Sunday, August 9, 2020

Where the Heck are the Beer Reviews?

Drinking at home with the rest of the world
Drinking at home with the rest of the world

Hello, everyone!  Well it has been certainly an interesting past few months for everybody but I'm here to give you all an update as far as what I have been up to, in particular to my regular beer reviews; Which is, of course, why I'm here today. 

Some of you who follow me on a regular basis know that while my beer blog has not been particularly active, I have been very active and other social media platforms, Instagram in particular.  What I have been doing as of late is posting my thoughts on each beer I have on there and leaving it at that. There's a reason for this this.

Since this whole pandemic started, I have had less free time overall on account of my job demands since I will often times be pulling longer hours, in spite the fact that I have been working from home for roughly five months at this point and don't have to make the 20 minute drive to-and-from work everyday. 

Often times when I write a review, depending on my thoughts as well as any related information, it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour to write an article.  Since my job involves writing on a daily basis, paired with my increased workload, writing an article about beer after finishing off what is sometimes a nine-to-ten hour workday is the last thing on my mind. Hence, why I have started migrating my reviews to Instagram only for the time being since those take way less time for me to put together and write. Depending on how the next few months go, I might make it a permanent fixture.

But fear not, this website is not going anywhere. Amidst the craziness that has been happening, I discovered last week that my domain for this website had expired and I renewed it just this past weekend.

Which brings me to the next thing I'd like to address: Beer Articles.

I started this year with a promise to myself that I would focus more on doing taproom write-ups all across Minnesota and the greater Midwest, but as we all know, the coronavirus has pretty much wiped away any chance of the having that happen. I am aware that taprooms are open again for patrons to visit, but I am putting that on hold; Not so much for my own health but rather the health of my family because they have pre-existing conditions that could compromise their well being and I don't want to be responsible for any of my family getting sick. This comes especially after we had a scare in our house, which thankfully we all tested negative. 

It is going to stay this way for the foreseeable future until this country can somehow figure out how get their hands around this pandemic, which is anyone's guess at this point. I'm really hoping it's sooner than later so we will see what will happen.  When this does happen at some point, I'll be hitting the road again once more.

Until that time comes, you can follow me on Instagram at www.instagram.com/nicksbeerblog

As always, thank you for your continued support and remember to drink good beer.

- Nick

Monday, June 22, 2020

Taxman Mezcal Barrel Exemption Review


Name: Taxman Mezcal Barrel Exemption
Style: Tripel
ABV: 9%
IBUs: 30

Time to look at a new Tripel that I got from my Tavour beer mail and that would be Mezcal Barrel Exemption from Taxman Brewing, based out of Bargersville, IN. It’s a their regular Exemption tripel aged in Mezcal barrels. Doing some research I found that mezcal is very similar to tequila with the exception that tequila is made with solely blue agave while mezcal can be made with any type of agave. Also while the agave pits in tequila is steamed/cooked in industrial ovens, the agave pits in mezcal is cooked over hit rocks in a pit and covered in agave fiber. There’s probably more to it but that’s the big sticking points, for myself anyways.

Appearance – Cloudy orange color with a good amount of visible carbonation. The head is quite thing with some light retention and no lacing left behind.

Aroma – Belgian yeasts and cloves with some candied caramel malts along with light hints of oak and vanilla.

Taste – Caramel malts upfront with some potent Belgian yeast and cloves upfront. On the back end, I’m picking up on some vanilla and oak notes with just a touch of nutmeg. In the aftertaste, I’m getting some mild floral hops with a touch of smokiness and light clove kick.

I’m always down for a good tripel and this one does the trick. The flavor is nice and layered, not to mention just outright tasty! As such, this is a very easy beer for me to recommend, especially if you’re looking for a good Belgian-style ale!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Greater Good DDH Pulp Daddy Review


Name: Greater Good DDH Pulp Daddy
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 8%
IBUs: N/A

Well, I've got a beer to look at called DDH Pulp Daddy from Greater Good Imperial Brewing Company, based out of Worcester, MA. As you might've guessed from the name of the brewery, they specialize in making imperialized styles of beer, although according to Untappd, they do make lighter styles of beer as well.

The beer we're looking at is their DDH Pulp Daddy, which is a double dry chopped version of their original Pulp Daddy. Let's take a look, shall we?

Appearance - Hazy orange color with no visible carbonation. There's a thin foamy head that actually gains volume as you let it sit and the lacing left behind is rather abundant.

Aroma - Rich citrus, grapefruit & pineapple fruitiness paired with a light pale malts. Simply put, it smells like orange juice.

Taste - Vibrant citrus and grapefruit with a solid pale maltiness upfront. On the back end of the palate, I'm getting some light orange peel and pineapple notes. In the aftertaste, it's mostly citrus and very light hop bitterness with a touch of booziness.

Normally boozy flavors are a detriment but here, paired with the vibrant flavor profile, it works. If I had to compare this to anything, it would be a hoppy mimosa. For me, this one is excellent!

Monday, June 15, 2020

Blacklist Golden Review


Name: Blacklist Golden
Style: Blonde Ale
ABV: 4%
IBUs: 15

Blacklist might be known mostly for their Belgian/Euro-style ales but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t willing to branch out into something more mainstream. Which brings us to Golden: A session blonde ale meant for those who aren’t necessarily ready to jump into the proverbial deep end as far as craft beer is concerned. Let’s take a look shall we?

Appearance – Hazy bright yellow color with a mild amount of visible carbonation. The head is nice and foamy and the lacing left behind is abundant.

Aroma – Pale malts and biscuits paired with a light touch of floral hops and earthiness.

Taste – Pretty similar to the nose with nice biscuit/yeast notes followed by some light earthiness. On the back end of the palate, I’m picking up on some pale malts and a light floral/herbal hops with a dry finish.

If you’re looking for a way to support local breweries, yet don’t want to be punched in the face with hops, this is the beer for you! With its simple yet delightful flavor, this one is definitely a crowd pleaser in my book and you owe it to yourself to try this one out.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

Humble Forager Gypsy Outpost Review


Name: Humble Forager Gypsy Outpost
Style: Imperial Porter
ABV: 12%
IBUs: N/A

I managed to score another offering from Humble Forager in the form of their Gypsy Outpost Imperial Porter. Described as a Samoa Cookie Pastry Porter, this beer is made with vanilla beans, cocoa nibs, toasted coconut and cinnamon. I’ve had a couple of pastry beers before and while they were good, they’ve always struck me as being a bit on the sweet side, even by my standards, so let’s see how this one is.

Appearance – Pitch Black with no visible carbonation rising up from the bottom. The head itself is quite thin with a dark brown appearance to it and it fades after a couple moments and there’s no lacing to speak of left behind.

Aroma – Strong roasted barley upfront followed by chocolate malts with a light touch of vanilla & cinnamon.

Taste – On the flipside, the flavor is fairly chocolate malt forward with some moderate roasted barley notes following thereafter. On the back of the palate, I’m getting a nice mesh of vanilla & light coconut paired with the roastiness of the flavor. In the aftertaste, I’m getting more of that chocolate maltiness with a light hint of bitter hops and a touch of cinnamon spiciness.

This beer is a nice mixture of sweet, bitter and roastiness and, in my opinion, keeps things in check without one aspect overpowering than the other, so this one is a keeper for me. If you see this, I highly recommend you check it out!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Indeed Pistachio Cream Ale Review


Name: Indeed Pistachio Cream Ale
Style: Cream Ale
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 15

It’s been a fairly long time since I looked at anything from Indeed Brewing, so what better way to get back into it than with a beer from them that has caught my attention. I give to you Indeed’s Pistachio Cream Ale, a name which needs absolutely no explanation as far as what the ingredients are in the said beer. I had seen this beer making the rounds on Facebook and Instagram and decided that I needed to check this out since I’m a big fan of pistachios in general.

