August 4th, 2009 beckel
I purchased a four pack of this brew over a month ago at The Four Firkins and am finally getting around to consume my last bottle of this tasty brew. I have enjoyed many brews from Two Brothers who brew out of Warrenville, Illinois and this nicely hopped red rye ale is no exception. This beer pours a deep mahogany reddish hue that is completely translucent when brought to light. When poured straight down the glass three fingers of off white head is easily produced leaving some nice lacing around the glass after a few minutes. Aroma is full of malty sweetness with some gentle dark pitted fruit notes and some clean fruity hop notes with just a dash of rye. Rye is quite forward in the flavor as well as a touch of alcohol. A good does of malty sweetness is present to help balance the rye as well as the tasty bitter finishing notes. Unquestionably a tasty and well balanced brew. Body is medium and the mouthfeel is very clean and smooth. The 7% ABV is noticeable but not overwhelming due to the malty sweetness present. If you aren’t opposed to rye are into brews with creative malt profiles yet enough hops to balance and add a nice punch you will enjoy this brew. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
June 8th, 2009 beckel
Though I am not one that is easily swayed by appearance I must start by saying everything about the presentation of this beer from bottling to pouring is lovely. I found a bottle of Two Brothers 2008 Bare Tree Barleywine Style Weiss Beer at The Four Firkins and couldn’t resist grabbing one of the beautifully decorated 12.7 oz bottles. The labeling is quite different than Two Brothers traditional labels but was designed marvelously even if it is a petite and somewhat spendy bottle. Apparently the Bare Tree was the first beer they brewed under their Artisan line of beers and as it is still being produced is likely to be tasty so lets get onto that part. The pour of this beer is truly marvelous with crisp white head forming on top of an attractive bright orange brew cascading delicately down the center as you pour and watch the head steadily swell from a few millimeters up to three fingers and dissipate slowly leaving but a thin ring around the glass. Color isn’t particularly hazy but it is very difficult to see through. Aroma has a nice wheat base as well as a bit of orange, herbal notes and yeast character similar to many Belgian brews. Flavors of slightly tart orange citrus, sweet malted wheat and some light fermented fruits such as apricot as well as many herbal notes that add some spice throughout and create a hint of bitterness in the finish. For anything like a Barleywine the body of this brew is very light and has a very smooth and clean mouthfeel. Though I feel it a bit I wouldn’t have guessed this to be a 11.5% ABV brew from its taste. Nicely done. If you are a fan of Belgian Style Ales of the high gravity variety and aren’t opposed to wheat this would be a dandy choice. Not your standard American Wheat Beer in any way but if you are a fan of those and looking for something more funky and adventurous this would be a worthy decision. This brew probably won’t be around for long so grab a bottle while you can. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
April 11th, 2009 beckel
Today I have another beer that my kind roommate brought to me, a Pale Ale from Two Brothers Brewing Company. The Bitter End pours an rich translucent amber hue that appears red with less direct light but changes to an orange hue when brought to light. Head is about two fingers and very white in color lasting a few minutes and leaving a small amount of lacing on the glass. Smells of rich somewhat sweet malts with hints of date or cherry and just a little bit of bitterness. Beer Advocate suggests that this beer is an English Bitter and after taking my first sip I am inclined to agree. Tastes strongly of malted barley and an interesting pitted fruit flavor wrapped up by some floral flavors and a nice bitter finish from the hops. The mouthfeel is this beer is relatively smooth if you don’t mind a bit of bitterness and the body is reasonably light. With a 5.2% ABV I would say this is a quality session beer and though it is not quite my style of choice it is a tasty brew that I could easily drink many of, particularly out on the grill as the flavors of this beer would go delightfully with some smoked ribs. If you like the profiles of English Bitters but want a more American approach this is a grand choice. Further if you are a fan of Pale Ales but looking for some more unique malt flavors and a bit more bitterness you won’t be disappointed. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
March 29th, 2009 beckel
