Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lakefront Big Easy Imperial Maibock Review

Name: Lakefront Big Easy Imperial Maibock
Style: Maibock
ABV: 7.6%

After being in absentia for a few days, I feel it's time to get back to doing reviews. It's been a long time since I have reviewed anything from Lakefront Brewery. In fact, now that I mention it, the last time I reviewed anything from Lakefront was from back in July of 2013; Where does the time go?

Anyways, tonight I have Lakefront's Big Easy Imperial Maibock. While looking it up, I found out that it is sometimes referred to as "Big Easy Lager" and the ABV is listed from 6% all the way up to 7.1% (per RateBeer and BeerAdvocate respectively). However, Lakefront's website lists it at 7.6%, which is what I will be going with.

Big Easy pours a hazy orange color with a thin white head. The visible carbonation is very mild in appearance and I'm not getting any lacing along the sides of the glass. Doesn't look too lager-y from my point of view.

The nose starts out with a solid malty base with notes of caramel, sweet honey and light floral hops.

The flavor also isn't too different from the aroma, consisting mainly of caramel, sweet honey and light floral hops. All of which are backed up by a solid malty backbone.

The overall palate is moderately weighted and lightly carbonated, making this a pretty easy-to-drink and refreshing beer.

All and all, this is a solid Maibock-style beer. It doesn't do anything terribly different as far as Maibocks are concerned but I've certainly much worse than this. I'd say this one is worth checking out at the very least if you get the chance to do so.

Lakefront Big Easy Imperial Maibock - 8/10

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Interview with Dave Grandmaison: CEO & Co-Founder of The Duluth Experience

The Duluth Experience is the organization behind the North Shore Craft Beer Roundtable, which I have been writing extensively about recently. However, the main focus of The Duluth Experience is offering tours of the many breweries and brewpubs in that dot the Duluth-Superior/NE Minnesota area.

Last week, I had a chance to sit down with Dave Grandmaison, CEO & Co-Founder of The Duluth Experience to share his thoughts about the origins of The Duluth Experience & it's role in promoting North Shore-based beer, as well as what the future holds for the Duluth craft beer scene.

So Dave, tell me a bit about yourself. What is your background?

Well first and foremost, I'm a Duluthian; Born and raised. I'm actually a 4th generation Duluthian as far as I can tell. I've not lived in Duluth my whole life but I recently returned to Duluth about 2 years ago. Luckily found a job up here that brought me back to Duluth and shortly there after, I got together with my cousin and started The Duluth Experience with a couple other guys.

My education is in Biology. I'm a trained wildlife biologist, so that's currently my day job. I work for the agency doing wildlife monitoring and wildlife analysis and I moonlight on the side running a brewery tour business.

What inspired you to start The Duluth Experience? What gave you that spark that made you say "We should start this business?"

Actually, my cousin sort of came up with the idea and it happened probably about a year before I returned to Minnesota at the end of 2012. He had been kind of watching these breweries open up around Duluth then was thinking "Wow, why isn't someone connecting the brewery scene and taking these beer consumers and craft beer appreciators to the different breweries?" He was tied up in some other side businesses while bartending at Fitger's Brewhouse and really didn't have a chance to do it. When I moved back to Duluth, he told me about the idea and we got together with two other guys that had been involved with discussions and we just decided that there was no reason why we shouldn't give it a try.

You look around the United States and there are brewery tour companies springing up all over the place and kind of following the wave of expansion of the craft beer scene. I was actually kind of surprised there wasn't anybody in Duluth running brewery tours. There's a couple breweries in town that actually do their own tours but nobody was really tying them all together, no one was telling the stories about Duluth with it's brewing history and the history of Duluth in general; It's a very interesting place. So we bought a bus and decided that we would be the guys to tell that story.

What was it like at the beginning when you first started The Duluth Experience? 

Well it was chaos because we had a really good idea from our prospective. We had four, very enthusiastic team members and we didn't really know how to get started so we started doing a lot of research on other brewery tour companies, on the tour industry of Duluth and we started gathering information & compiling information. We really got serious after our first meeting, we started having specific agendas for our weekly meetings every Sunday. We'd have an agenda, we'd take up minutes and write down what we discussed, we'd walk away with action items that we had to accomplish by the next meeting so we had a flurry of "Here are our big action items, let's get them all done." So we were working really hard to sort of pull a lot of information together to write a business plan.

Simple things that really not that simple: Insurance, getting loans, and figuring out the legal framework for driving a bus with passengers and there are all these things we had to learn on the fly. We asked alot of questions and met with alot of people to get that information but it was chaotic at first and then we started to get into our groove and we kind of got into our stride and things started to come together. So we did our first business meeting in February of 2013 and we incorporated in the beginning of March as The Duluth Experience LLC and then in May we bought our bus. By the middle of June, we were doing practice tours and then in Mid-July we launched our first brewery tours.

And were there any other challenges associated with running The Duluth Experience once it was up and running?

Oh yeah, there's always challenges with continuously looking to refine and improve your systems. I mean, we're a very new company, we've been around for around a year and a half and only been operating tours for not even a year yet so we are learning as we go and of course we do as much as planning ahead of time and try to anticipate things that we are going to need to do but there's always the "Unknown" unknown that you don't see coming. We are always trying to improve our system and improve our efficiency and improve the tour content and improve our delivery of the information to our guests. We're looking at developing a whole new line of tour products so there is alot of challenges associated with that; There's definitely no lack of challenges to attack and to hopefully, at the end of the day, overcome.

Since starting The Duluth Experience, what changes have you seen in the Duluth Beer Scene in general? 

That's a good question. You know, one of the big striking changes that I've seen in our short history so far is that there's been substantial expansion of the craft beer scene in the Twin Ports and on the North Shore. Even within the last year, we've seen Bent Paddle open their doors; They've gone through 2 expansions already...Or they've gone through one expansion at least and are looking to for a second expansion. You've got Thirsty Pagan that has expanded to a 7 barrel system, which is a substantial increase in their production capacity. Canal Park Brewing open their doors just before we incorporated and got started. Well then of course you know that Castle Danger Brewing is building a huge brewery right now in Two Harbors so it's a very exciting time to be a beer drinker.

There's alot of really good beer and you can tell that the industry is doing well because there is this expansion in the brewing capacity; I hope to see that continue. Some of the other breweries are going to expand and invest in their systems....but yeah, I think that is probably the biggest thing I have noticed is that it's rapidly expanding and that's really exciting. I think that is probably the biggest thing that comes to mind right now....and it's a great time to be a beer drinker; that's for sure.