Appearance -  A clear golden color with a high amount of visible carbonation. The head itself is moderate in size and has excellent retention but the lacing itself is on the spottier side.

Aroma – I’m getting some potent biscuit and pistachio notes on the notes, followed by light floral hops and pale malts.

Taste – Well they aren’t playing around then they called it a Pistachio Cream Ale because they absolutely dominate the front of the palate. Behind that I’m getting some pale malt sweetness and potent bready biscuit notes. In the aftertaste, I’m getting more of that biscuit flavor along with some light floral hops.

Indeed took one of my favorite snack foods and incorporated it into their beer and the end result is a love letter to fans of Pistachios and I love it. If you’re looking for a great cream ale with a twist, then I whole heartedly recommend checking this one out!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Westbrook It's Tiki Time Review


Name: Westbrook It's Tiki Time
Style: Sour Ale
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 5

Time to take a look at a brewery that I’ve seen quite a bit about online but have never had the chance to check out until just very recently, and that brewery is Westbrook Brewing Company. The beer we’re looking at is named “It’s Tiki Time!” As you might’ve guessed, it’s a tropical-themed sour beer made with a laundry list of ingredients, which are: allspice, cinnamon, guava, key lime, lactose, passionfruit, pineapple & vanilla.

This is a brand new beer from them and they certainly sound excited about it because on their website, they proudly proclaim that “IT IS TIME TO TIKI.”

But is it though?

Appearance - Dark orange with lots of visible carbonation. The head has a thin foamy look to it with some spotty lacing.

Aroma – I'm picking up on some pineapple and guava notes with some light allspice and cinnamon notes.

Taste – Right away I'm getting some vibrant pineapple and guava notes in the front of the palate with passionfruit and lactose notes on the back. In the aftertaste, those Cinnamon & Allspice notes are prevalent without being too overpowering along with a mild lime tartness.

With all the flavors going down in this beer, it’s honestly very easy to see why Westbrook just can’t contain themselves because this beer is astounding. This might rank up there with Church Giggles as being one of my favorite sours that I’ve had thus far.

Westbrook It’s Tiki Time – 9.5/10

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Iron Horse Quilter's Irish Death Review


Name: Iron Horse Quilter’s Irish Death
Style: American Strong Ale
ABV: 7.8%
IBUs: 12

Up next in my monthly Tavour package is a beer from Iron Horse Brewery, based out of Ellensburg, WA and it’s called Quilter’s Irish Death. Now doing some research about this beer, I found out two things. First is that they really don’t have a classification for what kind of beer this is, though Beer Advocate and Untappd both classify this as an American Strong Ale. Secondly, this beer is named after Jim Quilter, who was one of the founders of Iron Horse who passed in 2009. If my research is correct, this beer is also one of the flagship offerings.

That being said, I’m excited to try this out, so let’s take a look!

Appearance – A clear dark brown/crimson color with a mild amount of visible carbonation when held up to a light. The head itself has a thin, tan-colored look to it and the lacing left behind is on the spotty side.

Aroma – Strong chocolate and toffee malts permeate throughout the nose with some potent rum raisin and floral hops.

Taste – Right off the bat, I’m getting some strong chocolate malt and rum raisin notes while the back of the palate opens up to that toffee maltiness and mild floral hoppiness. As for the aftertaste, it’s a mix of floral hops and dark chocolate, both of which linger for a couple of moments.

It’s not too often you see a Strong Ale as part of a flagship offering but I have to say that I can see why Iron Horse does that with this beer, plus it’s a nice break from all the IPAs and juice bombs I’ve been having as of late. If I were you, I’d pick this up or put this on your list at the very least!

Iron Horse Quilter’s Irish Death – 9/10

Monday, May 18, 2020

Jester King Unfiltered Pilsner Review


Name: Jester King Unfiltered Pilsner
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5.1%
IBUs: N/A

As much as I love supporting the local craft beer scene here in Minnesota, I yearn for beers from other parts of the country. Were this 2015/2016, I'd opt for using r/beertrade on Reddit. However Reddit decided to shut that down back in 2018 which doesn't surprise me since Reddit had been, in my opinion, declining steadily into lameness for a few years at that point

In any case, I discovered Tavour one evening while using Untappd a month back and well....I haven't looked back since. I got a good variety of beers that I personally selected from them and I'll be taking a look at all of them.

One of these beers is from none other than Jester King Brewing, based out of Austin, TX. Today, I have their Unfiltered Pilsner, which is described as Jester King's first Pale Lager. This might not seem like such a big deal but when you consider that pretty much all of their beers are wild ales & sours, it's kind of a big deal.

Alright, enough talk, let's take a look at this beer.

Appearance - Cloudy golden color with lots of visible carbonation. The head itself is thin but with good retention and the lacing left behind is on the lighter side.

Aroma - Pilsner malts and floral hops mixed with some bready biscuit notes that comes off almost like fresh bread!

Taste - Upfront, you've got some potent Pilsner malts and floral hops while the back opens up to some vibrant lemon grass and biscuity notes. The aftertaste is a mixture floral and light bitter hoppiness.

Maybe it's because of how fresh it is or the ingredients used in this beer but I'm seriously digging this Pilsner! Everything is balanced perfectly but that biscuit flavor, for me, seals the deal. I already knew Jester King was a phenomenal brewery but this beer proves that they can make an excellent Pale Lager-style beer!

Jester King Unfiltered Pilsner - 9/10

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Humble Forager Elevated Perspective Review



Name: Humble Forager Elevated Perspective
Style: Imperial IPA (Hazy/NE Style)
ABV: 8%
IBUs: N/A

So there’s a fairly popular brewpub based in Rochester, MN called Forager Brewing and they have a massive following, with people traveling far and wide just to grab their beers. Well, Forager wanted to distribute their beer but current Minnesota State Laws prohibit brewpubs from distributing (for now.) So the people at Forager decided to contract brew their beer at Octopi Brewing in Waunakee, WI to help circumvent this strange law that we have in place here in Minnesota.

Now at some point, once things like diseases and murder hornets give up their vendetta against the human race, I intend to visit the original Forager brewpub in Rochester because has been on my to-do list since before this whole fiasco started. With all that said, I managed to snag something from Humble Forager at one of my local haunts. I give to you their Elevated Perspective, an Imperial Hazy IPA made with Vic Secret, Sultana & Galaxy hops. I’m eager to see what this beer is like, given the hype surrounding Forager, so let’s take a look at this.

Appearance – Hazy orange color with a mild amount of visible carbonation rising from the bottom. The head starts foamy but manages to maintain a thin retention throughout and the lacing left behind is on the spottier side.

Aroma – The nose starts off with a nice orange peel and kiwi sweetness with just a touch of mango that follows afterwards, all of which is encompassed by a solid pale maltiness.

Taste – Upfront, I’m picking up on some vibrant mango and kiwi notes, while the back gives way to a nice pineapple fruitiness and pale malt backbone. In the aftertaste, it’s a mixture of light orange peel and mild bitter hoppiness.

I can definitely see why people are fans of Forager. While I still can’t yet compare the flavor to that of the original Rochester location, if this beer is any indication, then I can’t wait to visit the source once the world stops trying to kill us all. Until then, I’ll keep my eyes peeled for more offerings from Humble Forager!