So many delicious beers in the fridge calling my name. As it is still rather early in the afternoon I figured I should start with something a bit more mellow than the bottle of Iniquity that sits in my fridge chilling ever so patiently. Here I have an interesting brew from the Two Brothers Brewing Company, the front of the label calls it a French Style Country Ale. I was tempted to pick up this beer a number of times but always found myself gravitating towards their Heavy Handed IPA or Northwind Stout, both of which are delicious by the way. Luckily my good friend and roommate recently gifted me a mixed six pack and managed to grab largely beers I haven’t had which isn’t the easiest task including this beer I have in front of me now. It pours a very appealing red amber hue that is barely translucent. Head is a crisp white and only about a finger that fades with in a couple minutes. The malty aroma is quite refreshing with some lightly roasted scents of toasted bread as well as a good deal of sweetness with a slight floral hop note on top.Â This is one interesting beer style. Tastes strongly of the toasted malts found in the aroma and is consistently sweet, though somehow not too overpowering. The floral notes i detected come out even more in the flavor creating an interesting mix of something a bit sweeter than apricots but then some characteristics of a dark pitted fruit but toned down. The beer finishes with a bit of bittering hop flavors but very little in comparison to the beers I tend to seek out. The body isn’t particularly heavy and the mouthfeel is quite smooth. This is a rather nice crisp but much more flavorful alternative to a lager and it is doubtful you will notice its solid 5.9% ABV too much. A good beer to try for someone interested in the BiÃ¨re de Garde style and over all a good choice for someone looking for something flavorful but still sessionable. The flavors in this beer would be a perfect compliment to a hearty brunch. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
January 19th, 2009 beckel
Today we have another ale from the fine midwest folk of Two Brothers Brewing bringing us a solid Imperial Stout appropriately named Northwind. Though they hail from Warrenville, Illinois and are nearby neighbors of us Minnesotans I rarely see their brew at the store so I have been pleased to see it a number of places in the past few months as I have yet to consume anything from them I have not enjoyed. This ale pours a nice deep black color that is not penetrated by light, producing just a finger of lovely chocolate colored head that is very well retained for many minutes. Gentle swirling immediately produces more of this silky head giving the glass a slight lacing that slowly trickles down. Aroma is quite nice, creamy sweet aromas mesh wonderfully with dark but gentle roasted malt scents with only a little alcohol on the nose. When first sipping this beer the roasted malt flavors are most noticeable and transition into a smooth slightly more creamy taste. The body is medium but reasonably light for a stout, the mouthfeel is smooth and somewhat creamy making this a very drinkable brew if you like dark malts. Though this ale is absolutely an Imperial Stout with its solid 8.5% ABV, you may easily be tricked because of how well the malt profile covers the alcohol flavors. The more your drink of this ale the more you notice the subtler flavors such as a slight citrus flavor that tones down the malt flavors as well as some pitted fruit hints. That my friends is what I enjoy the most about this ale, it is incredibly simple on the surface and therefore very approachable and easy to enjoy for anyone who is interested in a stout, but then subtly complex in many ways you wouldn’t expect, or perhaps even notice if you aren’t looking for it. The rest of you from these Northerly lands will appreciate the namesake of this ale as it is perfect for our current weather, though the ride today was quite reasonable it would certainly have kept me warmer. Fans of Stouts or Imperial Ales in general will enjoy this simple yet flavorful ale. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
December 12th, 2008 beckel
Yesterday I found myself compelled to visit the Edina liquor store across from Southdale on my way home from work and I was pleased to find a number of brews I wanted to try, including this bottle of Hop Juice I have here in front of me. Recently I have had the opportunity to try a number of brews from Two Brothers and have yet to be disappointed so I am very excited to try this Double India Pale Ale part of their Artisan series of ales, as it is designed for hopheads such as myself packing a wonderful 100.1 IBUs produced from a pound of fresh northwest hops per barrel. This beer pours a vibrant bright red color that is completely translucent producing about a half inch of creme colored head that mostly settles in a few minutes leaving a ring around the liquid level as well as lacing around the glass. Aroma is impressive, nice and hoppy, slightly floral but still smooth and almost sweet with almost no alcohol detected. Hop Juice is the perfect name for this beer, I think I feel what the brewers were thinking when they came up with it. The mouthfeel of this beer makes me feel like I’m drinking grape juice though it is less syrupy and hop flavored instead. The flavor of this beer is very hoppy but not overwhelmingly bitter. Citrus flavors compliment nicely and floral flavors are present but not particularly heavy. Smooth caramelized malt flavors are wonderfully integrated into this beer giving this