Naked

November 5th, 2008 beckel

Today we continue with another beer from the New Glarus Brewing Company; Totally Naked. While in Wisconsin I was happy to find this seasonal beer; the first sentence on the label “Pure and crisp, this is a beer with nothing to hide.” intrigued me and I’m glad I didn’t pass it up. Though this is a lager I was still excited to see what it had to offer. I am happy to say I was not disappointed. This beer is a nice golden color that is completely transparent and produces close to an inch of head that it doesn’t retain for long. This beer smells largely of grains, corn and sweet light malted barley with only a touch of the German and Czech hops in the aroma. Tastes as it smells, of corn and barley. Light sweet malt flavors with a slightly bitter finishing taste, definitely a lager but still decently full of flavor for the style. Mouthfeel is heavier than one might assume but still rather light, body is light as well. This is definitely a drinkable beer and would be an acceptable, even if slightly heavy, session beer coming in at 4.2% ABV. Though I rarely drink lagers if this beer were available in my state I would likely regularly purchase it for a nice warm day in the outdoors. As the name suggests this beer really has nothing to hide, it is simple, light, and drinkable but still very flavorful and worthy of every sip. As with all of the other New Glarus beers I have had the opportunity to try this is an easy going quality brew, a lovely choice for a day of drinking. Obviously not the beer to satisfy your hop hunger but still a dandy drink. Give it a shot and ride your bike.

New Glarus Totally Naked

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