Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Castle Danger Mosaic Fresh Hop IPA Review



Name: Castle Danger Mosaic Fresh Hop IPA
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.8%
IBUs: N/A

Last week, Castle Danger Brewing released their very highly anticipated Moasic Fresh Hop IPA. At the time of the release, I was at work and unable to make it out to grab some. When I finally did get out of work, I was met by disappointment as all of my regular haunts had sold out of them in just a few short hours. Defeated, I figured that I would probably find it on tap somewhere down the road and savor that Mosaic goodness. Sure, I have access to other great Mosaic IPAs like Fulton's 300, but it just isn't the same as having it fresh.

Then today, as I was browsing the store shelves at one of my other regular places, there it was sitting in the cooler! Apparently, not all of it was sold last Friday and I had, for lack of a better term, lucked out. In any case, I'm very eager to try this out. Also, I did a review of their Local Fresh Hop IPA back when this blog was fairly new, but that beer was made with Brewer's Gold & Cascade Hops; So in case you were wondering if these two beers are the same, they're not.

Appearance - Mildly hazy orange color with a light amount of visible carbonation. The head starts out foamy and eventually settles down the a thin film, but the lacing is abundant and sticky.

Aroma - Rich Mosaic hop and tangerine notes mixed in with a toffee malt sweetness and just a hint of yeasts.

Taste - Once again, the Mosaic hops dominate the palate throughout and they are quite potent to put it mildly, while that toffee maltiness shows up primarily in the middle. I'm also getting some mild bitterness shows up in the back end of the palate. The aftertaste is more Mosaic hops mixed in with light tangerine notes and just a touch of bitterness.

Maybe it's my own bias for loving Mosaic hops, but this is one of those beers that I could drink for days on end and not get tired of it. With that said, it's by no means the most complex tasting beer out there, but it's a very robust one at that and one of the best Fresh Hop IPAs I've had in recent memory. I'm not sure what availability is like at this point, but you definitely need to grab this one should you so happen to see it!

Castle Danger Mosaic Fresh Hop IPA - 9.5/10

Monday, October 24, 2016

Brau Brothers Rubus Black Review



Name: Brau Brothers Rubus Black
Style: Imperial Porter
ABV: 8.5%
IBUs: N/A

Today I've got a new offering from Brau Brothers....or do I? I give to you Rubus Black, an Imperial Porter made with blackberries. When I first picked up this bottle, I had never seen it before and assumed it was a brand new beer that was just added to Brau Brothers' regular lineup and thought nothing of it.

Upon doing some research, it turns out they made a small batch of this stuff back in 2006 when Brau Brothers first opened their doors, and has seen limited release over the years, with the most recent release having been within the past month or so. While we're on the topic, if there's one beer I want to see from Brau Brothers again, it would be their Barrel-Aged Quad from 4 years ago; That was some good stuff!

Appearance - Pitch black with an initially foamy light brown head that quickly fades away after a few moments. The lacing left behind, however, is somewhat sparse but present.

Aroma - Strong chocolate and roasted malts with some blackberry undertones. I'm also getting some light smokiness in here as well and maybe just a hint of caramel sweetness.

Taste - Potent blackberry and bitter hop notes upfront with some chocolate malts and roastiness towards the back, along with some light smokiness. The back end of the palate consists of more blackberry sweetness and just a light touch of hoppiness to compliment everything else.

You know, as much as I enjoyed it, I would love to see made with raspberries. It's hard to explain, but I'd like to see a version of this made with raspberries. However as it stands, the blackberries make this beer stand out from other Imperial Porters I've had so far and it's also one of the best Imperial Porters I've had in a long time. If Brau Brothers decides to release this again, I will definitely seek it out.

Brau Brothers Rubus Black - 9/10

Deschutes Sagefight Imperial IPA Review



Name: Deschutes Sagefight Imperial IPA
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 8%
IBUs: 75

Well, Deschutes' love affair with IPAs keeps chugging along with the release of Sagefight Imperial IPA, which is their newest IPA offering. The twist on this IPA is that it's made with botanical sage and juniper berries. Why the name? According to Deschutes, Team Hops and Team Botanicals (Yes, those are the names actually used on the label) are supposed to square up against one another in the flavor, calling it a "true battle royale." I say let's just try this beer out and see how it is.