Do you see The Duluth Experience playing a bigger role in sort of the....expansion of the craft beer scene here in Duluth? Or a bigger role overall one day?

I would like to see us do as much as we can to promote the craft beer scene in this region. Certainly we love craft beer. We have personal relationships with the local breweries; We want to see them be successful. We want to really be....right now I really see us a cheerleaders and promoters of the excitement surrounding craft beer and we recently launched this Craft Beer Roundtable series which you've been to both of the events we've had so far and those have been really fun, they focus on different aspects of the North Shore Craft Beer Scene and we're releasing video so that hopefully people outside of Duluth will be able to see the content that was developed in those conversations and really it has been extremely exciting for me.

I remember walking into the first craft beer roundtable after being out in the hallway selling tickets and getting people beers. I walked about 10 minutes into the event and I could not believe my ears and my eyes; It was amazing that we had helped facilitate this really interesting conversation between these brewery owners and then last weekend we had a group of master brewers that got together and talked about new trends in brewing and the challenges of working in the craft beer scene and the opportunities. I see us continuing to promote the craft beer scene.

I see us adding additional aspects to our brewery tours. We will be including some stops in our tours that aren't necessarily breweries but are.....we're working with Harbor Hops to going to the hop farm on one of our tours and that's really exciting. We goto the Vikre Distillery, so we're sort of....we're into the brewery tours but we're also....diversifying but looking at related businesses that are tourist attractions in terms of people wanting to learn more. You know for us, a tourist is somebody who appreciates craft beer and wants to learn more about it and why there is so much excitement going on. So I like to call them "Brewery Tourists." I think we'll expand the diversity of where we go and I'm sure we'll come up with other crazy ideas that will revolve around beer because we like beer so much.

On the topic of the North Shore Craft Beer Roundtable, did you anticipate that it would get as much coverage as it has been getting? 

Every time that I see people arriving to go and sit down and to listen to these conversations, I get really, really excited. I thought initially that when we came up with the idea, it would be pretty popular. I figured that there was enough excitement in the Twin Ports among locals because I think it's primarily locals that are attending the events and I felt pretty strongly that it would be a great turnout for the events...but yeah, I get super excited; Like at the time it happened, I can't believe what's happening. The first time I saw the TV press show up from the local television stations, I just couldn't believe it..it was awesome! It also takes alot of hard work to do that.

I spend alot of time before each one of those events contacting the press and spreading the word and working with folks like yourself and other bloggers and people on Twitter, Facebook, our affiliates, the breweries. Trying to get the word out to as broad an audience as possible, sending press releases to the newspaper and to the newspapers down in the Twin Cities and The Growler. So it takes alot of work but it's really exciting. It's a long answer to your question but initially yes, the reason we did this is because we were like "There is going to be alot of people interested in this." Even though we kind of anticipated, it's really exciting to see that. It's really encouraging and it's fun...it's super fun!

Where do you see the Twin Ports brewing scene 5-10 years down the road?

I see Duluth as a bright shining beacon of the best beer in the Midwest. We're got Lake Superior which is a huge resource of very clean, beautiful, delicious water. As long as we continue to take advantage of that resource in the beer-making, you're going to see a quality of beer coming out of Duluth increasing and it's kind of setting the bar for brewing. I don't know of anywhere that has the water that we have. I mean, I'm sure there are places that have great water but Duluth's is an amazing water resource! Just on that alone, you know water is 95% of beer and you can't get around the fact you need good water.

I think the Twin Ports/ North Shore craft beer scene will expand, I think there will be more breweries. I think there will be more production breweries and then exporting beer from this area. I really don't have a whole lot to base it off of other than the fact that the water resource is hugely important for the beer making and that alone should support the foundation for major brewing industry in this town.

....And would you say the water is what makes Duluth unique for brewing?

Yeah, I think so. The quality of our water is the big driver but then you got all these really interesting people that are crafting the beer and we've got some great brewers that are winning awards. That's the main thing too, we're lucky to have the caliber of brewers that we do in this town and having good brewers helps to spur some friendly competition to make better and better beer and I think it's great for the consumer.

What is your favorite style of beer?

Right now, I'm drinking a lot of rye-based beers and I like a nice proportion of rye in the grain bill. There's not a whole lot of Duluth breweries that make ryes so to the brewers out there: Let's make some rye beers. So yeah, Ryes and I like...I sort of gotten more into session beers whereas I used to be a bit into the bigger body, heavier alcohol beers. In fact, I brewed this winter a couple of Russian Imperial Stouts that turned out pretty good for an amatuer but they were warm. Hopefully if spring here arrives sometime soon and then more of the lighter, session beers. I love rye beers, I like sipping on sours when I can. I've never made a sour but there are some breweries in town that have some good sours or happen to be making some good sours.

You know, my favorite style of beer is local to be quite honest. Most of the time when I go into a place unless I know there's going to be something with rye, which nobody is brewing yet. Normally, I just usually order what catches my fancy that's local to be honest. Like right now, I'm having the Oatmeal Stout from Lake Superior (Brewing) and it's delicious. And that't the fun part about living in Duluth right now, you don't even need to drink imported beer, you can just drink local beer and there is a lot of different styles.

I think Minnesota is lucky to have such great beers!

You know, I lived in Arizona for 8 years and I've been a craft beer lover for a long time since '97 when I first started homebrewing and down in Arizona, you have Four Peaks Brewing Company and they make pretty good beer but it's just not the same as up here. I really believe it's the water, I really do. I believe the water is so much better.

One final question, let's just say I'm beer tourist and I want to come to Duluth. What is one thing that I should know before coming to Duluth when I'm coming to try out beer? Why should I come?

Duluth is a very welcoming city. It's very, very easy to visit a number of craft breweries on-foot, using a cab, using The Duluth Experience tour bus. I mean you can get around Duluth very easily. You can park your car and not have to get back in it what I'm saying. You can go and have a good time: Canal Park, Downtown Duluth, even the breweries that are on the west side of town, I mean it's not that big of a stretch to get out there and hit the taprooms, so it's pretty convenient. The actual answer is that Duluth is a very convenient city to drink in for craft beer and it's good beer! People should come here and drink more beer.


A big Thank You to Dave Grandmaison for braving the weather to sit down with me at Sir Benedict's to talk with me about the his business and the North Shore Craft Beer Scene.