Humble Forager Elevated Perspective – 9/10

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Summit Cabin Crusher Review


Name: Summit Cabin Crusher
Style: Kolsch
ABV: 4.8%
IBUs: 30

As the temperatures continue to crawl their ways upwards, I figure I’d do my best to get feature some lighter beers and as luck would have it, I have just the one for this spring weather. I give to you Summit’s Cabin Crusher, a Kolsch-style ale made with lime peel and puree along with Lemon Drop & Loral hops. First released in 2019 as part of their variety packs, it’s since gained a large enough following to where it’s now available for people to purchase in standalone 4-packs, 6-packs and 12-packs

Appearance – Hazy yellow color with a good amount of visible carbonation. The head itself is fairly foamy and there’s a good amount of lacing left behind along the sides of the glass.

Aroma – Right away, I’m hit with a nice pale/pilsner maltiness and lime scent, along with just a touch of those citra-lemon hops and barley.

Taste – On the front of the palate, I’m getting some solid pale maltiness and those lemon-citra hops, while the back end of the palate opens up to that lime sweetness with a touch of biscuits. The aftertaste is, for the most part, fairly dry save for a light hop bitterness.

For a beer that is intended for drinking in “Cabin Country,” there’s quite a bit going on here if you really pay attention. Yet at the same time, you don’t necessarily need to turn your brain on to appreciate what this beer has to offer. Whether you’re sitting around a bonfire, fishing on your favorite lake, or having it in the comfort of your home in Suburbia like yours truly; I have no doubt that you’ll enjoy drinking this.

Summit Cabin Crusher – 8.5/10

Monday, May 4, 2020

Bent Paddle Wilderness Tuxedo P.O.G. Review


Name: Bent Paddle Wilderness Tuxedo P.O.G.
Style: Berliner Weisse
ABV: 4.4%
IBUs: 10

Bent Paddle has certainly come a long way since they first opened their doors in 2013. I recall a time where they had maybe 3-4 canned offerings available for purchase when they first opened and now they've got a much wider variety of options to choose from.

One of these options is their Wilderness Tuxedo series, a rotating series of Berliner Weisse beers which has gained a huge following amongst fans of Bent Paddle. The beer I'll be looking at today is their Wilderness Tuxedo P.O.G., which stands for Passion Fruit, Orange & Guava.

Appearance - Hazy yellow color with a light amount of visible carbonation. The head has a rather soapy look to it with no lacing retention.

Aroma - I'm picking up on some nice mango, melon and orange notes along with a light amount of floral hoppiness.

Tastes - Upfront I get some nice potent orange and passion fruit notes, which the back opens to more of a mango-like fruitness that is equally as potent before finishing with a tart aftertaste.

Wilderness Tuxedo P.O.G. shows to me just how versatile the brewery is at nailing different styles of beer. That goes without saying that this is an excellent beer and one that'll have me looking out for more offerings in the series going forward.

Bent Paddle Wilderness Tuxedo P.O.G. - 9/10

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Blackstack Chop Chop Review


Name: Blackstack Chop Chop
Style: India Pale Ale (Hazy/NE Style)
ABV: 6.6%
IBUs: N/A

Venturing back into hazy territory, we’re taking a look at another offering from Blackstack Brewing. Today’s beer is Chop Chop, a hazy IPA that was done in collaboration with Falling Knife Brewing, which is based out of neighboring Minneapolis.

Appearance – Hazy bright yellow color with a light amount of visible carbonation. The head itself is quite soapy but manages to maintain a thin retention and the lacing is on the spotty side

Aroma – I’m getting some potent pineapple notes mixed in with some melon and orange slice. There’s also a moderate pale maltiness in here as well.

Taste – Strong melon & cantaloupe notes followed by some citrus hops and pineapple on the back end of the palate, along with a solid pale malt backbone. The aftertaste is a mix of bittersweet orange peel and a light melon flavor.

As far as hazy IPAs go, this is definitely one of the better ones I’ve had. The reason being that there’s a good amount of layering with the flavor yet at the same time, it’s super easy to drink; Dare I say almost dangerously crushable? In any case, this is one beer that should be on your docket to try out!

Blackstack Chop Chop – 9/10

Monday, April 27, 2020

Central Waters Brewer's Reserve Rye Barrel Stout Review


Name: Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve Rye Barrel Stout
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.9%
IBUs: 42

I’m taking a break from reviewing hazy beers to look at another entry into a beloved series of mine from Central Waters Brewing. Since reviewing their Cherry Stout, I’ve made it a goal of mine to try out all of the Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve beers since I’ve grown accustomed to the quality of the offerings in the series.

For my sixth look in the series, I’ve got my hands on their Rye Barrel Stout, which is of course, an Imperial Stout aged that was aged in rye whiskey barrels for a full year. There isn’t really much else for me to say, so let’s take a look at this!

Appearance – Opaque black color with a thin brown colored head & a spotty amount of lacing left behind along the sides of the glass

Aroma – Strong chocolate malt and roasted barley scent upfront with some vanilla and oak notes tucked away behind that. There’s also a light but encompassing rye spiciness there to let you know that this is very much a rye barrel-aged stout.

Taste – Right away, I’m getting that strong chocolate maltiness and roasted barley flavor, which is immediately followed by that vibrant oak and rye spiciness. On the back end of the palate is where that vanilla sweetness starts to shine and help bring balance; Especially to the rye aspect of the flavor. In the aftertaste, I’m getting some light bitter hoppiness paired with those oak, vanilla and chocolate malt flavors; Along with a light boozy heat and it lingers for a few moments.

It goes without saying that this is a fantastic beer. I’d even go as far as to recommend that even those who aren’t fans of Rye Beers will enjoy this, it’s that good! Everything melds together wonderfully and it is a nice change of scenery from all the beers that I’ve had as of late. That said, this is very easy for me to recommend.

Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve Rye Barrel Stout – 9.5/10

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Toppling Goliath Supa Sumo Review


Name: Toppling Goliath Supa Sumo
Style: Imperial IPA (Hazy/NE style)
ABV: 7.8%
IBUs: 100

Time to look at a beer from Toppling Goliath, a brewery that I haven’t looked at in ages. The beer is question is Supa Sumo, an Imperial Hazy IPA. Why is it called Supa Sumo? I have no idea but what I do know is that it’s made with Citra & Mosaic hops. Let’s have a look!

Appearance – Murky orange-yellow color with a mold amount of visible carbonation. The head itself is quite thin and there's a light amount of lacing left behind.

Aroma – Citrus and orange peel notes are immediately apparent upfront along with a malty backbone. However hidden behind all that is a subtle yet noticable bitterness.

Taste – Starting out, I'm getting those nice citrus and orange peel notes that I got in the nose, both of which linger throughout the palate. Then on the back end of the palate, that bitterness that wasn't really apparent before seemingly drops out of nowhere and dominates the remainder of the palate. This is in conjunction with that citrus and orange peel notes along with that pale maltiness.

At first the flavor seems pretty upfront but once that bitterness kicks in, it becomes a pretty different beer. For me, it's a change of pace and it's what sets it apart from a lot of the hazy beers I've had recently. As far as I’m concerned, it’s another great offering from Toppling Goliath and one that you should absolutely check out.

Toppling Goliath Supa Sumo – 9/10

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Blackstack Barely Street Legal Review


Name: Blackstack Barely Street Legal
Style: India Pale Ale (Hazy/NE style)
ABV: 7.3%
IBUs: N/A

Time to check out another brewery that people just can't seem to get enough of around here. Today we are looking at a beer from Blackstack Brewing, based out of Saint Paul, MN.

The beer is question is Barely Street Legal, a DDH Hazy IPA brewed in collaboration with 18th Street Brewing based out of Gary, IN. It's made with Citra, Strata and (admittedly cool sounding) Experimental #07270 hops.

Appearance - Hazy yellow color with a mild amount of visible carbonation. The head itself is pretty thin and there's a light amount of lacing left behind.