Appearance - Mildly hazy dark orange color with a light amount of visible carbonation. The head is fairly foamy with some good retention, along with the lacing which is also quite abundant and sticky.

Aroma - Fairly strong bitter piney hops and resin with some juniper berries and other floral/woodsy aromas, which I'm assuming is the sage being used in the brewing process. This is where I say that I have never had sage before and wouldn't know what it smells or tastes like so it's a shot in the dark for me here.

Taste - Bitter resin hops upfront with a juniper and woodsy/floral taste in the middle (again, which I think is the sage) with a caramel/toffee malt backbone towards the end of the palate. As for the aftertaste, it's more of that bitter hoppiness with some mild booze heat and a hint of sage.

It's definitely more of a hop forward beer, but the "botanicals" are certainly nothing to scoff at either as they make themselves known and actually makes this beer stand apart from other Imperial IPAs. In fact, having this more than makes up for the disappointment that was Hopzeit from earlier this fall. So if you so happen to see this, you definitely need to check this one out.

Deschutes Sagefight Imperial IPA - 9/10

Sunday, October 23, 2016

612 Brew Red Stack Farmhouse Ale Review



Name: 612 Brew Red Stack Farmhouse Ale
Style: Saison
ABV: 6.3%
IBUs: 19

It's been well over a year since I reviewed anything from 612 Brew, and frankly based on the canned releases I've seen from them, I haven't been missing too much but that's more or less speculation on my part. In any case, today I've got a brand new release from them called Red Stack Farmhouse Ale, which is a new fall seasonal from them.

Also according to what I've read, it's their first new canned bear release since early last year when they first started doing canned beers. Aside from that, there's not really much else to say about it, so let's try this out.

Appearance - Very hazy yellow color with no visible carbonation but I am seeing tons of sediment floating around inside. The head starts out foamy but settles to a thin appearance. As for the lacing, it's on the spottier side, but it's also sticky for what it is.

Aroma - Pale malts and Belgian Yeasts with some mild clove notes and a light hint of banana. I'm also picking up on what also smell like lager yeasts as well.

Taste - Belgian yeasts and cloves upfront with a solid pale maltiness towards the middle and back, while those banana and lager-like yeasts show up on the back end of the palate. The aftertaste is also quite dry with just a light hint of Belgian Yeasts and some faint hoppiness.

If I could describe this beer in one word, it would be "crisp." It's light in body and easy to drink. No it's not as robust as other saisons out there but all the components are there and fulfill their purpose; Perhaps adding a bit of rye to the mix to liven things up? Either way, it's a good beer worth checking out while fall is still around!

612 Brew Red Stack Farmhouse Ale - 8/10

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Central Waters Brewers Reserve Bourbon Barrel Belgian Quad Review



Name: Central Waters Brewers Reserve Bourbon Barrel Belgian Quad
Style: Quadrupel
ABV: 10%
IBUs: N/A

I recently came into possession of yet another Barrel-Aged beer from Central Waters Brewing and this time around it's their Bourbon Barrel Belgian Quad, which puts me in a unique position. You see I've only reviewed one Quadrupel Ale so far since I started this blog three and a half years ago. This is mainly because Belgian Quads are somewhat of a rarity; Either that or I'm just not looking in the right places.

In any case, this just became available and since I've been a big fan of Central Waters' Barrel Aged beers for quite a while, I thought that I would try this out to see if the quality is consistant with the others I've tried out so far.

Appearance - Murky dark brown color with no visible carbonation. There's not much in terms of a head as it fades away completely after a few moments and there's no lacing left behind either.

Aroma - Strong bourbon, vanilla and oak notes paired with some plums/blackberries and Belgian yeasts. I'm also getting some caramel malts in here as well and it accents the rest of the nose rather well.

Taste - Very prominent oak and bourbon flavors on the front of the palate with the vanilla on the mild side yet it's just right. Towards the middle I'm getting that blackberry/plum & caramel malt backbone, all of which is rather robust. In the back, all of the flavors seem to come together all at once. The aftertaste is mixture of oak, plums and light caramel malts.

One thing I've noticed recently with the Barrel Aged beers from Central Waters (including one I never got around to reviewing) is that they all don't look the best in terms of overall appearance; Meaning lack of head or lacing retention. However beneath that seemingly flawed look is a complex and robust beer.