For more information about The Duluth Experience, you can visit their website at www.theduluthexperience.com 

You can also follow them on:

Twitter - https://twitter.com/TheDuluthExp

Facebook -  https://www.facebook.com/TheDuluthExperience

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Summit Frost Line Rye Review

Name: Summit Frost Line Rye
Style: Rye Beer
ABV: 5.8%

Even though the cold unforgiving months of winter are (mostly) behind us, I've been meaning to review the latest seasonal addition to the Summit Brewing lineup. Announced earlier this year, Frost Line Rye is Summit's newest winter seasonal beer, which is a rye beer; Not too surprising since it's given away in the name.

I do think, however, that it's an interesting style of beer to go along with since I consider rye beers as whole to be somewhat of a niché style of beer. However, let's take a look before I decide to pass judgement.

Frost Line Rye pours a dark red color with a thin khaki colored head. The visible carbonation is relatively mild and the lacing left behind is actually quite good

The aroma has a fairly solid spicy rye and roasted barley profile upfront. Backing that up are some yeasty notes and some surprisingly strong citrus hops which linger on in the nose throughout.

Initially the taste comes off as a bit too heavily focused on the rye profile. However, if you let it warm up just a bit, you're going to find that the citrus hops, yeasts, spiciness and roasted barley flavors really start to shine through and it really gives some much needed balance to the overall flavor; Particularly the citra-hop profile.

The palate is very light bodied and the carbonation comes off as fairly moderate. Depending on what temperature you have the beer, it can be a blessing or a curse.

At first, I found this to be a very imbalanced beer due to the colder temperature. However if you let it warm up for a little bit, you're going to find yourself with a surprisingly well-balanced and flavorful ale. Since this is a rye beer, not everyone is going to fall in love with this, but for what it is, I found this to be quite enjoyable.

Summit Frost Line Rye - 8.5/10

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Duluth Experience Craft Beer Roundtable - Crafting the North Shore Craft Beer Scene

Last week, I attended the second event of the Craft Beer Roundtable hosted by The Duluth Experience. The Craft Beer Roundtable focuses on the vibrant craft brewing scene in Northeastern Minnesota and the surrounding area.

While the last event focused on the people who owned the breweries, this event featured the brewmasters from each of their respective breweries:

The event kicked off with a bit of a Q & A about what was the draw that brought these individuals to the area. Amongst the responses were the long history of brewing that the area is known for, the open-minded, receptive audience, location and most importantly: The water.

Perhaps one question that I thought is important to those who wish to become brewers themselves was what can one do to get into brewing. The big answers were to educate oneself, do homebrew yourself or even just volunteering at a local brewery by getting your foot in the door and getting to know the brewers as well. One thing that did stick out for me as a question pitched by Canal Park Brewmaster Jeremy King: Do you even want to brew? It may seem like a silly question to ask but a lot of people don't know that being brewmaster is actually very hard work.

Another question which was asked was regarding upcoming trends. Amongst the trends discussed were the growing demand for barrel-aged beers and the potential market for companies that provide barrels to breweries. Another one that was agreed upon are the rise in Sessionable Ales, Sour/Wild Ales, and collaboration ales.  A couple of interesting ideas provided by Fitger's Brewmaster Dave Hoops included Hybrid Beers (American/Belgian Styles) and what the brewers are drinking in general.

When it came to talking about the challenges about being a small brewery, marketing seemed to be the primary one as well as brand recognition. Some other challenges included navigating Minnesota State liquor & distribution laws as well as the lack of market access for certain breweries.

This led to the next topic regarding social media and the general consensus was that it's not only good for small business and helps keep people updated but it's also free in many instances. During that topic, Dave Hoops even brought up how their marketing department utilizes text messaging to keep people updated.

As the forum started to wrap up, the topic of females in the craft brewing industry was brought up. It was agreed that women should have a bigger role in the craft brewing industry; After all, they do make up about 30% of overall craft beer sales. A point was even brought up that women used to play a crucial role in brewing; For example from the early days of Sumerian culture all the way up until the end of the 18th Century. I personally have to agree and I've pointed out before that I think women are painfully underrepresented in the craft brewing industry.

Like the first event, I found this one to be extremely informative and I noticed a much higher turnout this time around than the previous event. Not to mention too that there was considerably more media attention at this event compared to the last one. I also had the opportunity to have a pint with Ed & Liz Gleason of Carmody's afterwards, who helped give my fiancé her first ever craft beer; Thanks guys!

If you weren't able to make it before, now is the time to do so as there are still 2 events left in the Craft Beer Roundtable event:

May 18th: “Riding the Wave of Beer” – Craft Beer Related Business
Moderated by: James Sanders – The Duluth Experience

• Marissa Sauer – Northlandbeer.com
• Paul Riordan – Brule River Hill Top Hops
• Brad Nelson – Star Creative
• Carolyn Jones – CMT Farm
• Paul Helstrom – The Duluth Experience

June 22nd: “Women of the North Shore Craft Beer Scene” – A Candid Discussion on the State of Women in Brewing
Moderated by: Elissa Hansen – Barley’s Angels Duluth/Superior Chapter

• Allyson Rolph – Thirsty Pagan Brewing
• Jamie MacFarlane – Castle Danger Brewing
• Liz Gleason – Carmody Irish Pub & Brewery
• Laura Mullen – Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
• Melissa Rainville – Fitger’s Brewhouse

All the events will be held at Teatro Zuccone in the Zeitgeist Arts Building at 222 East Superior Street in Duluth, Minnesota. Tickets for each event are only $5 and all proceeds from the event will be donated to a local charity. For more information about the North Shore Craft Beer Roundtable call (218) 464-6337 or visit The Duluth Experience website at: www.theduluthexperience.com/special-events/craft-beer-roundtable/

I hope to see you all there.


- Nick

Sunday, April 20, 2014

AleSmith X Extra Pale Ale Review

Name: AleSmith X Extra Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 5.25%

I've already reviewed a couple of beers from AleSmith Brewing Company, a brewery known for their strong beers and found them to be very good (especially the Wee Heavy.) Today I'm going to switch it up a bit and take a look at one of their lower-calibur beers and I've decided to go with AleSmith's X Extra Pale Ale, though part of my brain wants to interpret the "X" as ten.

AleSmith X pours a hazy yellow color with a white foamy head. The visible carbonation is pretty high carbonation and the lacing left behind is surprisingly abundant and sticky.

The aroma kicks things off with a nice floral hoppiness, a solid pale malt foundation and a light yeasty scent.

