Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lucid Dyno Review

Name: Lucid Dyno
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.2%

Lucid Brewing is a newer brewery that opened it's doors here in Minnesota in the past couple of years. What's unique about this brewery is that they share the same space with another newer Minnesota brewery: Badger Hill Brewing, whom I have reviewed a couple of their offerings before.

For my first review from Lucid, I'm going with Dyno, their American Pale Ale style beer.

Dyno pours a hazy orange color with a foamy head. The lacing is quite abundant and possesses some mild carbonation.

The aroma is rather yeasty, with notes of floral hops, caramel and barley.

Taste is fairly identical to the aroma but with more of a resiny taste. Aside from that are floral hops, yeasts, biscuits and mild caramel maltiness. It tastes a lot like another well-known Minnesota beer: Summit Extra Pale Ale.

The palate is moderately weighted and mildly carbonated. It's somewhat crisp but very easy to drink.

They say that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, which holds true in this case because Lucid Dyno is strongly resembles Summit EPA. From the flavor right down to the ABV, it's hard not to draw comparisons between the two. Regardless, it's a solid American Pale Ale that's worth checking out.

Lucid Dyno - 8/10

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Lake Superior Old Man Winter Warmer Review

Name: Lake Superior Old Man Winter Warmer
Style: Barleywine
ABV: 10.3%

Today I received word that we are on track to have the coldest winter on record here in Duluth, as it is already the 2nd coldest on record at the time of writing this. I certainly picked a good year to move here, as my co-workers have told me and I have to agree with them. Oh, and schools around the state have been closed for the second consecutive day in a row. I think school has been closed more times this year then I had during the entire time I was in K-12 schools.

To honor this occasion of cold temperatures that Siberia would consider "too much", I've decided to review a local seasonal beer from Lake Superior Brewing called Old Man Winter Warmer, which is their Barleywine style ale, which clocks in at a healthy 10.3%.

Old Man Winter Warmer pours a black color which gives off a nice crimson hue when held up to a light.  The head retention is decent and the lacing also has some mild retention to it as well.

The nose has a nice aroma of caramel, licorice, vanilla and chocolate. There is an encompassing oak-like characteristic which gives it an almost "bourbon barrel" like quality to it.

The flavor has surprisingly smoky quality to it, which was not present in the nose. Along with that are notes of licorice, chocolate, oak, hops, roasted barley and vanilla. The oak/bourbon characteristic is still pretty much here and it's a very nice touch. The aftertaste is a very chocolate & vanilla finish.

The palate is surprisingly lightweight and the carbonation is also very mild as well. The overall feel of the palate works tremendously with the flavor.

I have to hand to Lake Superior Brewing, this is a very smooth (and not overpowering) tasting barleywine. The best part? It's very affordable and priced about as much as the other selections from Lake Superior. It won't be around for too much longer so pick this up while you can!

Lake Superior Old Man Winter Warmer - 9/10

Monday, January 27, 2014

Keweenaw Pick Axe Review

Name: Keweenaw Pick Axe
Style: Blonde Ale
ABV: 4.7%

I'm doing something a little different for this review because it's from a brewery that is still relatively obscure according to what I have learned. I'm talking about Keweenaw Brewing, a small brewery from Michigan's Upper Peninsula. They're a pretty new sight on store shelves and we here in Duluth have access to their offerings.

For my first offering, I decided to review their Pick Axe Blonde Ale. Based on the other beers offered by Keweenaw, they all come in 12oz cans.

Pick Axe pours yellow color with a slight haze. The head takes on a filmy white appearance and no visible lacing.

The aroma consists of pale malts, barley, floral hops and slight grassiness. It has sort of a Czech-Pilsner quality to it.

Flavor is pretty much the same as the nose but a bit heavier emphasis on the pale malts which take on a light Pils quality. Aside from that, the barley and mild floral hops are present here. Aftertaste is on the drier side with just a hint of barley.

It's pretty lightweight in terms of body and it has some light carbonation as well. It does feel a bit watery but at the same time it's also a very easy to drink beer

Despite it's simplicity, Pick Axe is a very approachable beer and an affordable one at that. It isn't as good as my favorite blonde ale, Fulton Lonely Blonde, but it makes for a sessionable beer and perfect one for any occasion.

Keweenaw Pick Axe - 7.75/10

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New Glarus Raspberry Tart Review

Name: New Glarus Raspberry Tart
Style: Fruit Beer
ABV: 4%

I've been going through an awful lot of New Glarus' fruit beers as of late and for good reason: They are all highly regarded and quite tasty. Tonight I'm looking at one of their other highly regarded fruit beers: Raspberry Tart. As the name suggests, it's brewed with raspberries; Much akin to Belgian Red which is brewed with cherries.