Aroma - I'm getting some nice citrus & apricot notes along with some good pale maltiness.

Taste - The flavor itself is fairly straightforward with those citrus and apricot flavors throughout most of the palate with just a hint of peach; All of which is backed by a nice pale malt backbone. As for the aftertaste, it's surprisingly dry save for a light hint of citrus.

As stated in the previous paragraph, the flavor on this is pretty upfront and there's nothing wrong with that. It's not the most complex hazy out there, but there's no excuse not to try this out.

Blackstack Barely Street Legal - 8.5/10

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Surly Space Race Review


Name: Surly Space Race
Style: Imperial IPA (Hazy/NE Style)
ABV: 9.5%
IBUs: N/A (Low per Surly’s Website)

I’ve decided to take another dive into Surly’s BC Small Batch Series. This time around, we’re venturing into the Hazy IPA category with their Space Race, a hazy Double Dry Hopped (DDH) Imperial IPA. Why the name Space Race, you ask? Well, according to Surly, the mix of El Dorado, Citra, and Simcoe hops will “send you straight to the moon.” Sounds like fun, I guess?

Appearance – Hazy dark yellow with a fairly thin head along with some great lacing.

Aroma – Pineapple, kiwi, and orange peel dominate most of the nose along with a slight hint of pale maltiness. Fairly straightforward as far as Hazy IPAs are concerned.

Taste – The majority of the palate is made up of vibrant pineapple, kiwi and citrus notes with a light touch of the passionfruit, along with a nice pale malt backbone. In the aftertaste, I’m getting a nice orange slice sweetness that lingers for a couple of moments.

I’m enjoying this one and it’s another awesome entry for Surly’s BC Small Batch series. I recall a time where the only Imperial IPA that Surly offered was their Abrasive Ale, so seeing them putting their resources to good use to create even more offerings make me thankful to have a brewery like Surly around. Is it complex? No, but given how vibrant the flavor profile is, that more than makes up for it!

Surly Space Race – 9/10

Monday, April 20, 2020

Sixpoint Party Hat Review


Name: Sixpoint Party Hat 
Style: India Pale Ale (Hazy/NE Style)
ABV: 7%
IBUs: 0

The fine folks at Sixpoint have bestowed upon us another Hazy IPA called Party Hat. I guess it’s called Party Hat to indicate a good time because the label proudly totes that there is no bitterness in here in both the description and on the 0 IBUs on the label, which saves me the task of having to find it. Plus after having their excellent Meltdown, I’m eager to see how this one turns out.

Appearance – Hazy yellow color with a light amount of carbonation. The head itself is soapy but has some good retention and the lacing left behind is light.

Aroma – Citrus, orange peel, peach and mango fruitness dominate the nose along with some light pale malts. No bitterness so far!

Taste – Much like the nose, the palate consists of vibrant citrus, mango, orange peel notes along with a solid pale malt backbone. The aftertaste is a nice, but light citrus aftertaste.

True to its name, this is a beer with no bitterness to speak of. It’s bright, vibrant, juicy & just a good time overall. It’s more straightforward than Meltdown was in terms of flavor but that it’s still a great beer nevertheless. As such, this one is easy to recommend!

Sixpoint Party Hat – 8.5/10

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Blacklist Spruce Review



Name: Blacklist Spruce
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 9.5%
IBUs: 90

Let's turn the clock back to 2013, shall we?  It was a different time for myself:  My beer blog was still pretty new, I was living in Duluth and the craft beer scene in Duluth (as well as Northeast Minnesota/Northern Wisconsin general), while vibrant, still wasn't nearly the powerhouse that it is today.  Back then, one of the new breweries that I was introduced to was, of course, Blacklist Brewing.

One of the first beers that I ever tried out from them was their Spruce Tipped. I recall it being a wonderfully made beer that I, at the time, considered off the beaten path in terms of the usage of spruce tips in the brewing process. Well since then, craft beer being made with nontraditional ingredients has become the norm so you could consider my old article to be a product of its time. Also, Blacklist has made this beer again under a different name simply called: Spruce.  To my knowledge, they've also tweaked the recipe a bit so I figured now is a good time to take a look at this beer once again.

Appearance - Mildly cloudy dark orange color with a moderate amount of visible carbonation. The head takes on a foamy off-white look and some good lacing to boot.

Aroma - Strong caramel malts mixed in with some moderate bitter & citrus hops. I'm also getting some light spruce towards the back in here as well.

Taste - Strong caramel malts make up the bulk of the front end of the flavor, which is followed by that potent piney & citrus hop flavor in the middle. On the back end of the palate, however, is where that spruce shines! It's not too overpowering but it's just right! As for the aftertaste, it's mainly that spruce flavor with some mild maltiness.

Looking back at my notes from 2013, there is a noticeable difference in the overall flavor...but I think it's for the better. The spruce aspect of the flavor is more pronounced than before and it just feels more well-rounded as a whole.

This was already a great beer seven years ago, but I strongly feel that this one is better. As such, this is a very easy beer to recommend and I think it serves as a testament to how much Blacklist has evolved over the years.

Blacklist Spruce - 9.5/10

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Angry Inch False Penance Review



Name: Angry Inch False Penance
Style: Barleywine
ABV: 11.2%
IBUs: 52

One more beer from Angry Inch left to go! I did have a crowler of their Crabby Appleton Graf but that got consumed during a bonfire, so we’re moving onto the main event: False Penance.

It’s a Rye Barrel Aged Belgian-style Barleywine, so one can assume that there will be a lot going on in this flavor. When I was talking with Jon, he touted this as one of his favorite beers & it’s also been a long time since I’ve had a proper barleywine to review. Needless to say, I’m very eager to try this out.

Appearance – A fairly hazy dark red color with no head or lacing to speak of.

Aroma – Strong rye, oak and sherry port notes with some mild bitter hops along with some light Belgian yeast and clove spiciness. The caramel malt backbone is nice and strong here as well.

Taste – Upon taking my first sip, the rye spiciness and oak notes are front and center along with that port flavor. In the middle is where those Belgian yeast and mild bitter hop notes shine nicely the back end of the palate is where that caramel & toffee maltiness are most prevalent.

There’s a lot going on in the flavor and I, for one, love it; Espcially the rye flavors! That said, if you’re not a fan of rye, this beer isn’t going to win you over simply based on how prevalent the said flavor is…..but if you enjoy rye & barrel aged beers, then this beer is pretty much a love letter to you!

Angry Inch False Penance – 9.5/10

Friday, April 10, 2020

Junkyard Murky Dimensions Review


Name: Junkyard Murky Dimensions
Style: Imperial IPA (Hazy/NE Style)
ABV: 8.1%
IBUs: 41

Another beer from Junkyard Brewing? Don’t mind if I do! This time around, I’ve got another Hazy IPA from them in the form of Murky Dimensions, complete with some pretty neat cover art on the front.

I also noticed too during my research that there is, in fact, an old version of this beer; With the previous specifications being 8.5% ABV & with 57 IBUs. How long ago was the change made and why? Who knows, let’s check this out!

Appearance – Hazy yellow color with a mild amount of visible carbonation. The head has a nice fluffy and pillow-like look to it and there’s tons of lacing left along the sides of the glass.

Aroma – Nice peach and apricot notes mixed in with some citrus hops on orange peel notes, all backed up by a nice pale malt backbone.

Taste – Right away, that peach and apricot sweetness is on full display here, along with some citrus hops/orange peel; All of which take up most of the flavor. On the back end of the palate, I’m picking up on some pretty light hop bitterness that lingers for but a moment. Aside from that, the aftertaste is actually pretty dry

What can I say? It’s another solid offering from Junkyard and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Any dedicated fan of the Hazy IPA style (or Junkyard Brewing) in general will no doubt fall in love with this.