The flavor accurately reflects the aroma. The flavor starts out with a solid floral hoppiness and the pale malt backbone is carried over wonderfully from the nose along with the yeasty aspect. There is also a light caramel sweetness in here too which helps out the flavor quite a bit.

The palate as a whole is moderately weighted with some light carbonation. Overall, this is very easy to drink!

It's a relief to see that AleSmith can tackle the lower ABV beers with ease. AleSmith X is a very tasty American Pale Ale and it's very easy to drink! I picked this up for around $5 and you're getting more than your money's worth here!

AleSmith X Extra Pale Ale - 9/10

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat Review

Name: Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat
Style: Witbier
ABV: 4.9%

Tonight I've decided I'm going to review something that is a staple to beer drinkers here in the Midwest: Sunset Wheat by the Leinenkugel Brewing Company. If memory serves me correctly, this used to be a summer seasonal release only but it was since been added as a year-round release according to what Beer Advocate tells me.

I also had this beer for the first time a few years ago and thought it tasted rather fruity and thought it was pretty good. Although some would argue that would stem from my underdeveloped palate at the time, but let’s find out for ourselves, shall we?

Sunset Wheat pours a hazy orange color with a very thin head that quickly fade away after a few moments. There is no lacing left behind in the glass and the visible carbonation is pretty high

The nose consists mainly of malted wheat, light hops and a rather strong berry/fruity fruitness that encompasses the overall aroma. It still smells just like I remember it from a couple years ago.

The flavor is also very fruity-forward with some mixed berry notes along with some pale malts, light hops and wheat. The body is considerably light but heavily carbonated which gives it a very particular crispiness when you factor in the flavor.

Even though other beer reviewers are going to disagree with what I'm about to say, I still think this is a pretty good tasting beer. Even after all of the beers that I've had over these past couple years, I still can't find anything wrong with how it tastes. I mean, it doesn't taste amazing or anything of that sort but I just can't bring it upon myself to rip on this beer. I say give this beer a chance and let it speak for itself, and who knows, maybe you'll actually like it.

Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat – 8/10

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Interview with Seth Treptow, Head Brewer/Co-Owner of Regular Guy Brewing

With the number of breweries in America at a record high, we are seeing more and more breweries pop up everywhere. Amongst these breweries in the works is called Regular Guy Brewing based out of Granite City, IL; Which is situated right across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, MO.

Intrigued by what his brewery will have to offer to beer drinkers, I connected with Seth Treptow, one of the owners of Regular Guy Brewing. I asked Seth to sit down with me to discuss his plans for the brewery as well as the challenges associated with starting a brewery.

You can also find Regular Guy Brewing on:

Twitter - https://twitter.com/regularguybeer
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/regularguybrewing

Seth, tell me a little bit about yourself. What is your background?

Well my background is in communications. My college degree was in broadcasting; Worked in television and radio production and currently work as a communications director for a non-profit in the St. Louis, Missouri area and I started really getting into beer here and there during college and went through the cheap beer phase just like everyone does. After college I decided I wanted to try something other than swill and dabbled a bit, tried some different things and really became a fan of craft beer and gained more and more appreciation of it.

Sometime shortly after getting married, my in-laws gave me my first Mr. Beer kit, so I learned the basics of making beer and played with that for a few years then a few years ago me and my two partners with Regular Guy Brewing really got serious about it and went All-Grain and have been more and more with every brew that we make.

What's the story behind Regular Guy Brewing? What's the story behind the name?

Well, you know, we kind of looked at craft beer and there is a perception of who drinks it. You know, there is the artsy hipsters with their big black glasses and their tiny, skinny jeans. And then you have the yuppie crowd with the import kind of thing and really the average person, just the regular Joe, the average guy is just kind of dismissed. I think they are dismissed way too often as the Joe Six-Pack kind of idea where, you know, your Bud Lights and Budweisers are good enough for just, you know, guys who work blue collar and white collar jobs and we kind of take a different point of view.

We say: You work hard, you earned something better than watered-down corn water. You don't need to have your tongue and mouth assaulted with hops to feel like you're doing something good for you and good for craft beer. We want to create a beer that's for everyone and figured what better way to make that clear with our brand and just be upfront about it. We're regular guys making beer for regular guys. 

Now I was reading an article today about the number of craft breweries in America. At the last estimate, there was about 2,500 craft breweries in America right now with countless others in planning. I know here in Minnesota, I can name at least 5 off the top of my head that are not even open yet and people are already paying attention to them. What, besides from appealing to the Average Joe, makes Regular Guy so unique amongst the new contenders in craft beer?

It's tough to say to be unique because you're right, it's a fast growing field. You know, I look at the St. Louis area and just a few years ago, you had Anheuser-Busch and really beyond that, there wasn't a whole lot on the beer front. You had Schlafly (Brewing) and it was certainly there and you had a few small production breweries but really only in a few years has craft beer exploded. Now there's dozens of them all around. Another place that really comes to mind to me is Ashville, North Carolina, which is one of my favorite places in the country and I was there a few years ago just on vacation and was really impressed by the beer scene there. Then I went back about a year ago for my sister's wedding and just in a few years, somewhere that was already known for craft beer, had exploded even more. So there's more and more stuff out there.

You see ideas that sound original for the first time when you see it, but before long you see them everywhere like Hoppy Wheats; They're everywhere. So it's hard to find a way to differentiate yourself because as far as the beer goes, it's like anything, there's only so many original ideas out there. So really what it comes down to is not just what you put in a bottle; Well that is a big part of it but really it's how you present yourself and there's a lifestyle thing, it's a style, it's all that part and I really think that does separate Regular Guy Brewing apart. It's the fact that we're not going to turn our nose up to you if we see you drinking a Keystone. We're not going to give you a high-five and a thumbs up because you're drinking an Arrogant Bastard Ale. Beer is good for whoever it is and whatever you like, we're okay with that. You want to drink it from a fancy glass? Awesome! If you prefer it straight out of a bottle, we're okay with that too. So really, I think that's what where we're approaching from is that it is what you make of it and whatever it is, we're cool with that. We're not sure if that'll be enough to stand out when the time comes but we hope it is.

Speaking of beer, and this is probably what everyone will want to know. What kind of beers do you plan on offering? I looked on the website and it was talking about a Rye-Red Ale...?

It was a Red Rye and that was...I don't know if you saw my blog post but it's what I described as the Mean Girls of beer: It was beautiful to look at but a bitch to try to drink. It was way too rye, way too bitter; We went a bit too much.