Raspberry Tart pours a fairly clear ruby red color with a fizzy red head and some mild carbonation. As expected, the lacing is pretty much non-existent. It looks like poured a bottle of Belgian Red into my glass.

The aroma is a mix of sweet raspberries, cranberries and some light maltiness. At least I can make out more of a "beery" scent here as opposed to Belgian Red which was pretty much all cherries (Which is by no means a bad thing.)

As for the taste, it's pretty much a sweet raspberry taste with some cranberries and light malty notes. Overall the flavor is pretty identical to the nose. The aftertaste does have a nice fruity

The palate feels pretty light but comes with some moderate carbonation. It's almost like drinking a bottle of sparkling red Moscato.

Much like Belgian Red, it isn't a complex-tasting beer by any stretch of the imagination. It is, however, a robust tasting beer which more than makes up the sum of it's parts. Some won't like the overall fruit-sweetness that Raspberry Tart has to offer but it is a must have for any dedicated fruit beer fanatic.

New Glarus Raspberry Tart - 9/10

Monday, January 20, 2014

Brau Brothers Moo Joos Review

Name: Brau Brothers Moo Joos
Style: Milk/Sweet Stout
ABV: 5.8%

It's time to review another offering from Brau Brothers Brewing Company. I've reviewed a couple of their beers before and enjoyed them quite a bit. Since I am currently homebrewing a milk stout and finished transferring the beer to the carboy for secondary fermentation, I decided I would review their Moo Joos Oatmeal Milk Stout.

Moo Joos pours an opaque black color with a khaki-colored head. The lacing is fairly abundant and the carbonation is very faint which is probably thanks in part to the color of the beer.

The nose has a nice oatmeal scent mixed in with some lactose and sweet chocolate. The floral hops provide a nice foundation along with notes of roasted barley, malt and yeast.

The flavor is very oatmeal and chocolate forward with some malts and a hint of caramel and hops to help even things out.

The palate is on the heavier side and some rather mild carbonation. This gives the the beer a nice creamy texture which compliments the flavor nicely.

All in all, I really enjoyed having this.It's got a great flavor and a nice creamy palate to boot. I would happily recommend this to anyone looking for a good milk stout

Brau Brothers Moo Joos - 9/10

Friday, January 17, 2014

Kona Longboard Island Lager Review

Name: Kona Longboard Island Lager
Style: Pale Lager/Adjunct Lager
ABV: 4.6%

It's time to review another beer from Hawaii's own Kona Brewing Company. Today I'm taking a look at their Longboard Island Lager, which one again shows Kona's effort to make it painfully obvious that this beer was made in Hawaii.

To start out, it pours a pale yellow color with a barely foamy head. The carbonation takes on a more mild appearance and there is no visible lacing either.

The nose consists mainly of pale malts, barley, and cooked corn with a rather grassy aftertouch.

Flavor doesn't differentiate too much from the aroma. I'm getting pale malts, barley, cereal grains and grassiness. The aftertaste is a semi-resiny hop flavor.

The palate has a lighter weight but it comes with some heavy carbonation. It does have sort of a crisp feel to it but only if it's cold

It goes without saying that you should know what you're getting into when you buy this. It isn't as bad as other pale lagers out there but I still wouldn't recommend trying this out unless you get it offered to you for free at a party or get together.

Kona Longboard Island Lager - 5/10

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Bell's Cherry Stout Review

Name: Bell's Cherry Stout
Style: Stout
ABV: 7%

Since we are in the dead of winter, Bell's Brewery has released their winter seasonals and lucky for me I have them in my possession. The first one I'm gonna take a look at is their Cherry Stout. I have had one other cherry stout which was from New Glarus as part of their Thumbprint Series, so let's take a look shall we?

The beer pours a pitch black color with a reddish-brown head and no lacing.

The nose has a nice cherry tartness with some chocolate, licorice, roasted barley & malt notes to round things out. Almost reminds me of a chocolate covered cherry!

The flavor starts out with tart cherries with notes of dark chocolate, roasted barley and floral hops. The aftertaste is quite roasty, perhaps a little too much so.

The palate has a rather thick body and a syrupy texture. The carbonation is mild but it doesn't go particularly well with the overall body.

It's an interesting concept, but the flavor, while not terrible, is too roasty & imbalanced for my liking and the palate doesn't feel right. Needless to say, I wouldn't go out of my way to try it again if there are better options available.