Junkyard Murky Dimensions – 8/10

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Angry Inch Speedy's Happy Pilz Review



Name: Angry Inch Speedy’s Happy Pilz
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 27

Next beer up from Angry Inch Brewing is Speedy’s Happy Pilz, which is listed as a Czech-style Pilsner. I recall the name Speedy from my first visit to Angry Inch back in 2014 when they were still brewing out of their garage and it’s brewed in honor of owner Jon’s old foreman who had passed away a few years prior. Back when I first visited them, the beer was simply called Speedy’s Lager and was, according to my notes, a darker lager with a chocolate malt finish. In other words, not the same beer we’re looking at today.

Appearance – A clear golden color with a ton of visible carbonation. The head is quite thin and the lacing left behind is spotty.

Aroma – I’m getting a potent pilsner malt scent along with some nice floral hop notes and just a hint of barley.

Taste – Nice Pilsner malt notes with some nice yet subtle floral hoppiness which linger throughout the palate, along with that light barley flavor. A  light bitterness briefly makes an appearance at the end before fading away in what is an otherwise dry aftertaste.

I have to say, I enjoyed having this a great deal. It’s an easy drinking beer with a nice & clean finish. It’s one of those beers that you can just sit back, relax, turn your brain off and just enjoy it; Especially after a long day at work (Maybe that’s the whole point?) Much like the name suggests, this beer will, indeed, make you happy.

Angry Inch Speedy’s Happy Pils – 8.5/10

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Angry Inch The Balvinchie Review


Name: Angry Inch The Balvinchie
Style: Wee Heavy/Scotch Ale
ABV: 8%
IBUs: 23

So since visiting taprooms is out of the question for an extended period of time, I figured the next best thing I could do is grab some beers to go straight from the taproom. With that said, I’ve got some new beers from the crew over at Angry Inch to take a look at. First up is The Balvinchie; What's a Balvinchie? Heck if I know!

In any case, this is their Wee Heavy. Come to think of it, I haven’t had a Wee Heavy in a long time, despite my love of the style. With that said, let’s check this one out.

Appearance – Mildly hazy dark crimson color with a light amount of visible carbonation. The head itself takes on a foamy khaki color and there’s some mild lacing left along the sides of the glass.

Aroma – Caramel malts and potent peated scotch notes. I’m also picking up on some mild smokiness and floral hops, along with some light spicy notes.

Taste – Like the nose, the flavor starts out with a hefty caramel maltiness and a nice, smoky peated scotch taste that lingers throughout. On the back end of the palate is where you start to see some of that light floral hoppiness and just a hint of spiciness. The aftertaste itself is mainly more of that caramel malts but it’s on the lighter side. Otherwise the finish is surprisingly dry.

Angry Inch has bestowed on us yet another fantastic beer and it’s a great way for me to be reintroduced to the Wee Heavy-style. Like many breweries, this one is available in the taproom for to-go orders only so if you find yourself in the Lakeville area, check this one out; You will not be disappointed!

Angry Inch The Balvinchie – 9/10

Monday, April 6, 2020

Bent Paddle Classic Review


Name: Bent Paddle Classic
Style: Cream Ale
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 18

Wow, if my notes are correct, it’s been over three years since I’ve reviewed any offerings from Bent Paddle. In fact, a lot has changed at Bent Paddle since I last spoke of them here. They’ve moved their taproom a block away to a more spacious location and they’ve released a TON of new offerings that I promise that I will cover one day.

For the time being, I give to you their newest offering: Classic. Yes that is the name of the beer. Described as a “straight forward” and “easy going” beer, it’s a beer made for the crowd that just wants a “beer that tastes like beer,” hence the name.

Appearance – Clear straw yellow color with a lot of visible carbonation. The head takes on a white foamy look and the lacing left behind is plentiful.

Aroma – Lots of barley & pale malts in here with some mild earthiness and light floral hoppiness.

Taste – Pale malts and light floral hops upfront with some barley flavors in the middle. On the back of the palate is where I’m getting some light bitterness and more of that barley. Aside from that, the aftertaste is quite dry.

In an age of Hazy IPAs and complex tasting beers, sometimes having a beer that doesn’t require you to mull over its flavor is just what you need. Plus it helps that it’s a good tasting beer to boot! In short, I like this and if you’re looking for a beer that you can sit back and relax with, than this is the beer for you!

Bent Paddle Classic – 8.5/10

Friday, April 3, 2020

Lagunitas The Waldos' Special Ale Review


Name: Lagunitas The Waldos’ Special Ale
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 10.8%
IBUs: 100

Lagunitas, when was the last time I reviewed anything from you? Well checking my history, it was December 2016 with their Stoopid Wit. However, today’s beer is one that honestly has me at a loss of words but not in the way you might be thinking. I give to you The Waldos’ Special Ale.

With a lot of the beers I review, I always try and do some research on them and I feel like I kind of fell down a rabbit hole with this one. Case in point, here’s the description from the brewery itself:

In 1971, the Waldos met one afternoon at 4:20 in the front courtyard of their school near the statue of Louis Pasteur. They set out in a '66 Impala armed with a "treasure map" on a journey to find a secret garden near Point Reyes. They met there at the same time every day and continued their quest. They never found the secret garden....But they keep lookin'. The dankest and hoppiest beer ever brewed at Lagunitas was made with help of the Waldos for all treasure hunters. Cheers!

Let’s see here, we’ve got a 4:20 reference right off the bat and it’s anyone’s guess what this treasure map to “secret garden” is; Although they do tout it as the dankest beer ever brewed so use your imagination as to what this secret garden. However, my biggest burning question: who or what is a Waldo? Seriously, what is a Waldo, Lagunitas?

Appearance – Slightly cloudy dark golden color with a high amount of visible carbonation. The head has a thin soapy look to it and there’s nothing left behind in terms of lacing

Aroma – Strong citrus & grapefruit sweetness with a potent resiny scent with some notes of apricot & peach. The toffee & caramel malt backbone is also very strong here as well.

Taste – Strong grapefruit and bitter resiny hops start things off on the front of the palate and do they ever make themselves known! In the middle of the palate, that toffee/caramel malt backbone comes into play to keep things from getting too out of control. On the back end of the palate is where those peach & apricot fruitness helps bring things back full circle. The aftertaste consists of a lingering toffee maltiness and light bitter hoppy taste. There’s also a light boozy heat that I can feel after consumption.

Well, it’s certainly a dank tasting beer but it’s also got enough variety in the overall flavor to keep things interesting and there’s nothing wrong with that! As such, that alone makes this a very easy recommendation.

Lagunitas The Waldo’s Special Ale – 9/10

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Central Waters Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout Review


Name: Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.3%
IBUs: 48

Longtime readers of this website know that I’m a huge fan of the bourbon barrel offerings from Central Waters Brewing: The Brewer’s Reserve Series. Although I always refer to it as the Bourbon Barrel series in casual conversation. In fact, when I’m done writing this, I’ll have looked at five of them in the series, yet there are twelve that they’ve made, so I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Regardless, I’m a long time fan of the Brewer’s Reserve series and I’m always looking out for any entries in the series. Which brings us to today’s beer: Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout. Like all entries, this is a bourbon barrel aged Imperial Stout but each barrel has 75 lbs/34kg of the world famous Wisconsin Door County cherries thrown in and then given 12 months to age before finally being bottled for consumption. I’m eager to try this out, so let’s see how this is!

Appearance – Black with a slight dark crimson tinge along the sides of the glass when held to a light. The head is quite thing and takes on a light khaki color, with no lacing left behind.

Aroma – Chocolate malts and roasted malts dominate the nose but tucked away behind that is a nice vanilla, oak and light cherry sweetness.