We want to try things that are outside of the convention. It's kind of like when my two buddies, Justin and Brian and I made short films years ago. We didn't just want to do a romance, we didn't want to just do a comedy, we didn't want it to be just a Sci-Fi; We wanted it to blend and find ways to kind of merge and approach one idea from multiple angles and that's what we are kind of carrying over to our beer too.

So you'll see things like our Hot Blonde, which is a Blonde Ale but we've infused it with jalapeños. So you have a very light, low body but kind of sweet beer then adding a little spiciness in kind of adds a dimension and that's kind of what we are looking at. You're not going to see chamomile or cinnamon in anything we do but you're going to see ingredients that any man....or woman would enjoy. Just your average kind of person that would say "I can appreciate that."

The Red Rye-Der...we kind of want to go with something like an Amber ale but then we'd want to go with just your general Irish Ale. We wanted to go with something with a little bit of a different flavor to it. In my travels I've found several different Red Ryes I kind of liked and thought "Let's give that a go!" There is nowhere around here that I know of that has something like that so it'd be something different. It just didn't work out for us on that one, maybe next time it will but we'll see.

And what about the Smoked Apple Porter?

That is our Smokey Grove, which we just brewed another batch of on Friday night. If you had to find it, it would probably be as far as the beer judging criteria, it would fall right under that robust porter category. But it also has quite a bit of smoke flavor to it. In addition to my love of beer making, I love smoking meat, so I have a nice array of smokers on my back patio. We took a quarter of our grain and smoked it for about an hour with applewood to add a little bit of extra flavor to it for the smokiness. Then we add apples into the boil and to the secondary to add a bit of extra sweetness. So when it's all said and done and it all ferments out, you're going to have a good amount of sweetness with a little touch of smokiness and a little bit of that apple-y flavor to bring it all together. Porters are kind of a darker beer & has a lot of malty characteristics. These additions: The smoke, the apple will kind of enhance that to another level.

Aside from making sure your equipment is clean as I've learned with my experience in homebrewing, what are some of the challenges you have run into so far?

The biggest challenge for me is knowing when to stop. I love adjusting, I love tinkering. Every single brew I think of something new that we can try in the next brew that might make things more efficient or make things a little bit better or easier for us or better for the beer. Part of...especially when you are brewing to build a business it's not just about the quality of the beer but the consistency of the beer. We really do try to operate as much as we can as a....even though we are probably at least a year away from getting our licensing and being able to sell it to anyone, we've been operating from the get-go with the mentality that every brew we make is research and development for what we're going to do. So we take notes, do all that stuff but because of my tinkering nature the hardest part I have is dialing it back because every little change that you make can change what the beer becomes. With that idea of consistency, at some points I just have to put the brakes on and just reel it back in and it's something I struggle with.

As far as planning goes, you had mentioned licensing and being able to distribute. Where exactly are you at in those phases?

We are very early but we are seriously early. Looking at the whole brewing thing, I think anyone who has brewed their own beer has had someone say "Dude, this is great. You should sell this!" And yeah, everyone has probably had that thought "Yeah, I could do that!" I've had many good homebrews and many that are better than professional, giant brewers out there. What separates it really is the drive and ambition; It's a lot of work that goes into it and it's easy to brew beers on a Friday night in your garage but to actually go through the steps of your licensing, getting your equipment, the scale, opening the doors and doing all of that. It's a lot of hard work that goes into it and that is hard work we are not afraid of. We know what we want to do, we have a basic idea and plan. It's really fine tuning things, dotting I's, crossing T's, then finding the right spaces, finding the right things that would work for us and all along, just fine tuning things out.

I really don't want to go into too much detail with what we plan on doing. Despite many articles I've read and blogs to the contrary, what we actually are going to be starting out is what we call a "Test Kitchen Stage." We are going to be a nanobrewery or nano-production brewery. We're talking 1 BBL (barrel)......maybe less initially at launch and we're not opening our doors to the public. We're going to self distribute to two or three bars at very low quantity. Probably for the first year, it might be enough to cover the bills but it'll certainly...hopefully add up to break even compared to what we are doing for homebrewing right now. And really take that time to build relationships with those small number of locations, build relationships with clientele, get feedback; Get active feedback. Concentrate on being really small and being really good at being small and then organically grow from that point. Then seek investments, seek all that other stuff then grow as we have demand to grow.

From what I understand, beer is unlike restaurants, unlike a lot of other small businesses and entrepreneurial ventures. People love beer: At the best of times, people love beer and the worst of times, people buy beer. I know, and I'm sure you have too, you've drank bad beer. You don't have to have the world's best beer to make a profit making beer but when you start small, you have to have relationships and this will give us a chance to do that in a very effective way and then know our small footprint and kind of grow out and take our time and doing it right every step we take.

When you are talking about opening a brewery, but what is one thing that people absolutely need to know if they want to open one up themselves?

I'll tell you, the one thing that scares me the most is...and it might sound crazy but it's just the whole drainage and wastewater issue. You can't just figure "Oh, I'm going to open up my own brewery in my garage," or "I'm just going to a warehouse," or something like that. When you brew beer, we do five-to-ten gallon batches now and we probably spill a gallon of hot, steamy liquid and it's not abnormal to spill a half-gallon or a gallon at a time. Now you suddenly boost that volume up and you've got hundreds of gallons potentially being spilled on any brew day and you have to have drainage in your floor that could handle that and there's only spaces where you can have piping that can handle high temperature..hot, sticky wort and processing it through and not melting pipes, not causing issues. You have to look for slope, your finishing on the floors; Your space is really just a huge portion of what you have to look into. I see is one of our biggest challenges going into it is finding a space that has a floor big enough to do what we want and not to have too big of a hole in our pockets. It's going to have the basic amenities and something like that will make it work.

The other big part of it though, and you touched on it with the homebrewing and cleaning, the making the beer portion of having a brewery is really like this much of it (holds up his hand with a small gap in-between the thumb and index finger).

Brewing is going to be the easy part, it's the part we already love. Even the cleaning part: I enjoy cleaning after....I'm a slob but I don't mind scrubbing out a kettle at the end of a brew night because I know I did something to make it that nasty. But when you go to that big of a scale, you have a giant kettle that you have to scrub out and seeing things get cleaned but even with that part, that's making something you love and that people are going to love. So that's almost still tolerable it's going to be then having to, on a regular basis, change your hats, go out and have to basically live this business outside the brewery portion of it; It's definitely going to be a challenge. You aren't just brewing beer while you're there, you're running a brewery all the time.