With that said, this one is no different. It has that complexity and robust flavor that I've come to expect from Central Waters. Is it my favorite in the Brewer's Reserve series? No, but it certainly is a beer that they should be extremely proud to call their own and anyone who sees this in the store would be very wise to pick it up and try out what it has to offer.

Central Waters Brewers Reserve Bourbon Barrel Belgian Quad - 9/10

Insight Banshee Cutter Review



Name: Insight Banshee Cutter
Style: Blonde Ale
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: N/A

It's another new beer from Insight Brewing and this outing is treading into somewhat familiar territory. It goes by the name Banshee Cutter (or The Return Voyage of Banshee Cutter if you want to get technical), and the reason why it's so familiar is that it's a Blonde Ale made with coffee. kind of like another beer from another brewery I did a while back *cough*Ballast Point*cough*.

In any case, it's nice to see a local take and what has been a huge hit across the country and it's even better to see that this waaaaay more reasonably priced. Alright, enough being salty, let's look at the beer!

Appearance - Mildly hazy yellow color with a high amount of visible carbonation. The head is pretty thin and stays that way for most of the time and there's a small amount of lacing left along the sides of the glass.

Aroma - Strong coffee ground & roasty notes that almost completely eclipse everything else, to the point where if you were to blindfold me, I would think I'm smelling a coffee stout. As it warms up, however, I am starting to pick up on some pale malts and light floral hops.The look and nose do not match up to each other, needless to say.

Taste - Unlike the nose where the coffee pretty much dominates, the coffee ground & pale malt aspects of the flavor are more or less equal and I'm even picking up some light yeasts and floral hop notes. The most interesting thing about this beer is the aftertaste because it is rather dry save for some floral hops and light yeasts.

Overall, I think it's pretty well executed for what it is and I'm even more impressed the aftertaste is as mellow as it turned out to be. Now I picked this up a couple weeks ago after seeing on the shelves for about a month so I'm not exactly sure what the seasonal/rotating availability of this is, but this is for sure looking at if you haven't already tried it out.

Insight Banshee Cutter - 8.5/10

Friday, October 14, 2016

My Statement on the Northern Brewer Buyout



When I first heard about it yesterday afternoon, it sounded like something that you'd see on April Fools day, but today The Growler confirmed that Northern Brewer-Midwest Supplies, one of the country's largest homebrew brands, was bought out by ZX Ventures, an Anheuser-Busch (AB-InBev) group. The intent of the buyout being that their reach could extend to a wider audience, according to the press release released by Northern Brewer. I honestly couldn't believe it at first but it is most certainly a thing.

Now as a writer and reviewer of beer, I try to be as impartial as to what goes on in the brewing industry and try to see it from both sides. However in this instance, I simply cannot do this and I'm here to say that I am extremely disappointed in Northern Brewer for their actions. I share the anger that many of you are feeling right now over this. However unlike some commentators out there who are angry at them for selling out for money, I'm upset mainly because I feel this buyout goes against one of the very reasons why homebrewing in this day and age is as popular as it is now.

Many homebrewers get into the hobby because they not only want to try their hand at brewing, but one of the key components of homebrewing is being independent and wanting to create something that is truly unique and different than the typical macro-lagers that we've all become accustomed to. In fact, I know a couple of brewmasters that got their start at Northern Brewer working there and are now the proud owners of their own craft breweries.

When a company like AB-InBev buys out a homebrew supply company, it goes against the very nature of why the company exists to begin with. I mean, I get that AB-InBev is trying to up its craft beer game, but this buyout is literally the equivalent of Monsanto buying out a local co-op grocery store; It makes absolutely no sense and it goes against the very reason why the latter exists to begin with.

In the past, I've used Northern Brewer for all my homebrew supply needs many times, and I even utilized them while living in Duluth since we didn't have a good homebrew store in my area. In light of these events, I will not be using Northern Brewer for any homebrewing needs in the future because I cannot, with a good conscience, buy supplies from Northern Brewer knowing that the money I spend will be going into the pockets of big beer. I'm not going to tell any of you to boycott Northern Brewer in light of these events, but I will allow each and every one of you to make your own judgment.