Taste – Strong chocolate malts and oak flavors take center stage on the front of the palate before giving away to some nice cherry tartness and vanilla sweetness on the back. The aftertaste finishes everything off with a some nice dark chocolate, cherry tartness & light bitter hoppiness

Central Waters has, once again, proven how well they can pull off a proper barrel aged beer. Plus all the flavors mesh together in the palate in such a way where I honestly can’t find anything wrong with this beer. As such, this one is absolutely worth checking out should you see it!

Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Cherry Stout – 10/10

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Blacklist CraHAZY Review


Name: Blacklist CraHAZY
Style: Imperial IPA (Hazy/NE Style)
ABV: 8%
IBUs: 27

Well, it’s been a fairly interesting past couple of weeks for myself given the current events and everything happening at work because of it. However, the dust is settled and we’re not here to talk about that. Instead, I’m going to get back to doing what I love: writing about beer.

Today I’ve got a beer from Blacklist Brewing in the form of their CraHAZY, a hazy IPA infused with cranberries. I actually recall having this last summer during a visit to Duluth and was quite pleased with it. However, since I wouldn’t start writing about craft beer for about three weeks at that time, I was never able to give this one a proper review. With that said, let’s take a look at this one.

Appearance – Pours a hazy dark orange color with a semi soapy head that is about a two finger width. The lacing left behind, however, is quite plentiful.

Aroma – Strong caramel & toffee malts with some nice citrus hoppiness and fairly light cranberry fruitness.

Taste – Strong toffee and caramel malts dominate most of the flavor with some moderate citrus hoppiness in the middle. The back end of the palate is where the cranberry sweetness really shines and, paired with the strong caramel and toffee malt backbone, gives it a very nice finish.

I’d honestly classify this as an English-style IPA based on how malty this beer is but it doesn’t change how much I enjoyed this. As far as I’m concerned, Blacklist knocked it out of the park yet again with this. This is definitely worth having should the opportunity present itself.

Blacklist CraHAZY – 9/10

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Craft Brewing & COVID-19

Hello everyone,

We all know by this point that COVID-19 has impacted our daily lives in some way, shape or form; Regardless of our background. As a writer of craft beer, I feel it is appropriate to address recent current events and how I think this’ll impact the industry going forward.

Never in a million years did I imagine that something like the situation we're in would arise. Yet here I am sitting in my living room at in my jammies writing this all whilst practicing the art of "social distancing."

Earlier this week, by order of the State of Minnesota, all bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries & restaurants are to be shutdown and only implement carryout and curbside delivery for things such as food, growlers & crowlers. From a safety point-of-view, I strongly feel these steps are necessary in order to halt & prevent the spread of COVID-19.

However, not every brewery has the luxury of giving growlers & crowlers to go since current Minnesota State Laws don’t allow production breweries with an output of more than 20,000 barrels per year to sell. I know of a couple breweries that have lost revenue due to the loss of selling growlers & crowlers and now the closure of taprooms will not only impact them but also any other brewery whose main source of revenue is a taproom.

Now at the time or writing this, there are bills in place to remove the cap so larger breweries can go back to selling growlers. However, with the current events happening, there’s talk that the legislative session might be put off in order to mitigate the potential effects of COVID-19.

The point I’m trying to convey is that every brewery, regardless of size, will be impacted and the fallout of what has happened still remains to be seen. My biggest fear is that many smaller breweries that don’t have the luxury of widespread distribution will suffer greatly from this and those working for them will be out of a job. I’m hoping that it doesn’t come to this but the sad reality is that this might indeed happen. As someone who has been writing about craft beer for close to seven years, seeing the events that have unfolded have me at a loss for words.

So, what can you do to help?

As I mentioned earlier, many small breweries are offering curbside pickup for growlers and crowlers, so my advice would be to take advantage of this. Of course, there are some local breweries who are unable to provide this service so you can help by buying some of their offerings at a liquor store.

Obviously this caveat is to be taken with a grain of salt since I do not advise anyone who is feeling ill or at risk of contracting COVID-19 to go out. To repeat what countless health officials have stated: If you feel sick, stay at home!

Now if have decided to stay home for whatever reason, you can still help. Many craft breweries give you the option to purchase a gift card online, so if you do this, you're not only providing some revenue that they so desperately need, but you're also giving yourself a chance to visit a taproom. Think of it as a reward for yourself for flattening the curve, so to speak.

Mark my words, we will make it through this and once we do, we can go back to doing what we love the most. But for right now, hunker down at home, have a pint, and wait for this whole thing to blow over.

As always, thanks for reading. Also, be wash your hands y'all!

- Nick

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Junkyard Bennie's Wearin' Sweats Review



Name: Junkyard Bennies’ Wearin’ Sweats
Style: India Pale Ale (Hazy/NE Style)
ABV: 7%
IBUs: N/A

Junkyard Brewing just keeps pulling me back in. Their first two beers I had from them were some of the best sours I’ve had in a while, so naturally I’m inclined to check out even more offerings from them since they’re batting 2-for-2 in my book.

The beer we’re looking at is called Bennies’ Wearin’ Sweats, a New England-style IPA that comes complete with Pat Benatar look-a-like on the label artwork. This does beg a couple questions: Who’s Bennie? Why does it sound like Benny and the Jets? Will Junkyard release their own branded sweatpants? In any case, let’s check this beer out!

Appearance – Pours a hazy yellow color with a light amount of carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass. The head itself is nice and foamy and there’s a good amount of lacing left behind.

Aroma – Citrus & Kiwi notes mixed in with some pale and caramel maltiness. The kiwi notes in particular are nice and potent.

Taste – Much like the nose, the palate is made up of vibrant citrus hop and kiwi notes, all of which are supported by a pale & caramel malt backbone. The aftertaste consists on a light bitter hoppiness and light kiwi sweetness.

Much like the first two beer I’ve had from Junkyard: Wow! This beer is not only a easy drinking beer but it’s a vibrant, tropical tasting one at that. Like the previous beers I’ve had from Junkyard, this one is very easy to recommend.

Junkyard Bennies’ Wearin’ Sweats – 9/10

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Surly Blond Ambition Review


Name: Surly Blond Ambition
Style: Doppelbock/Doppel Hellerbock
ABV: 9%
IBUs: N/A

One of the things that Surly Brewing  Company has done in my absence is the establishment of their Small Batch Series. They're a series of beers that they are somewhat niche in terms of style and they fetch a higher price tag than their mainline offerings. Also, these beers are brewed at their original brewing facility in Brooklyn Center, MN.

Today we're looking at their Blond Ambition, which is described as a Doppel Hellerbock, although other places classify this as a Doppelbock. According to Surly, this beer was also aged on hickory honeycombs, which is an interesting choice if I do say so myself.

Appearance – Clear golden color with a moderate amount of visible carbonation. The head is thin but on the foamier side and there’s a good amount of lacing left behind along the sides of the glass.

Aroma - Pale and caramel malts with some light floral hoppiness. I’m also picking up on some light woodsy notes in here as well.

Taste – Up front, the aforementioned maltiness is front and center, with that light floral hoppiness keeping things in check. The aftertaste has a light boozy heat to it, but it’s kept in check by that caramel maltiness and light woodsy flavor, which shows up in the end.

This is the first Small Batch Series I’ve had and I’m honestly kicking myself for not getting into the series sooner because this is the Surly that I know and love! Blond Ambition serves as a reminder to myself as to why people love Surly in the first place; Plus it’s been a while since I’ve had a good Doppelbock and this was more than adequate. If you see this, definitely pick this one up!