Now when I think of St. Louis, I think of the big player that is Anheuser-Busch. The other big brewer I can think of is Boulevard (Brewing). What kind of market is there for a nano-brewery in St. Louis?

The great thing about craft beer it's really opened up the whole appreciation of local much more than any other type of beer has. We're at a great time between social media and increasing awareness of craft beer, what it is and the quality and the time that goes into it where it's really become a destination thing. A craft beer lover will go out of their way to try a craft beer that they have heard about. You're not going to go out of your way to have a Bud Light. You're not going to go out of your way to have a Heineken. You're not going to go out of your way to have a Coors or a Stag, but you will go out of your way, 20-30 miles, to go try out a beer that you read about or saw on Twitter; You'll go out of your way to try something out that a friend talked about on Facebook. Like tomorrow for instance, I'm travelling to Springfield, Missouri for a couple of days for a press check for a magazine for my work and I've already put a little bit of time looking into what kind of craft beer is available in that area that I've never tried before.

As far as nano-breweries, it's tough to say. I don't know the steel of every brewery I goto. Most nanos, and just to be clear when I talk about nano, I'm talking about 3.5 BBL or less. Most of them operate as retail operations, so it's either a taproom or they have a brewpub situation. I don't know of any that are going to be starting off at the scale we're talking about that distribute but there are more and more popping up all the time. And because craft beer drinkers have a respect for local, much more than any other things and because they are willing to go out of their way to support the thing that they love, I think that as long as you put your word out there about who you are as long as you get a little bit of feedback and a little bit of positive reinforcement I think you can sell your product, no matter how big you are.

As far as reception goes, what has the whole general consensus been?  

Well to be honest our feedback so far has been pretty good. Being a homebrewer, you only really have so much distribution you can do. Friends, family, we pass along for family, friends of friends, family of friends, and friends of family friends. So you maintain a little distribution and build your network and it's been good enough that we've had people say that "I don't care if you get in trouble or not, I'll pay you next time...make sure you get a six pack," which we are not gonna do at all. We've gotten so far very positive response. Now I am also cognizant of the fact that some people might be being nice because they like us as human beings. Now we have gotten a little bit of honest criticism from people that we have respected and we appreciated and we've incorporated that in and I think we've evolved from that as well.

So it's tough to say right now; We're actually planning this year to enter into every competition we can and just so that we can get some honest assessment. Maybe a year from now if all those assessments come back and say "Your beer sucks," we'll be scraping our plans and going some different directions but we're pretty confident that we'll fair okay. We'll take our feedback and we will apply it to make it the best we can and I think that every bit of feedback is a learning experience. Like I said, it's tough to say because the people who do get your beer when you're technically a homebrewer have some attachment to you and so I don't know if we had what I'd call Objective Feedback but what we have and especially from the people we respect has been positive and we appreciate every bit of it.

One final question for you, what's your favorite style of beer?

I'm actually a big IPA (India Pale Ale) drinker which my co-horts, Brian and Justin, they are not hop-heads at all. I started out as a wheat guy following into the Hefeweizens and kind of evolved. Went from very malt and over time to the extreme. I will drink an Arrogant Bastard Ale on occasion but I don't like to have my mouth raped with hops on a regular basis but I do love a Red Hook Longhammer. I actually really enjoy the Sierra Nevada Torpedo. New Belgium's Ranger is actually my goto IPA; Something sessionable but still with enough flavor to give you a bit of a kick, to let your mouth know that it's alive.

The ironic part is that because the other guys are not on IPA and because IPA is the "vogue" craft beer style, we've kind of put an unofficial decision that we're not to be making an IPA. We are, instead, going to be doing an Extra Pale Ale which we actually have in the fermenter right now which we are really excited about. It's not as hoppy as an IPA but it's a little bit hoppier than an American Pale Ale so that's why we're using the "Extra." We figured it'd going to be a nice compromise between the two.

A big thank you to Seth for sitting down to talk with me and to the rest of the guys over at Regular Guy. I'm really looking forward to seeing how their brewery turns out in the near future!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Schell's Deer Brand Review

Name: Schell's Deer Brand
Style: Adjunct Lager
ABV: 4.8%

Tonight I have Schell's Deer Brand, a beer which many would consider to be a staple beer of the August Schell Brewing Company. That is, of course, if you don't count Grain Belt which is also brewed by Schell's and is also the same style, which is an adjunct lager.

Deer Brand pours a pale clear yellow with a thin filmy head that fades fast. The visible carbonation is rather mild in appearance and the lacing is non-existent.

The aroma consists primarily of pale malts, flaked corn, yeasts, barley and a mild but noticeable earthiness. Unlike most adjunct lagers, this one doesn't possess a smell which I would consider to be offensive.

The flavor is more or less the same as the nose but with a sweeter taste and greater emphasis on flaked corn and a pretty dry albeit mildly sweet aftertaste. None of the cooked vegetable/adjunct ingredients are blatantly present here. Also the earthiness present in the aroma is nowhere to be seen here.

The palate as a whole is pretty lightweight and the carbonation is fairly moderate in terms of intensity. You'll have a pretty easy time drinking this.

Of all the adjunct lagers out there, this is by far my favorite which is saying alot. It's cheap yet I don't have to worry about that offensive taste that I expect out of other adjunct lagers. Keep in mind, however, that if there is a better selection available, I'm going to overlook this without a second thought. However if you're on a tight budget and/or your selection is limited, then you can't go wrong with this.

Schell's Deer Brand - 7.5/10

Monday, April 14, 2014

Summit Fest Bier Review

Name: Summit Fest Bier
Style: Märzen/Oktoberfest
ABV: 5.5%

Well, it's been a very long and eventful weekend but it was a very good one nonetheless. After everything that has transpired over this busy weekend, it's time to unwind and take a look at the latest offering in the Unchained Series from Summit Brewing Company.

For their newest release, they have decided to give us Fest Bier: an Märzen/Oktoberfest beer.....during the spring season when most beers tend to be....not Oktoberfest style beers. It's an unusual choice for a style especially at this time of year I will admit. However, I'm not ready to discount it on those merits so let's dive right in.

Fest Bier pours a clear orange color with a white & voluminous foamy head. There is some moderate carbonation visible in the glass and the lacing left behind is fair and sticky

The nose starts off with a toasted barley and Munich malt aroma. Followed by that are some faint spiced notes and a mild hoppiness. Smells pretty good but again, it's rather weird to be having this at the time of year.