As always, thanks for reading

- Nick

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Indeed Rum King Review



Name: Indeed Rum King
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.5%
IBUs: 70

I remember a few years back when Surly Darkness was the first Minnesota beer that developed a strong enough following to the point where people would camp outside the brewery itself or be put on the waiting list at liquor stores just to get a bottle of the stuff. Even though Darkness is still a big deal, the new Imperial Stout to have a huge following has been passed to Indeed Brewing's Rum King, which is an Imperial Stout aged in Rum Barrels.

For the past 2 years, I have missed out on getting this. The first time in 2014 was because Indeed wasn't readily available in Duluth at that point and the second time last year was because I was working at the time and unable to reserve or find any by the time I got off. This year is different because I actually managed to secure a four-pack for myself, I'm guessing people are willing to pay more for a 4-pack of cans as opposed to a single 750ml bottle; Who would've guessed?

Appearance - Pitch black with no visible carbonation. The head takes on a very foamy brown color tons of lacing left along the sides of the glass.

Aroma - Rich chocolate malts with some vanilla and rum raisin notes, along with some oak and roasted barley. I'm also picking up on some fairly strong bitter hop notes as well.

Taste - Bitter hops and roastiness upfront followed by some vanilla, rum raisin, and oak notes towards the middle...which is followed up by some more bitter hops, toffee and dark chocolate malt sweetness. The back end of the palate is made up mostly of roasted barley and light cherry sweetness. As for the aftertaste, it's more vanilla and oak notes with a slight bitter hoppiness.

It's got a complex flavor and it goes down smooth to cap things off. In short, this is one of the best Imperial Stouts to come out of Minnesota since Darkness first burst onto the scene 10 years ago. Now as much as I loved this, my favorite barrel aged Imperial Stout still belongs to Central Waters but this one comes pretty damned close in terms of quality.

With that said, those who are wondering whether or not to purchase it, my answer to you is still a resounding yes and the fact it's aged in Rum barrels as opposed to bourbon barrels give it a nice twist, that which alone makes this worth trying out.

Indeed Rum King - 9.5/10

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Dogfish Head Oak-Aged Noble Rot Review



Name: Dogfish Head Oak-Aged Noble Rot
Style: Saison
ABV: 9%
IBUs: 18

On a recent visit to Wisconsin, I managed to grab a beer from Dogfish Head that I've actually been meaning to try out for a while and that beer is Oak-Aged Noble Rot. Now I know it's a pretty recent beer but the standard issue Noble Rot has been available for a few years now. Each time I'm able to get Dogfish Head, I always try to get something from them but sometimes the selection is slim pickings.

So what is Noble Rot? Well it's a Saison made with grapes and the name itself comes from a fungus that affects white grapes, which I believe is used in the brewing process. This will also be the second grape-based beer that I've had from Dogfish Head, with the first being their Sixty One, which I mistook for their Sixty Minute IPA back when I first acquired it. Needless to say, I'm curious to see how this turns out and, if anything, hoping it doesn't turn out similar to Sixty One.

Appearance - Fairly clear bright yellow color with no visible carbonation to speak of. The head is quite fizzy upon initial pour and doesn't stick around long and there's also no lacing to speak of left behind.

Aroma - White grapes and light funk mixed in with some Belgian Yeasts. In fact, I feel like I'm whiffing some Pinot Grigio right now.

Taste - White grapes, oak and Belgian yeasts make an appearance upfront, with some mild grape must and light lacto-funk towards the back. The aftertaste, fittingly enough, is rather dry save for a light mustiness that is reminiscent of white wine.

I know that Dogfish Head has always wanted to bridge the gap between beer and wine and as far as this goes, this is without a doubt the closest I've seen that happen so far. It looks, smells, and even tastes like a Pinot Grigio but there's also enough difference in the flavor to remind you that this is also still very much a beer.

As for myself, I enjoyed it and I think any seasoned craft beer fan looking for something different will more than likely find something to enjoy about this. Hell, I'll even go as far to say that wine aficionados will find this appealing.

Dogfish Head Oak-Aged Noble Rot - 9/10

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Glarus Smoke on the Porter Review



Name: New Glarus Smoke on the Porter
Style: Baltic Porter
ABV: 6.1%
IBUs: N/A

It's been over two years since I've reviewed a New Glarus beer, even though they are one of the most reviewed breweries on this website. So on my trip to Wisconsin, I managed to grab a four pack of their newest Thumbprint Series called Smoke on the Porter, which is a Baltic (Smoked) Porter and takes its name from a classic Deep Purple song. It's also been a good while since I've had a Baltic Porter, so let's try this out, shall we?