Bell's Cherry Stout - 6.5/10

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Badger Hill Cherry Double Dunkel Review

Name: Badger Hill Cherry Double Dunkel
Style: Dunkelweizen
ABV: 8%

A couple weeks ago, I reviewed a beer from one of Minnesota's newer breweries: Badger Hill Brewing, and found it to be pretty good. I have procured a few more beers from them for examination and the first one I decided to go with is their Cherry Double Dunkel.

Cherry Double Dunkel is part of Badger Hill's Wanderlust Series. This is their second installment with the first being a white IPA which was released around May of last year.

Cherry Double Dunkel pours a very cloudy hazy brownish-red color with a filmy head. There isn't any visible carbonation here due to the cloudy nature of the beer and it leaves a clean finish on the sides of the glass.

The nose has a nice aroma of cherries and caramel malts upfront. In the base of the aroma are some apple, wheat and yeast notes.

The flavor is pretty consistent with the nose but not quite as robust. I'm getting some cherries, caramel, wheat, yeasts and raspberry tartness. The aftertaste is has a mildly tart fruity taste but is otherwise somewhat dry. The palate is fairly light with some mild carbonation.

I have to say that while this was good, the flavor is not quite as vibrant as the aroma leads you to believe when you consider the parts as a whole. If this had a little more flavor, it would be a lot easier to recommend. Still with that said, it manages to be a pretty solid Dunkelweizen

Badger Hill Cherry Double Dunkel - 8/10

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Third Street Brewhouse Three Way Review

Name: Third Street Brewhouse Three Way
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.2%

I picked up a couple more offerings from Third Street Brewhouse a couple of weeks ago. As some of you may know, they are the offshoot of Cold Spring Brewing based out of Cold Springs, Minnesota. Lately they have been releasing a wider selection of beer styles and Three Way Pale Ale is one of their newest entries. For those with a dirty mind, the name Three Way refers to the 3 types of hops used in the beer.

Three Way pours a dark hazy orange color with a semi foamy head. The carbonation is fairly high and it has some good lacing retention.

The nose starts out with a strong lemon zestiness with some bready yeast notes to compliment it. To round it out are some floral & piney hops.

The flavor takes on more of a bready characteristic with floral & citrus hops and pale malts. The aftertaste is mainly floral hoppiness and lemon zest; Almost reminds me of a pilsner.

The palate is fairly moderate in terms of weight and carbonation, as expected, is quite high. These qualities give it a fairly crisp feel.

Three Way likes to call itself for a sessionable ale and I think it does a pretty good job of doing just that. The flavor isn't particularly complex, but it is good enough to the point that I would consider buying it again.

Third Street Brewhouse Three Way - 8/10

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I'm now on Facebook!

It took me a while to finally get around to it, but I have finally joined the rest of the civilized world and created a Facebook page for Nick's Beer Blog. Obviously there is still alot of work which needs to be done but it will be finished in due time.

For right now, head on over to and become a fan today!


- Nick

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Summit Rebellion Stout Review

Name: Summit Rebellion Stout
Style: Foreign Stout
ABV: 8.5%

Last year, Summit Brewing announced they were giving their brand and lineup a redesign overhaul. Amongst those changes aside from the label changes was the introduction of the Union Series, a new lineup of beers that features hops, malts and other ingredients that are new to the craft beer industry.

Their first effort in the Union Series was a Belgian Style Session Ale, which I thought was pretty good all things considered. For their newest entry, they have shifted their focus from light to dark and heavy with their Rebellion Stout, which is classified as a Foreign Stout. The most popular Foreign Stout I know of is Guinness Stout and pretty much every beer drinker knows of Guinness. Another thing to point out is that this is Summit's strongest beer to date in terms of ABV, which clocks in at 8.5%.

Rebellion Stout pours a pitch black color with a brown thin filmy head. There is a mild amount of carbonation visible on the edge of the glass and it leaves behind some decent lacing.

I'm getting a strong aroma of chocolate malts mixed in with some hops. On the back of the nose is also some roasted barley, hints of caramel and light coffee.

The flavor is pretty roasty upfront thanks in part to the chocolate barley but I'm also getting caramel notes and a rather strong resin-hoppy taste in here too. The aftertaste is mainly coffee and hints of dark chocolate, so it's a rather roasty stout.

As expected, the body has some considerable weight behind it and also some moderate carbonation as well. Normally this wouldn't be a big sticking point but I can't help but feel the carbonation should be more subdued than it is when you consider the flavor and style. Call me picky but I found this to be a lot smoother on tap than in a bottle.

