Twin Cities New Brewery Roundup and Review

05Oct12

You may have heard about several new breweries opening in the Twin Cities lately, and if you haven’t had a chance to try them, here’s a little bit of liquid intel by yours truly:

Indeed: Coming strong out the gate with Day Tripper Pale Ale, a very hoppy “west coast pale ale” that has lots of citrus and melon, and Midnight Ryder, an American Black Ale that is a very balanced blend of chocolatey malts and orangy hops. Shenanigans, their summer honey wheat ale, is pretty good (not usually favorite style of mine), but was released in late summer, missing the main drinking season for that style. It might still be available around town.

Their most recent beer is their Fresh Hop, brewed with 100% whole cone wet Centennial hops. I was very excited for this, but I found it to be a little astringent and light on the aroma or fruitiness. I’ve heard others rate it highly, so I will have to try it again. Visit the cozy, beautiful, artsy taproom (in the Solar Arts Building, 711 15th Avenue NE, Minneapolis MN 55413) to get their beers on tap or cask. The Midnight Ryder dry hopped with Summit on cask is excellent. The herbaceousness of the Summit hops compliments the savory dark malts. The also infuse the Shenanigans with various berry fruits.

Look for their fall seasonals, a sweet potato beer and double American Black Ale, to be released October 13th at the brewery during their Autumn Release Fest (http://www.indeedbrewing.com/hullabaloo-2012-autumn-release-fest-indeed-brewing/). Later on, a winter seasonal will join the ranks with a recipe including raisins and brown sugar. With head brewer Josh Bischoff having over a decade of experience–8 of them as lead brewer at the venerable Town Hall Brewery– have high hopes for this artsy start up.

Northbound Smokehouse:

The first brewpub in the Cities in over a decade, this nice little spot features food built on a base of smoked  foods: meat, cheese, and even eggs. I’ve had the smoked trout wrap and the porketta sandwich, and I have paired them with both the fries and the onion rings (waffle battered! fantastic) and have been quite impressed.

The beers are variations on the classic American/English craft styles: a smoked porter, a pale ale, another pale ale made with 100 percent Columbus hops, a very fruity IPA, a rich, delicious honey ale (TONS of honey in the recipe.), and my favorite, an amber ale made with a heaping of Minnesota wild rice. Not sure how the rice adds such a rich fruit flavor, but it does, and it is tasty.

Right off the light rail at 38th street and 28th avenue, the brewpub features a friendly picnic table-and-grass patio and very nice service. They also have several Minnesota craft taps, including beers from Indeed, Harriet, Lift Bridge, and more. Hop off the train and drop in.

Pour Decisions:

Another new brewery! This might be the newest Minnesota brewery. Their first beer, a Scottish session beer, debuted at the Minnesota State Fair, and it was packed with flavor despite the 3% ABV. I also tried their Patersbier at the Autumn Brew Review, and it was a delicious take on the elusive Belgian “enkel”, a (relatively) low alcohol Belgian style that is brewed by Trappist monks for their own consumption. Although I don’t think there are any monks among the Pour Decisions ranks, they still managed to pull off a very tasty rendition of this rare style. Their booth at ABR had a bottled American Wild Ale that was tart, fruity, and fantastic. Impressive for a start up to nail these three difficult styles with fidelity and finesse.

That wraps it up for now, updates will come as each new wave of hometown sudseries opens.

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