Appearance - Pitch black with no visible carbonation. The head is khaki colored and quite thin and there's not really any lacing left behind.

Aroma - Smoked and roasted malts with some dark chocolate notes and just a touch of bitter hops.

Taste - Smoked malts and roasted barley that start in the front and linger throughout. In the middle is where I'm getting some dark chocolate notes while the back opens up to some mild dark fruitness (i.e. plums). As for the aftertaste, it's more smoked malts with light bitter hops.

What can I say, other than it's a great, vibrant tasting Baltic Porter? It's got smoke, roast and even some light fruit to give it an enjoyable and solid flavor. I need to make my way over to Wisconsin more often if New Glarus is pumping out beers like this!

New Glarus Smoke on the Porter - 9/10

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Leinenkugel's Maple Dunkel Review



Name: Leinenkugel's Maple Dunkel
Style: Munich Dunkel Lager
ABV: 5.8%
IBUs: N/A

Now's a good of a time as any to get some more fall seasonal beers in before we have to put up with winter seasonals for the next 4-5 months and for this review I've got Maple Dunkel from Leinenkugel's, which I picked up as part of a mix-a-six the other day.

As you can tell it's a beer made with maple syrup but I'm getting conflicting reports as to what style of beer this is. Beer Advocate calls it a Munich Dunkel Lager while Untappd and Ratebeer refer to this as a Dunkelweizen. Let's see what my palate tells me....

Appearance - Fairly clear yet dark brown/red color with a high amount of visible carbonation. The head is quite fizzy and only leaves a thin brown film along the side of the and there's nothing here in terms of lacing

Aroma - Well I'm certainly getting some strong maple syrup notes in here along with some caramel maltiness and some mild toffee notes.

Taste - Maple syrup and caramel malts upfront with some lager yeasts, chocolate notes and light roastiness in back. As for the aftertaste, it's a mild roastiness paired with an even lighter maple syrup flavor.

A dunkelweizen this most certainly isn't, since those banana and clove notes are nowhere to be seen here. So the prize for getting the style correct goes to BeerAdvocate. In any case, this is a good drinkable beer that's certainly worth checking out should you happen to come across it and the maple syrup used is definitely a nice touch.

Leinenkugel's Maple Dunkel - 8/10

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Able Seedhouse + Brewery First Light Review



Name: Able Seedhouse First Light
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 6%
IBUs: 60

The other beer which I grabbed from Able Seedhouse & Brewery is their First Light IPA, which came in the form of a can much like Supergiant before it. I have no idea why it's called First Light but maybe it's keeping in the theme of light, the sun, stars. etc.

Appearance - Mildly hazy dark orange color with a moderate amount of visible carbonation. The head has a light amount of foam to it but the lacing is rather sparse.

Aroma - Sweet citrus and mango notes with some mild bitterness. I'm also getting some flaked barley and mild caramel maltiness in here too.

Taste - Strong citrus hop notes upfront with a just a touch of bitterness along with some moderate caramel malts and more flaked barley in the back. Aftertaste is surprisingly sweet with more citrus notes and some light bitter hoppiness.

It's not a particularly complex IPA but it's certainly a robust one at that and I also think it's one of the best IPAs to come out of Minnesota in quite some time. Availability is currently limited at this time, but this one is worth grabbing should you so happen to see it!

Able Seedhouse + Brewery First Light - 9/10

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A visit to Modist Brewing Company



I've seem to have fallen into a habit recently of visiting taprooms that I have never been to before and writing about them. Oh well, it's something I enjoy doing and will continue to do so. This past Sunday, as I was drinking my morning coffee, I was trying to figure out how to make the most of the day when I decided to pay a visit to Modist Brewing after I remembered an exchange I had with a friend of mine about Modist Brewing and how I lamented that I had yet to check it out.



Located in the North Loop area of Minneapolis right by Target Field, Modist Brewing is the brainchild of Keigan Knee, a former brewer at Harriet Brewing & Dangerous Man Brewing. To my knowledge, they've been open for approximately six months and have developed a loyal following in the relatively short period of time. When I arrived, the streets were quiet and maybe a couple cars on the streets in the neighborhood but the open patio had a stream of music coming from the inside.

