Wednesday, May 12, 2021

A Visit to Tanzenwald Brewing


Back when I was still running my travel blog. The Sheltered Gallivant, in the summer of 2018, I decided to focus my efforts mainly towards covering the various craft breweries and distilleries that I found myself at. That should’ve been a sign that I should’ve returned to the world of craft brewing but that’s another story altogether; One that I actually talked about at great length about a year ago.

Anyways, one of the breweries I visited was a place called Tanzenwald Brewing in Northfield, MN. My first time there, I found myself enjoying the atmosphere, beer, food and various homages to Northfield. In fact, when I did my initial piece on it, I talked about at great length as to how much I enjoyed the brewery. Well the travel blog is no more and it’s been 3 years since I last visited Tanzenwald, so I figured it was time to go back and check them out; This time as a beer blogger.

Located along Water Street and nestled in between an auto body shop and a Holiday Gas Station, Tanzenwald is the brain child of Jenaveve and Steve Pittman, a former brewer of Lagunitas Brewing. Having first opened their doors in 2017, they’ve been providing libations for the thirsty patrons of Northfield as well as those who happen to be passing through ever since. They also offer a full menu and a kitchen for those who wish to grab a bit to eat while sipping on beer.


Housed in what used to be an old creamery, the brewery itself oozes with rustic charm and it’s evidenced by the d├ęcor as well as the overall atmosphere. In other words, pretty much the same place I first visited the first time around. It was mid-afternoon and it wasn’t terribly busy, so my wife and I came at the right time.


Anyways, let’s talk about beer. While some of their selection were definitely ones that I saw before, they’ve added quite the variety to their lineup. Amongst this: Sours! So I decided to try out a variety of styles just to get an overall feel for what Tanzenwald has been up to since I last visited them 3 years ago.

Rio de Oro – A pineapple atole sour made with corn, cinnamon & lactose. This is an easy drinking sour with nice pineapple and vanilla notes with a hint of cinnamon spiciness and a nice tart finish. An overall delectable sour that paired wonderfully with the nice and sunny day.


Life on Mars? – A sour made with berries and aged on oak. Having been impressed with Rio de Oro, I decided to try out their other sour offering: Life on Mars? This has a nice raspberry flavor with a pronounced oakiness to it, with a nice tart finish and a slight funk. Tanzenwald definitely has their sour game where it should be based on their offerings.



Captain Amore – A Salted Grapefruit IPA. This one honestly surprised me for a couple reasons. One, it’s got a very light body for a beer that is 6.1% ABV. Two, the grapefruit flavor here is quite profound. Most grapefruit IPAs I’ve had are grapefruit plus citrus/piney hops but this isn’t the case here. It’s all grapefruit throughout the palate with a slightly bitter hop and pale malt finish. There are beers out there that some refer to as “Dangerously Crushable” and I think that this beer is a textbook example of that. That said, I enjoyed this beer a lot!

Gottlieb – A Bavarian Style Pilsner. This has a nice and light body with a solid pilsner malt base with a touch of floral hops and lemongrass. Another overall drinkable beer that I could see myself drinking on any given occasion.


A much deserved award!

All and all, the beers from Tanzenwald have definitely improved over the past 3 years and that’s evidenced by both their quality and styles in which they offer. I’ll certainly be on the lookout for more offerings from them in the future and you should be too, if you do happen to find yourself in the area! 


They can be found at:

103 Hwy 3 North

Northfield, MN 55057


 

Sunday, April 11, 2021

A visit to Pryes Brewing

I recall about 5 years ago when I was at The Nook in St. Paul, I had miraculum from pryes brewing on tap.  By that point I had seen this beer on tap at many watering holes but I had never seen anything else from the brewery itself aside from this one beer. Me being the inquisitive individual i am, I made a remark on Untappd/Twitter asking if this was indeed the only beer that pryes brewing had made.  Much to my surprise, they replied that indeed it was and that they were working on perfecting Miraculum before moving onto the next one.

Fair enough!

Well almost five years later, they have opened up a swanky taproom in Minneapolis on West River Road overlooking the Mississippi River and the number of beers they make instead of just one has increased to.....a lot. From their flagship Miraculum IPA, to more varied styles like Sours & Pastry Imperial Stouts.

Coming off of my recent vaccination and having been stuck at home for the past year, I figured now is a perfect time to start visiting tap rooms again and to commerate this, I visited Pryes Brewing on Easter Sunday; Mask in hand of course!


Now when I was there, all of the seating was outdoors but from what I saw inside, it's a fairly large space with tables and such and the fixtures were a mix of rustic I'm not sure if this is due to city ordinance but it this is not one of those days where one sits inside. This was 70 degree patio weather, and at the start of April in Minnesota nonetheless. Usually at this time of the year, we're contending with 30-40 degree weather and the occasional blizzard that Old Man Winter likes to dump on us one last time as a reminder that it's an ever lingering presence in our fine state.

But enough about the weather, we’re here to talk beer! Followers of my Instagram account will know that I’ve taken quite a liking to Pryes’ offerings, in lieu of my regular beer reviews that I used to write extensively about before switching up the format. That said, I tried out a few of their offerings and here is what I have to say about them:

 


Outside The Grid – A Pastry Imperial Stout made with Stroopwafel. This delectable beer sports a nice and roasty dark chocolate malt flavor with a very nice caramel and brown sugar sweetness with just a hint of honey and a light hoppy finish. Overall, a delicious desert beer that I could see myself pairing with a stroopwafel or a slice of tiramisu. Haven’t seen this in cans yet but you bet I’d grab this if I saw this in stores!


Stratacaster – A New England/Hazy style IPA. In this day and age, most breweries have their own interpretation of a Hazy IPA and Pryes is no exception to this rule. Made with, what else, Strata Hops; This bundle of goodness comes loaded with citrus and melon flavors with just a touch of cantaloupe. It’s a fine beer and I can’t find anything wrong with it. Shame it’s a limited release because this would be a hit if it were in cans (assuming it already isn’t)!


Lost Moon (2021) – Rounding my visit off, I decided to once again embrace the darkness again with their annual Imperial Stout release. Nice & rich chocolate malt and toffee sweetness here, with an ever so slight coffee roastiness. According to what I read, it’s supposed to be inspired by Belgian Candy. I’m not sure what that means but I’d be lying if I said that this wasn’t a tasty beer; Far from it. It’s not overly roasty and the toffee aspect here does the flavor justice.


Before visiting Pryes Brewing, my opinion of them was already quite high but it's even more-so now after paying a visit. The beer selection is great, the taproom and space itself are nice and the food served is also top notch; Like the Spicy BBQ Pizza pictured above. So if you find yourself in Minneapolis and are looking for good food and beer, Pryes Brewing is where you need to be at!

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/nick.drinks.mn

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!