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.

No comments:

Post a Comment