The taproom itself is quite roomy, with the tanks off to the right side of the room and the taproom itself is fairly wide open, complete with a great patio area . On top of that there was quite a selection to choose from. So I pulled up a barstool and mulled over what to get. The bartender (I don't remember her name) was quite knowledgeable about the beer and helped me decide what to treat myself to first.



German Fat Cap (6.5% ABV, 82 IBUs) - A hoppy Oktoberfest and the first beer I had since it IS October after all. You've got a nice citrus and bitter hop profile which is balanced out with some Munich malts and toffee sweetness. Unlike Hopzeit from Deschutes, which I found to be disappointing, German Fat Cap accomplished what Deschutes failed to do. Out of all of the Oktoberfest beers I've had this year, this is probably my favorite and once again serves as proof that Oktoberfest beers can indeed be interesting if done right.

Smoove (5.5% ABV, 26 IBUs) -  A salted caramel lager. That's a thing now, isn't it? I've had a salted caramel Brown Ale, strong ale, and even an Imperial Stout but not an amber lager. This one's got a nice, albeit light, salted caramel flavor mixed in with some toffee malts, light floral hops and a touch of lager yeasts. On top of that, it's also quite crisp and refreshing. Since it was in the mid 70's that day, it's a beer that fit the atmosphere quite well.

Toats (4.8% ABV, 38 IBUs) - A hoppy oats/session beer. This one had a nice citrus hop flavor along with some toasted oats (Hence the name,) light yeast notes and some pale malts. It's a nice session beer with just the right amount of hops without necessarily giving up too much of your sobriety and it does just that.


It's easy to see why Modist's following is quite loyal and I was impressed with the quality of the beers that were available there. It's a refreshing change of pace to visit some taprooms and not have to be worried about the quality of the beer being subpar.

I also went to the taproom shortly after 12PM so I went at a reasonably slow time but if you're ever in the North Loop area of Minneapolis, this place is definitely worth checking out and perfect for hanging out at on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Able Seedhouse + Brewery Supergiant Review



Name: Able Seedhouse + Brewery Supergiant
Style: Blonde Ale
ABV: 5.2%
IBUs: 18

On a recent trip to Zipp's in South Minneapolis, I was looking for some beers that aren't readily available in the suburbs when I noticed a new Minnesota-based brewery has just started canning their beers, and they go by the name Able Seedhouse & Brewery. As you may have guessed from the name, they make both ciders and beer, though I haven't seen their ciders available yet on the retail side.

For this review, we have their Supergiant Blonde Ale. Why the name? I'm not sure but I do know that Supergiant is a classification of star sizes, which I know courtesy of my 8th grade year astronomy class. I'd say it's probably a big Blonde Ale, but at 5.1% ABV, I hardly think that this classifies as a big beer.

Appearance - Fairly clear yellow color with a high amount of visible carbonation. The head is pretty foamy and there's a good amount of lacing left behind.

Aroma - Floral hops and pale malts with some light yeasts and maybe just a touch of pilsner-earthiness.

Taste - Floral and bitter hops mixed in with pale malts and yeasts. The back end of the flavor consists mainly of bitter hops and some more pale malts and it lingers for a few moments afterward.

It's a blonde ale and it doesn't do anything I'd consider to be new but it's nice, crisp and drinkable. If you're looking for something that goes down easy after a long day at work, Supergiant is the beer for you.

Able Seedhouse + Brewery Supergiant - 8/10

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A visit to Oliphant Brewing




The last new brewery I visited last weekend was a brewery that has actually been around for quite a while and I had heard a ton of good things about their beers and the sheer creativity that these guys were known for. I'm, of course, talking about Oliphant Brewing located in Somerset, WI; The same town where my high school graduating class went for an over night camping party after our last day of high school.




We went right after hanging out at Pitchfork Brewing to watch the Packers game and met up with a couple of acquaintances we had sat with at Pitchfork. The best way I can describe Oliphant is like this: If you were to put a 14 year-old version me in charge of naming beers at a brewery, Oliphant Brewing embodies that. You've got references to Aliens, Arrested Development, Wayne's World, Macho Man Randy Savage, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force just to name a few. I've also heard that they've made beers with references to Dragon Ball Z, Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, and many others that I probably am missing. I'll just let the picture below speak for itself.