Surly Blond Ambition – 9/10

Sunday, March 8, 2020

The Brewing Projekt Stolen Mile Review



Name: The Brewing Projekt Stolen Mile
Style: Blonde Ale/Fruit Beer
ABV: 5.2%
IBUs: N/A

Well, I’m diving back into the whimsical world of The Brewing Project (TBP). Today I’ve got their Stolen Mile, which is a blonde ale (though some sources also classify this a fruit beer) made with citrus and…….mint? That’s a very interesting combination to say the least and not the first choice as ingredient pairing is concerned, but I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. Let’s see how this is!

Appearance – Hazy bright yellow color with a light amount of visible carbonation. The head is fairly thin and fades pretty quickly and the lacing along the sides of the glass is quite sparse

Aroma – Citrus notes and pale malts dominate most of the nose. I am also picking up on some light minty notes in here as well and it’s not as powerful as I thought it might be.

Taste – Lemon grass and light citrus on the front of the palate, which is backed up by a solid pale malt backbone. That minty flavor is also quite light and, interestingly enough, adds to the overall citrus profile. The aftertaste is quite dry, save for a light minty and lemon zest.

I’m not 100% sure how TBP managed to pull this off, let alone come up with this idea in the first place, but they did & it works! I was a bit concerned that the addition of mint would negatively affect what is otherwise a bright flavor profile but somehow it had the complete opposite effect. If you’re looking for a twist on what is otherwise a middle-of-the-road style, then I would whole heartedly recommend this!

The Brewing Project Stolen Mile – 8.5/10

Friday, March 6, 2020

Hacker Pschorr Weissebier Review



Name: Hacker Pschorr Weissebier
Style: Hefeweizen
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 16

Twenty years ago, imported beers were a go-to when one wanted to have a beer that wasn’t an adjunct lager. Then a magical thing happened: The Craft Beer scene in the United States exploded. Suddenly the demand for international beer fell to the wayside since freshness, and quality of beer became an important factor in buying beer; In addition to the style. Which is unfortunate because there are some fantastic imports out there.

One of the big things in particular that has also occurred is a paradigm shift, in which many breweries have switched from bottled to canned beer, which has been a game changer of sorts in terms of preserving the quality of beer. Many international brewers, however, still utilize bottles, which many are green in color. I bring this up because green bottles aren’t exactly the best at stopping UV light from hitting the beer, which would give it a skunky quality. That’s why many breweries that still bottle their utilize brown glass bottles because they are the best at stopping UV light.

Enter Hacker Pschorr, who came along, assessed the situation, and decided to put their beers into a sleek looking can, that feels even better to the touch, in order to keep all those UV contaminants out of their beers and give drinkers the quality of beer that they deserve.

Why am I brining this up? Well, the awesome folks at Paulaner USA were nice enough to send me some samples of their Weissebier for me to look at and see how it is. I’ve honestly never had this beer from them before, though I am a big fan of their Salvator Doppelbock since I think it is a textbook example of a Doppelbock.

So it goes without saying that I’m curious to see how this is. And what better way to enjoy this beer than with an actual Hacker Pschorr glass that I managed to snag on Craigslist!

With that said, all opinions are my own.

Appearance – Mildly cloudy dark orange color with a lot of visible carbonation. The head is nice & foamy there’s a ton of lacing left behind along the sides of the glass.

Aroma – I’m picking up on some potent malted wheat and light clove notes. I’m also picking up on some light orange peel sweetness and floral hoppiness.

Taste – Right away, I’m getting some potent malted wheat, clove and orange peel notes. On the back end of the palate, I’m also getting some light floral hops, along with a nice bready yeastiness. The aftertaste is mainly a light floral hoppiness along with just a touch of that orange peel

A lot of imported beers I’ve had in the past have fallen victim to the clutches of either stale taste or skunkiness. That is not the case with this Weisse! It’s crisp, clean and it’s got a very nice flavor profile to boot!

All and all, this is very easy for me to recommend and, after having this, maybe it’s worth my time to check out more imported beers going forward!

Hacker Pschorr Weissebier – 9/10

Thursday, March 5, 2020

What The Heck Was I Up To For 2 Years?

Last year, I decided to start this blog up again after a two year absence. Since then, I’ve been enjoying exploring the world of craft beer and it’s a choice that I’m glad that I made. However, I feel that I owe you readers an explanation as to what I was up to during my absence as well as what exactly inspired me to come back.

Let’s start back in February of 2017. I was in the last months of my MBA and was prepping for what was to happen afterwards. I was also suffering from burnout thanks in part to my job, school & the need to consistently post on my website. Looking back, a lot of the pressure was things that I more-or-less brought upon myself but, at that moment in time, I didn’t take the time to really step back and think about it. So one weekend, I made the choice to start a website dedicated to travel since I really wanted to shift my focus elsewhere as well as pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Hence, The Sheltered Gallivant was born.

Hiking at Zion National Park

At first, the passion I had for writing about travel was burning brightly. The first article I ever did was on Taconite Harbor, a ghost town along Minnesota’s North Shore and doing the research, as well as visiting site itself, was an incredible & rewarding experience. The following month, I made the journey to Zion National Park and drove across the State of Utah by myself and it was an amazing experience and I only branched out from there further. I would make several trips during the time of running The Sheltered Gallivant and I’m thankful and humbled by the experiences.

Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse


To top it all off, I got to meet and connect with some truly amazing people as well as get the opportunity to do collaboration work with several businesses during my tenure.

However, there was a few things that happened while I ran the website that ultimately led me back to Nick’s Beer Blog. It wasn’t just one big thing that occurred but it was a series of events that made me realize that travel blogging, while fun, wasn’t really my cup of tea.

For starters, about a year after I started The Sheltered Gallivant, I was diagnosed with depression after it hit me particularly hard. In truth, I had been dealing with it on-and-off for the past 12 years but I had never actively sought out treatment for it until after having a literal breakdown, with absolutely no rhyme or reason, while I was going into work one morning. When I got the diagnosis, it confirmed what I had long suspected but to actually hear it being said to me was tough. However, it provided me with an answer to what I was feeling and I was able to get treatment for it as a result. Almost two years later, I’m glad I went in when I did.

My writing, as a result, took a hit. I found myself with no motivation to do any kind of writing. So I decided to start networking with other travel bloggers to find an inspiration of sorts, since I deduced that this was the path I needed to take. So that fall, I attended a travel bloggers conference to find that motivation. It was here that I encountered another glaring problem: I couldn’t relate to them.

Well......mostly.

My idea of travel blogging versus their idea of travel blogging were wildly different. I tended to focus on more of the off-beaten path of locales I visited while the other bloggers tended to focus on luxury travel. Now I have no qualms about luxury travel blogging since I find it kind of fun to read about, amusing even. However, that just wasn’t me. That’s not to say that they were bad people, far from it; But in the end, I felt I was an outlier of sorts and I left feeling like I had accomplished nothing. Nevertheless, I pushed forward with my writing.

Working press at the Summer Beer Dabbler (2018)

Which brings me to the next thing: I never left beer blogging. Looking back on my posts that I made on my The Sheltered Gallivant, over half of them involved alcohol, wine or craft beer in some capacity. From a cost perspective in terms of website maintenance, it just didn’t make sense. However, it didn’t hit me until later on (which I’ll get to in a moment.)

When 2019 rolled around, I started hot right out of the gate with articles and posts but by the time April rolled around, I had lost virtually all motivation to do any travel blogging what-so-ever. Any motivation I had to start planning for any type of trip was gone. That, paired with the death of my best friend after his four-year battle with cancer, was the proverbial nail in the coffin for my travel blogging career. I had contemplated giving up writing altogether and I was about to pull the trigger on that decision.

What changed that was a visit to my old stomping grounds in Duluth during a weekend in June 2019.