hoppy ale a nice balance but managing to take nothing away from the hops. Though this brew clocks in at a solid 9.9% ABV you won’t notice until you’ve had a glass. Not exactly what I was expecting when I purchased this bottle but exactly what Two Brothers describes on their website and an impressive twist on the style. This is probably the most drinkable Imperial IPA I have ever had the opportunity to try, very good. The only thing I can complain about is that I don’t have another bottle in the fridge. A bit on the pricey side but more than worth it. If you are a fan of strong IPA’s you will undoubtedly enjoy this interesting slightly sweeter take on the style, and if your not into hops, well you won’t; but maybe you will learn that you don’t mind hops because of the remarkable variety of flavors a hoppy ale can create. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
November 26th, 2008 beckel
So I’m terrible at posting in a timely fashion sometimes, particularly on occasions where I drink a lot of beer, and two Thursdays ago was no exception. This was the week of Dark Horse Brewing Company’s release parties and I felt obligated to sample some of the brew they were bringing into our fine city from the land of Michigan, so my friend Mike and myself took a nice, slightly brisk bike ride down to Stub & Herbs to meet fellow bike and beer enthusiast Dirtyspeed of Friday Night Beer. Dirtyspeed and myself initially ordered glasses of Dark Horse’s Trip Ale and mike grabbed a glass of their Crooked Tree IPA. When they were brought to us I was initially surprised by the similarity in color of the two brews, the IPA has a slightly more red hue, but they were darn close. The Sapient Trip pours a hazy orange color that has no obvious sediment but it is completely opaque, there was little head present when I received my lovely 22oz glass but I am curious to see how it pours from a bottle. Aroma is like that of many Belgian Tripel Ales, the yeast is noticeable but not too strong in the nose. Smooth slightly sweet malt flavors blend nicely with a hint of bitterness. The mouthfeel is carbonated but rather dry, body is quite light for a Tripel. Definitely a good beer, simple but solid, particularly with its 8.5% ABV. While snapping photos and taking notes like the geek I am mike managed to finish his beer and wound up with a Two Brothers Heavy Handed IPA at the suggestion of Dirtyspeed. Never having sampled this brew I gave it a taste and immediately knew what I needed to order next. Two Brothers Brewing Company from Warrenville, Illinois has been on my radar for some time but this was the first opportunity I had to sample some of their brew on tap, and I am happy to say I was very pleased. Their Heavy Handed IPA pours a nice deep red color. Aroma is hoppy but only slightly bitter. Flavor is a nice blend of initial sweetness that is very subtle, finished off by wonderful hop flavors that lean towards the bitter side but are not particularly intense, no tongue burning here. With its full flavor this beer is still very drinkable, having a rather light body and smooth mouthfeel. A unquestionably delicious ale. Coming in at 5.7% ABV this is a great beer to drink all night long, and that’s exactly what we did. Cheers to stubs for having $4.50 22oz taps after 9pm on Thursdays. Happy to have sampled two tasty new brews, particularly the IPA we had a fun, much less chilly ride home; freedom is the only way. Give em a shot and ride your bike.
September 4th, 2008 beckel
Its been a busy week with all the fun caused by the RNC and all the cops on steroids amped to give an ass kicking to anyone who asks the wrong questions in good ole’ Minneapolis and St. Paul but this isn’t about me so lets forget about it all with a nice brew. Today we have a beer from Two Brothers Brewing Company out of Warrenville, Illinois. According to their website they do not distribute beer in Minnesota but I was lucky enough to find a bottle of their Oh Brother, a Belgian Tripel Ale at The Four Firkins. As part of their Artisan Beer Series of unique beers I am excited to try this beer as I have faith it will be a well crafted experience. This beer pours a nice bright apricot orange color that is not very transparent. Head is a bit over a half an inch of white foam and dissipates quite rapidly. You can certainly detect yeast in the nose of this beer with plenty of malt and a slight orange aroma. This beer is certainly not what I was expecting. It is a very smooth and drinkable beer with a rather light mouthfeel and a surprising amount of carbonation on the tongue considering its lack of head. The flavor of this beer is sweet and malty with a slightly harsher flavor in the end that is almost bitter. Also notable is some sort of fruit flavor that is not particularly dominate but resembles banana, apricot or orange. With the sweet flavor of this beer the 8.5% ABV is masked wonderfully. If you are looking for a simpler tripel this is not a bad choice. Though I prefer a more complex beer this is not a bad drink and I look forward to the the chance to try more of their brews if I can find them. Give it a shot and ride your bike.