As you can see from above, there's quite a few beers to choose from so I did the first thing that came naturally: order a complete flight of the beers on the list. As the first half was brought out to me, the bartender (nice guy, don't remember his name) rattled off what each of the beers were and gave me a brief overview of all of them.


With the task ahead of me, I got to work right away.

Facehugger Fiesta Pale Lager (5% ABV) - Light palt malts with some floral & light bitter hops throughout with a mildly yeasty but otherwise dry aftertaste. Nothing special but it's quite refreshing.

Party On Wayne Blonde Ale (7% ABV) - Yeasty and pale malt flavor profile with some floral hops to balance it all out. For a blonde ale, it's quite heavy for what it is in terms of alcohol content but it manages to be solid without any apparent booziness. Party on, indeed!

Milkman Manbaby (6.8% ABV) - Described as a "German-Style Milk Stout", this beer is brewed with a Hefeweizen yeast strain and I have to say I have never had a milk stout quite like this. Sure you've got your chocolate malts, lactose and roasted barley, but surrounding all that is a banana & cloves flavor brought on by the Hefeweizen yeast and, oddly enough, it works quite well. I'm sure something like this has been done elsewhere before but this is my first time having anything like this and I love it!

Big Jilm (5.1% ABV) - An English Brown Ale. I had to do some research for the name of this beer, but apparently it's a song by Ween, a band I know of only because of my stoner roommate from my freshman year in college. Here you've got some roasted barley and chocolate malts but I'm also getting some light rye notes in here as well. Nothing remarkable but drinkable nevertheless.

Hunk Boy Robust Porter (5.5% ABV) - Named in honor of the late MACHO MAN RANDY SAVAGE, this beer has a nice solid roasted barley and dark chocolate malt flavor with some mild smokiness, giving it a Schwarzbier-like quality but with a heavier body. True to its name, it's indeed a robust porter and a great one at that.

Ant Ray Cow Pants (7.6% ABV) - A Red Ale with Spices. In here, I got some strong ginger and toffee maltiness, paired with some allspice, bitter hops, and nutmeg notes with a light hint of caramel sweetness. It's in interesting combination, but much like Manbaby, this one works wonderfully!



Yara (6.6% ABV) - An IPA made with Citra & Galaxy Hops. I initially thought that this beer was named after Yara Greyjoy from Game of Thrones, but the bartender was quick to correct me in saying that it actually wasn't and told me the reason behind the name, which is now lost on me. The nose has a perfume like aroma while the palate has a nice citrus and piney hop flavor back up by caramel malts and light toffee sweetness. Nothing I haven't seen in an IPA before, but this is a damned good beer!

The Ancient Bonesaber of Zumakalis (8% ABV) - Called a Foreign Export Stout (i.e. Guinness) and takes its name from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Here you've got roasted barley with some chocolate malts and light floral hoppiness. It's a stronger version of Guinness but a good one at that.

Gobias Coffee Black Ale (8.5% ABV) - An Arrested Development beer? My life is now complete! Nice coffee ground notes paired with a hefty chocolate malt backbone and roasted barley. It's heavy on the coffee and that's just fine by me!

Imperial Brown Sugar Brown Brown (8% ABV) - This one was remarkably similar to Capital Brewing's Jobu, which I reviewed a couple years back, being that they were both Imperial Brown Ales aged in Rum Barrels. Here you've got chocolate and caramel notes with some prominent oakiness and vanilla bean notes along with some light floral hoppiness.

Even though it's been well over a year since I returned to the Twin Cities, I am kicking myself for not checking these guys out sooner. Sure I've had one of their beers in the form of a crowler last year, but I never took it upon myself to check these guys out. Now that I have, I am hooked. What I liked about Oliphant is that each beer had their own unique personality and the sheer creativity I saw at work has made this one of my favorite taprooms that I have visited in recent memory. It goes without saying that I will definitely be back again the in near future to check out what other offerings these guys have to offer.

When American Sky was bought out by North Loop (AKA Lucid) and closed down in Hudson last year, I was heartbroken by this because their taproom was quite awesome. Even though I will always remember American Sky, the presence of Oliphant in the immediate area makes up for American Sky's absence. If you're looking for a taproom with beers that are unique, approachable, and oozing of personality, then Oliphant is the brewery for you.