2019's hottest FPS game at Blacklist Brewing

I spent most of my time taking photos of the North Shore as well as doing some drone photography (Weather Permitting) but spent my evenings at the various taprooms in the Duluth Area and one of them was a regular haunt of mine: Blacklist Brewing. During an axe-throwing session, my buddy, who works at Blacklist  was telling everyone that I was a blogger and used to write about craft beer. As luck would have it, one of the people at the brewery actually knew of Nick’s Beer Blog and even said that they missed my articles.

Also, even though I had not posted on the website for over two years by that point, people were still reading it on a regular basis for their own reference. Plus I did check on the dashboard every once in a great while. Sure, traffic had diminished since I had quit, but people were still reading it.

Ursa Minor's Drunk Gandalf: The beer I was having when I decided to bring back Nick's Beer Blog

The following day, as I was driving out of town, I decided to swing by Ursa Minor Brewing to sample some of their libations before heading back to the Twin Cities. As I sat there drinking their Drunk Gandalf Tripel, I put all the pieces together in my head of what had transpired that year and realized that Nick’s Beer Blog needed to return. I quickly made some notes on my phone as to how go about doing that.

I contemplated building a new website from the ground-up, much like how I did with The Sheltered Gallivant but then I remembered that my website was still there, sitting dormant. A couple weeks later, I made my first post in over two years announcing my return. Eight months later, I know in my heart it was the right choice and I’m just as happy to be back as the day I returned.

With that said, I have no regrets about my two year venture as The Sheltered Gallivant. Through it, I got to meet & work with some truly amazing people and experience places that I never would’ve gone to had I never started the website. So yes, even though it didn’t work out the way I would’ve liked, I wouldn’t take back those two years for anything.

So there you have it. I’m looking forward to all the adventures that await me here and I’m excited to share that journey with you.

As always, thank you for reading!

Monday, March 2, 2020

Junkyard Strawberry Banana Terminal Delight Review


Name: Junkyard Strawberry Banana Terminal Delight
Style: Wild Ale/Fruited Sour
ABV: 7.7%
IBUs: N/A

Well, after thoroughly enjoying their Church Giggles sour, I've decided to seek out another offering from Junkyard Brewing. Thankfully I came across their Strawberry Banana Terminal Delight sour.

Described as a cream soda sour, this is actually part of Junkyard's Terminal Delight series, with this one being the second iteration, if my research is correct. Also much like Church Giggles, this is also made with vanilla.

Appearance - Hazy dark pink/orange color with a mild amount of visible carbonation. The head itself is rather foamy but there's no lacing to be had here.

Aroma - I'm picking up on that strawberry & banana fruitiness right away, along with some pale maltiness and light vanilla sweetness.

Taste - The front of the palate is dominated by banana and vanilla sweetness but it isn't until the end that the strawberry tartness shines through. The aftertaste itself is also rather dry, save for a light vanilla flavor.

Color me impressed I love this!  I'm definitely getting more that cream soda vibe in the flavor than I did in the nose. As such, this beer has inspired me to see got even more offering some Junkyard, it's just that good!

Junkyard Strawberry Banana Terminal Delight - 9/10


Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Brewing Projekt Rawr Review



Name: The Brewing Projekt Rawr
Style: India Pale Ale (Hazy/NE style)
ABV: 7%
IBUs: N/A

So I’ve finally gotten around to reviewing beers from The Brewing Projekt (TBP), a brewery that has really taken off in popularity over the past year. Based out of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the brewery has become the darling of craft beer drinkers in both Wisconsin & Minnesota, especially the self-proclaimed “Haze-heads” since Hazy IPAs are arguably what TBP is best known for.

Which brings us to today’s beer: Rawr, a name that brings back memories using AOL IM as a means for communication & listening to Taking Back Sunday in my dorm on my old Toshiba Satellite laptop that, by today’s standards, looks extremely brickish & clunky. I will say that the name is kind of a missed opportunity. I mean, why not just name it “Rawr XD” and bring it full circle? Heck, even release a variation of the beer and giving it the name Rawr XD would suffice.

Anyways, let’s take a look at the beer.

Appearance – Bright/Dark hazy orange color with no visible carbonation. The head is nice, solid & foamy and there’s a healthy amount of lacing along the sides of the glass.

Aroma – The nose is a mix of grapefruit, citrus hops, orange peel and light kiwi; All backed up by a solid caramel malt backbone.

Taste – It’s pretty similar to the nose. You got that citra/grapefruit sweetness throughout the palate with that light kiwi flavor in the back. On the back end of the palate & aftertaste is more of that linger citrus sweetness and that caramel malt backbone.

I like this one. It’s got a very nice flavor profile and it’s just straight up easy to drink. The price of admission might be a tad steep, but the flavor makes it well worth it!

The Brewing Projekt Rawr – 9/10

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Bell's Bright White Review



Name: Bell’s Bright White
Style: Wheat Beer
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 21

Most of the winter seasonal beers tend to be heavier in style and alcohol content, but Bell’s decided to pull a fast one on us and give us Bright White, which is a Belgian-inspired wheat beer. Now I did some digging and I found out that this beer used to go by a different name: Winter White, which has been around since 2003. When I did some even further digging as to the reason for the name change, the best I could come up with was because Bell’s felt like it. Also, the Bell’s website goes out of its way to inform you that no spices were used in making this beer. In any case, let’s check this one out.

Appearance – A cloudy yellow color with a high amount of visible carbonation. The head is on the soapier side with some good retention and the lacing left behind is rather abundant.

Aroma – Malted wheat and Belgian yeast notes permeate throughout the nose, with a touch of floral hops backing it up.

Taste – Similar to the nose, those malted wheat and Belgian yeast notes dominate the front of the palate, with some bitter & floral hops in the middle. It finishes off with a nice Belgian yeast, banana & clove-like spiciness. In the aftertaste, there’s a linger bitter hoppiness that sticks around for a few moments.

I have to say, I’m impressed that Bell’s was able to pull off the flavor without the use of spices in this beer and stands as a testament to the talent of the crew working there. As a wheat beer, it’s a solid offering from them, but it’s made even more impressive by the fact that they were able to give us such a flavor without having to resort to the typical ingredients of a witbier. It might not be the newest beer on the block, but this still worth your attention, should you get the chance to come across it.

Bell’s Bright White – 8.5/10

Monday, February 24, 2020

Castle Danger Choice Pils Review



Name: Castle Danger Choice Pils
Style: Pilsner
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: N/A

It’s time to look at an offering from Castle Danger that I’ve had over the past year but am only now taking a closer look at it. I give to you Choice Pils from Castle Danger Brewing.

Castle Danger is does a great job of making beers for the segment of the market that doesn’t necessarily prefer craft beer and Choice Pils is intended to be sort of a gateway of sorts into the wonderful world of craft beer. Plus, I’m digging the old fashioned-style label in a nod to the designs from days past.

Appearance – Clear yellow color with a high amount of visible carbonation rising from the bottom of the glass. The head itself is fairly soapy and there’s some light lacing along the sides of the glass.

Aroma – Nice potent pilsner malts on the front of the nose backed up by some nice citrus & bitter hops. I’m also getting some nice biscuit notes in here as well.

Taste – The first thing that pops up is that strong pilsner malt backbone mixed in with some biscuity flavor. The back end up opens up to some mild citrus and floral hoppiness, with the aftertaste finishing off with a mild hoppiness that lingers for a couple seconds. Otherwise, the aftertaste is quite dry.

In addition to having a great flavor profile, this is a nice, sessionable beer that is perfect for pretty much any occasion. It’s a beer that is made for drinking and not thinking about and, quite frankly, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Castle Danger Choice Pils – 8.5/10