September 6th, 2008 beckel
So this month The Session is hosted by Jim over at lootcorp and he has come up with the wonderful topic of Deutsches Bier. Now German beer is not something I am particularly familiar with so this was a hard topic for me. Germans have done a lot to influence the way beer has been made in various parts of the world, by encouraging others to follow their “reinheitsgebot” or German purity laws which state beer can be made of only water, hops and barley (they didn’t know about yeast at the time), but have also discriminated against most beer that is made outside of Germany in the same breath. Regardless any country that allows its citizens to freely enjoy good beer as long as they can get on the bar stool is OK with me. Not to meantion they are only surpassed in breweries by the United States. Any how I rattled my brain for a while deciding what I should drink yesterday and it was so close to my nose I almost missed it: Surly Hell. Surly Brewing from lovely Brooklyn Center Minnesota recently brewed a single batch of a Munich Helles lager that they are serving at a few bars in the city. So I made my way to Mackenzie to see how Surly might interpret light German lager, Helles literally meaning “light colored” or “pale” in German. Unintentionally I managed to pick a style that fit what Jim had encouraged when fielding the topic. Helles is a Bavarian lager that they appear to be very proud of, they even claim to know the exact date the first batch of the lager was shipped by the Spaten Brewery of Munich: March 21, 1894 all the way to the port city of Hamburg where it was received well and so brewing continued. Surly doesn’t make light beers so when I sat down waiting for my beer I knew this was going to be a different experience. The appearance of this beer is a golden straw color that is very transparent. Head was a bit over a quarter inch off the tap and very white in color that remained for a few minutes. The aroma is full of immense sweet malted barley with some bitterness and alcohol present, reminding me a bit of a more grain filled pilsner. Grain is the first thing I taste when I sip this beer. Flavors of wheat, barley and even a bit of corn, I am curious what they actually brew it with. Sweet malt is detectable occasionally but the aftertaste can be a bit bitter and taste somewhat like a pilsner. The mouthfeel of this beer is medium even though it is quite drinkable you can tell your eating a lot of grain. This beer was OK and I’m glad I tried it but few lagers seem to hit the right spot for me. If you like lagers and light grain flavored beers you may very well enjoy this beer. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
July 30th, 2008 beckel
I was informed that the Town Hall Brewery of Minneapolis was releasing a beer made with only warrior hops so I thought it was damn time I made my way over there. Drinking a single hopped beer is a great way to learn about a particular hop and what it can do to the aroma, flavor and even body of a beer. The Warrior Double dry pours a nice light copper color that is somewhat transparent. Smell is heavy on the hops, somewhat sweet but largely bitter aroma. Body is medium light. This beer has an insane hop profile, quite bitter but with a twisted tangy flavor that is almost like a citrus. This is a very interesting flavored beer and hop variety. Over all a darn good beer coming in at 5.5% ABV and definitely worth trying particularly if you adore hops. Drink it while its still around.
While I was at it I figured I should sample some of their Masala Mama IPA that was cask aged. This beer cascades immensely from a lovely hazy orange color to a nice amber red that is barely transparent. Aroma is slightly hoppy but smooth sweet malt is more predominate. Mouthfeel is light. The flavor of this beer is surprisingly sweet. Slight bitterness is present initially but overpowered by immense flavorful malt sweetness with a slight hint of caramel. Head is thick, persistent and off white. Not what I was expecting, but still a good beer. It will be interesting to try their normal IPA sometime to compare. If you like a sweet smooth IPA this is for you.
Lastly I ordered some of their Cow Tipper a seasonal coming in at 5.7% ABV. Light copper in color quite transparent. Smells strongly like a pilsner, heavy malt scent. Head is relatively large but fades quickly. Light mouthfeel and very drinkable. Tastes of full flavored pilsner malts, very nice flavor balance particularly seeing as I tend to not prefer pilsners. Quite carbonated. If you like a pilsner with a bit more flavor this is a grand choice, likely perfect on a hot summer day like we’ve been having as of late. Give Town Hall some love and ride your bike.
July 26th, 2008 beckel
I have passed up this beer numerous times in the liquor store, so when I saw it while filling up a mixed six pack I decided it deserved a try. Summerfest from Sierra Nevada is a pilsner style lager clocking in at 5% ABV, not my favorite style of beer but lets see how it goes. Pours a very transparent yellow color typical of a pilsner, head is incredibly plentiful and creates a lovely eruption of bubbles as it cascades. Smells of light pilsner malts somewhat sweet, slight hop aroma present. Mouthfeel is light. Tastes of corn and slightly sour malt complimented by hop bitterness but a slightly sweet aftertaste. More complex flavor than most pilsners that I’ve had and likely a refreshing drink on a hot summer day. A decent beer but not quite my thing, if your looking for a lager with some flavor this might not be a bad choice. Give it a shot and ride your bike.