Despite my criticisms, this is an excellent beer that you should try out especially if you can get it on draft. Even if you get it in a bottle, I would still highly recommend checking this out.

Summit Rebellion Stout - 8.5/10

Friday, January 10, 2014

Schell's Snowstorm (2013 Edition) Review

Name: Schell's Snowstorm (2013 Edition)
Style: Belgian Ale
ABV: 7%

During the late months of the year, August Schell Brewing Company releases their annual Snowstorm beer and what's unique about this beer is that it's a different style each year. Back in 2011 it was a Scotch Ale, in 2012 a Biere de Garde and now this year it's a Golden Belgian-Style Ale.

Snowstorm (2013) pours a clear golden yellow color with a fizzy head which is quick to fade away. There is no lacing to be seen here and amount of carbonation is fairly high.

The aroma has a strong clove scent to it along with some pepper, spices, yeasts, bubblegum and pale malt notes.

The taste is a bit maltier with some bubblegum, yeasts, cloves, pale malts and a mild caramel sweetness.

The palate is moderately weighted with some stronger carbonation. It's kind of crisp but this would be better if the carbonation was more subdued.

Even though the 2011 edition of Snowstorm is still my favorite, this is still pretty good and a solid Belgian-Style Golden ale overall. I would say this is worth picking up a sixer because even if it isn't perfect, it's still a great winter seasonal!

Schell's Snowstorm (2013 Edition) - 8.5/10

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Rush River Double Bubble Review

Name: Rush River Double Bubble
Style: Imperial IPA
ABV: 9%

While in college, Rush River Brewing Company was amongst many of the breweries that I had tried out when I first got into craft beer. Based out of River Falls, Wisconsin; They do alot of business in both Wisconsin and the Western part of Minnesota. I decided to review their Double Bubble Imperial IPA as a first from this brewery. An interesting fact about this beer is that it's brewed with honey.

Double Bubble pours hazy orange color with a filmy head. It's got some good lacing retention and moderate carbonation.

The aroma has a nice honey scent with some citrus & floral hops, grapefruits and pale malts. The honey scent is particular is a nice touch.

The flavor is very citrus hop forward with some toffee notes and piney hops. The aftertaste is where the honey is most noticeable along with bitter resiny notes. The palate has a very heavy feel to it which is paired with some mild carbonation.

Overall, it's a solid Imperial IPA with an interesting twist. I would definitely recommed this to any seasoned IPA fan or somebody looking for a slighty different IPA.

Rush River Double Bubble - 8.5/10

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Deschutes The Abyss Review

Name: Deschutes The Abyss
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 11%

Around the end of each year, Deschutes Brewing releases their highly sought after Russian Imperial Stout simply known as "The Abyss,” and yes the ”The” is part of the name. Earlier I reviewed Black Butte XXV Imperial Porter,which is also from Deschutes and their only other notable stronger beer. So it will be interesting to see how this turns out.

The Abyss pours a pitch black color with a relatively thin brown head and decent lacing. The visible carbonation is also fairly mild.

Chocolate & vanilla are fairly prominent in the nose. There is also some notes of bourbon, oak, molasses and licorice.

Likewise, the flavor is also fairly chocolate and vanilla with a more pronouced oak & bourbon flavor, along with a more roasted barley profile. The aftertaste is mainly chocolate malts and licorice.

The body is quite heavy and thick which is paired with mild carbonation. The palate as whole feels very creamy!

This was a very tasty Imperial Stout and a reasobably priced one at that! I know bottles of this beer are in fairly high demand so grab a bottle if you see this.

Deschutes The Abyss - 9.25/10

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Southern Tier 2X Steam Review

Name: Southern Tier 2X Steam
Style: California Common
ABV: 8.0%

I have to say that I've never encountered a California Common-style quite like Southern Tier's 2X Steam. Why is that, you ask? Because much like Leinenkugel's Uber-Oktoberfest, it's stronger interpretation of a beer style that is generally lower in terms of ABV level.

Much like the Big Eddy series, the 2X line-up consists of stronger offerings by Southern Tier. Needless to say I've never had an ”Imperial California Common” before so this will be interesting to try out.

2X Steam pours a darker orange color with a slight haze. The head has a thin, soapy appearance with some decent lacing. There is also no visible carbontion activity.

The aroma has very bready and yeasty characteristics up front, which isn't too surprising. I'm also getting some mild floral hop, roasted barley and pale malt notes in here as well

The flavor also doesn't deviate from the nose except for one key difference: The booziness. The booziness in the flavor is strong enough to the point where it tastes like rubbing alcohol! This to me, totally offsets any other flavors present.