The flavor is has some strong yeasty and toasted barley notes. There's a fairly strong Munich malt back here with some pretty strong floral hops and light spiciness. The palate is moderately weighted and the carbonation also matches the weight in terms of intensity.

Oktoberfest/Märzen style beers are not exactly at the top of my list of favorite beer styles but this was pretty good! The flavor is different enough to where it's able to set itself apart from others in the same category (something which I think is an issue with the style), yet it tastes good enough to where I would have no problem drinking this again. Since Summit already has an Oktoberfest, I'd love to see them use the recipe they used in this beer for their annual Oktoberfest.

Summit Fest Bier - 8.5/10

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Bell's Black Note Stout Review

Name: Bell's Black Note Stout
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 11.5%

So this weekend, I'll be pretty busy. Between the new apartment hunt and The Duluth Experience North Shore Craft Beer Roundtable. Needless to say, I have a few irons in the fire. In anticipation of my busy schedule, I'm going to get a couple reviews out of the way.

To start out, I've got a somewhat hard-to-find beer due to it's limited quantity (or so I'm led to believe) Bell's Black Note Stout; An Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels. From that I understand, this beert usually gets released in the Springtime.

Black Note Stout pours a pitch black with a thin brown head that fades away after a couple minutes. The lacing left behind is also rather sparse.

The nose starts out with a nice aroma of bourbon, oak, chocolate malts and vanilla before ending with a nice roasted barley scent.

Flavor-wise, it starts out very chocolate malt and oak forward. The tail end of the flavor gives off a nice vanilla-bourbon taste and finishing off with some malty & roasted barley notes.

The overall palate is fairly heavy body and comes with some mild carbonation; Giving it a nice creamy texture which helps add to the overall drinkability.

If you're willing to shell out a couple extra bucks, you'll find this to be an excellent & vibrant tasting Imperial Stout. On top of that, you can tell that the barrel aging has done wonders for the quality of the flavor and that alone is worth checking out.

Bell's Black Note Stout - 9.25/10

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Summit True Brit IPA Review

Name: Summit True Brit IPA
Style: English IPA
ABV: 6.4%

Tonight I'm going to review what I consider to be a timeless classic from Summit Brewing's line-up: their True Brit IPA, an English Style IPA as you may have guessed from the name. Now it wasn't always called "True Brit"; In fact, prior to their image and label overhaul, it was simply called Summit India Pale Ale.

Then much like the rest of the beers in Summit's lineup, each one received a facelift, a couple got a name change, and one beer (Horizon Red) even received a different recipe change. However, True Brit just changed in it's name only.

True Brit pours a clear orange color with a foamy head that eventually becomes filmy while still maintaining retention. The visible carbonation is pretty mild carbonation and the lacing left behind is quite good.

In the nose, I'm picking up on some fairly strong caramel malts which are back up by citrus hops, grapefruit notes, and some light toffee notes.

Flavor-wise, it’s very caramel malt forward, which is to be expected out of an English IPA. Luckily the citrus & piney hops help bring balance to the overall flavor. The palate is pretty light overall and the carbonation is also very mild. It's a pretty easy easy-to-drink IPA overall.

True Brit is a good example as to how to do an English IPA correctly. It doesn't do anything exciting necessarily but it tastes great and it's easy to drink and honestly, that's what having a good beer is all about.

Summit True Brit IPA - 8.5/10

Monday, April 7, 2014

Laughing Dog The Dogfather Review

Name: Laughing Dog The Dogfather
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.85%

For this review, I'm trying out my very first beer from Laughing Dog Brewery, who have recently just started distributing our area. From what I've gathered, every beer they make has some reference to dogs, hence the brewery name. They are also the first brewery I have tried out that is based out of Idaho, a state which is best known for potatoes and Napoleon Dynamite.

For my first go with this brewery, I decided to take a look at The Dogfather, an Imperial Stout aged in bourbon barrels. Now before I begin I wanted to point this out. When I first saw the name and label, the first thing that popped into my head was this....

Don't tell Snoop Dogg....er, Lion

The Dogfather pours a pitch black color with a thin filmy brown head. I'm not picking up any visible carbonation but the lacing left behind is abundant and sticky.

The nose consists of a rich scent of chocolate malts, oak, vanilla, bourbon and some roasted barley. A bit boozy smelling but pleasant nonetheless.

In the flavor, things get a bit more interesting. It starts out with some chocolate, vanilla bourbon and oak notes, which are of course followed up with a nice roasted barley taste. However when it comes to the aftertaste, I'm getting a surprisingly strong piney & bitter hop flavor (for an Imperial Stout.) Mind you this is accompanied by a chocolate and roasted barley taste, but the strength of the hops in the aftertaste caught me off guard just a little bit. It is a bit boozy in the flavor but it's fairly minor.

The palate has a fairly heavy body with some mild carbonation. All of this gives it a nice creamy feel and makes drinking this just a little bit too easy...

After having this, I can safely say that The Dogfather is a very tasty and well put together Imperial Stout. As mentioned earlier, it does taste a little boozy but any seasoned Imperial Stout fan will no doubt find something to love with this beer.

Laughing Dog The Dogfather - 9/10

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Deschutes Red Chair NWPA Review

Name: Deschutes Red Chair NWPA
Style: American Pale Ale
ABV: 6.2%

It's time to look at what I consider to be Deschutes Brewing's most popular Spring Seasonal offering: Red Chair NWPA, which is classified as an American Pale Ale. NWPA is an acronym for Northwest Pale Ale, but I'll be sticking with NWPA because it's easier to type.

I remember having Red Chair NWPA on tap a couple years ago down in Cannon Falls, MN after touring the Cannon River Winery, who by the way make fantastic wines. This is my first time having it in a bottle so let's see how this holds up.

Red Chair NWPA pours a hazy orange color with a thin soapy head, which has pretty good retention. The visible carbonation is quite high and it's leaves behind some pretty good lacing!

The nose is quite citrus hop forward with pale malts, light toffee mild floral hops and yeasts. If it weren't for the yeasty aspect, I would say this smells an awful lot like a traditional West Coast-style IPA.

With the flavor, I'm picking up on some pungent citrus hop notes, toffee, yeasts, and pale malts. The aftertaste is a bittersweet citra-hop flavor. The palate with this one is quite heavy body and moderately carbonated.