The body is very light weight and with no carbonation, so it's a pretty easy to drink...provided that you don't take the flavor into consideration.

If you haven't already figured it out yet, I'm not really a fan of this beer. It's too boozy for it's own good and is probably my least favorite beer from Southern Tier. I love the brewery but I don't like this beer.

Southern Tier 2X Steam - 4/10

Monday, January 6, 2014

Badger Hill Minnesota Special Bitter Review

Name: Badger Hill Minnesota Special Bitter
Style: Extra Special Bitter (ESB)
ABV: 5.7%

A couple years ago, a new brewery called Badger Hill Brewing opened it's doors in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The name of the brewery is from the names of the two brothers, who founded the brewery, translated into Old English. Currently they share their building and equipment with another brewery which is also fairly new: Lucid Brewing (Keep an eye out for a review from them in the near future.)

Today I'm having their Minnesota Special Bitter (or MSB), an ESB style ale which is one of their most popular beers. To my knowledge, it's also one of the first beers which they released.

MSB pours a darker orange color with a slight haze. The head is very thin and has more of a creamy appearance to it. Also in case you were wondering, I took a couple sips before taking the photo so that's why there isn't any foam present in the photo above.

The aroma has some mild floral hops and biscuit notes. There is also a slight malty and marmalade sweetness in here as well. Nothing too out of the ordinary here.

The flavor is what you’d expect of an ESB with yeasts, malts, and light orange/marmalade sweetness. However, there is a surprisingly strong floral hop presence here along with a bitter resiny aftertaste.

Compared to other ESBs, it's got a heavier weighted body along with some with some mild carbonation. It has a somewhat creamy feel which helps out tremendously with the drinkability.

I thought this was pretty good; It's got a nice balanced flavor with some good hoppiness to boot without being too overwhelming. All and all, MSB is a solid offering from Badger Hill and I can't wait to try out more beers from these guys.

Badger Hill Minnesota Special Bitter - 8.25/10

Deschutes Hop Trip Review

Name: Deschutes Hop Trip
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.5%

You know the old phrase "If you love it so much, why don't you merry it?" Well I might as well be asking Deschutes Brewing this very question because in the past 7 months I have reviewed two other fresh hop beers from them: Fresh-Squeezed IPA and Chasin' Freshies. What I have here now is the trifecta of fresh hop beers from Deschutes: Hop Trip. Unlike the previous fresh hop beers, both of which were IPAs, this beer is an American Pale Ale.

Hop Trip pours a hazy orange color with a foamy head. The lacing is quite abundant and the carbonation has a mild appearance.

Citrus hops and grassiness are quite prevalent in the aroma upfront, with some lemon zest and mild toffee notes. I'm also getting hints of yeast in here as well.

The flavor takes on more of a piney hop characteristic and putting the citrus hops more in the background. Just like in the nose, the lemon and toffee-malt notes are still present here. There is also a bitter resin quality which makes up the aftertaste.

The body is quite heavy along with some stronger-than-normal carbonation. It's a little harsher on the palate than desired but nothing that isn't manageable.

Out of all of the fresh hop offerings from Deschutes, this one is the runt of the litter. It's got a good taste and you're making a bad choice by trying this out, but it lacks the vibrancy & complexity of it's counterparts.

Deschutes Hop Trip - 7.5/10

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goose Island Pere Jacques Review

Name: Goose Island Pere Jacques
Style: Dubbel
ABV: 8.7%

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope you all had some fun last night and stayed out of trouble; If so, you are already off to a great start. To kick off a brand new year, we're going to review another beer from Keyport's Growler fill station: Goose Island Pere Jacques.

I have been looking for different ways to review beer because it's mainly been cans and bottles. So you could say my New Year's resolution is to review more growler-based beer and that's a resolution we can all get behind.

Pere Jacques pours a ruby orange color with a very fizzy brown head, and no lacing. The carbonation also has a very mild appearance.

The nose has some licorice notes with hints of caramel malts, plums/dark fruits, orange peel, citrus hops and toffee. Pretty malty smelling as far as Dubbels go.

The flavor is a bit more citrus focused than the aroma. I'm getting citrus hops, plums, licorice, and caramel. It's worth pointing out that it doesn't taste as robust as the nose leads you to believe.

It's got a pretty heavy body paired with some lightly carbonation. It doesn't quite give it a creamy feel but it's fairly easy to drink.

While it gives a great first impression and despite having a decent taste, the flavor leaves something more to be desired. I feel that with a bit more robust flavor, this would be a fantastic Dubbel.

Goose Island Pere Jacques - 7.5/10