When you consider everything: The aroma, flavor and even the palate; It's pretty much got one foot already inside the West Coast IPA territory, with the other being in American Pale Ale. With that said, Red Chair NWPA is still a very good beer that's worth checking out.

Deschutes Red Chair NWPA - 8.5/10

Summit Maibock Review

Name: Summit Maibock
Style: Maibock/Helles Bock
ABV: 6.7%

Even though we had about a foot of snowfall yesterday (which has miraculously melted away by now), Spring is very much here....for the most part. So in honor of spring technically here, I've got myself a Summit Brewing Spring Sampler pack for us to look at.

Since I've already reviewed Summit Extra Pale Ale, I've decided I'm going to first take a look at their Maibock beer. Now I'm just going to give you a heads up, I consider this to be my favorite seasonal offering from Summit. It goes without saying that this is my first time actually giving this beer a proper review.

Summit Maibock pours a bright hazy yellow color with a nice, white, soapy head. The lacing left behind on the sides of the glass is pretty good and the visible carbonation teeters between mild and moderate.

The aroma starts things off with some strong pale malts, yeasts, light honey, mild floral hop notes and just a hint of toffee. To me, it smells like spring in the form of a beer.

The flavor,  much like the nose, starts out with some strong sweet malt notes, followed up by some yeasts, light honey, floral hops and a very slight earthiness. The aftertaste is a light but pleasant honey and floral hoppiness.

The palate is quite light in terms of body weight body with mild carbonation. Combined with the flavor, this makes it a very easy-to-drink and refreshing beer.

Every spring, I look forward to having this beer time and time again and for good reason. It's got a great flavor, it smells awesome, and it's extremely refreshing and easy to drink. I wish Summit would make this a year round offering but as the old Rolling Stones song goes: You can't always get what you want. Seriously though, if you haven't had this yet, you owe it to yourself to try it out.

Summit Maibock - 9/10

Friday, April 4, 2014

Avery Collaboration Not Litigation Review

Name: Avery Collaboration Not Litigation
Style: Belgian Dark Strong Ale
ABV: 8.9%

Even though it's a couple days late (Hey I'm a busy guy), I bring to you the One Year Anniversary review: Avery Collaboration Not Litigation; A Belgian Dark Strong Ale as the end result of a collaboration between Avery Brewing Company and Russian River Brewing Company. It's a beer that I have been wanting to try out for quite a while, mostly due to the fact that Russian River had a hand in making this beer. Plus this is the closest I'll get to having one of their beers until I have the money to visit Russian River or unless someone wants to do a beer trade.

The story behind the name is that each respective brewer mentioned above found out that the other made a beer called Salvation. The two breweries decided that rather than waste their time trying to sue the pants off of each other, they saw this as an opportunity to make a collaboration beer. A nice, feel good story when you consider the fact that a new lawsuit involving two different craft brewers seems to pop up almost everyday.

Originally I was going to try and procure a Game of Thrones beer as there have been several made since I reviewed Iron Throne Blonde Ale for my first review, but I figured this would have to do!

Collaboration pours a dark hazy mahogany color with a thin filmy head. The lacing left behind is rather sparse and visible carbonation is moderate in appearance.

The aroma has consists mainly of some fairly strong Belgian yeast notes, citrus hops, cloves, toffee, caramel malts and a slight bubblegum sweetness. Definitely a stronger focus on the hoppy and malty aspect of the flavors compared to the original Avery Salvation.

The flavor is still very Belgian yeast & clove forward, pretty much like the original but I'm also picking up on some prominent caramel malt notes, bubblegum sweetness and citrus hoppiness. The aftertaste is a mild Belgian yeastiness flavor. Pretty interesting considering the original Salvation had a rather piney hop aftertaste.

The overall palate is pretty heavy with some fairly moderate, fizzy carbonation which helps bring out the flavors just a little bit more.

Even though I love Salvation, I think I love this beer just a little bit more mainly because it's got a much more complex flavor, which at the same time, is very well balanced. Since it is just a seasonal beer, it is very much worth checking out if you happen to stumble upon it!

Avery Collaboration Not Litigation - 9.5/10

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Duluth Experience Presents: The North Shore Craft Beer Roundtable Part 2 – Crafting the North Shore Beer Scene

On April 13th The Duluth Experience will host the second of its four live panel discussions covering the business and art of craft brewing and the rise of the North Shore Craft Beer Scene. The second panel – Crafting the North Shore Beer Scene – will focus on the craftsmen and women creating delicious concoctions of water, malt, hops and yeast that give the local craft beer scene its unique flavor.

The event will bring together five prominent local brewers for a candid discussion on the art of craft brewing:

Moderated by The Duluth Experience’s Tim Wilson, the discussion will cover the key elements that make the North Shore Scene unique, future trends in craft brewing, the collaborative and cooperative community of brewers elevating the region’s prominence in the industry, and the challenges and opportunities that make the scene’s past, present, and future so exciting. The events are designed to provide behind-the-scenes perspectives on the regional craft beer community and showcase the great people involved in pushing the North Shore Craft Beer Scene to the forefront of the expanding craft beer industry in Minnesota.

The event will be held from 1-2pm at Duluth’s Teatro Zuccone in the Zeitgeist Arts Building at 222 East Superior Street on April 13th. Tickets for each event are only $5 and all proceeds from the event will be donated to a local charity. For more information about the North Shore Craft Beer Roundtable call (218) 464-6337 or visit The Duluth Experience website at: www.theduluthexperience.com/special-

If you happen to be in town next Sunday or have nothing else better to do, I encourage you to come on down, learn about one of the fastest growing industries in our area, and there will be free beer too!

I hope to see you all there, Cheers!

- Nick

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Happy One Year Anniversary from Nick's Beer Blog!!

When I first started this blog after getting off of work exactly one year ago today, I had no idea what was in store for me. In fact, I created the blog originally for just posting beer reviews and giving my two cents as to what I thought of a certain beer. After all, I had posting reviews on Beer Advocate for a couple of years and I figured it was the best way to reach people.

Since then, it has taken off in ways I never could've even imagined and I've met some truly awesome people along the way. I'm very excited for what the future has in store for me and I can't wait to see where I go.

There will be no beer reviews tonight, but I have something special planned for tomorrow night so be sure to check that out.

So on behalf of myself, thank you so much for all of your support. I'm truly grateful to have such a wonderful readership base and a shout-out to the people who have helped make this blog as successful as it has become!


- Nick