Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Minnesota Craft Beer Week 2014 - Angry Inch Brewing Company

Sunday morning had come around and I woke up to the realization I would have to go home soon. It had been a fun filled week full of many different kinds of beers but I realize that all good things have to come to an end eventually.  Before I made my way back to Duluth, there was one final stop I had to make...

Earlier this year, I got in touch with the guys from Angry Inch Brewing Company, based out of Rosemount, Minnesota and have been keeping in touch with them in regards to their beers and plans for a commercial brewery. A few weeks ago, I was invited by to try out some of their beers at a private tasting and since I am always looking for new beers to try out, I gladly accepted. And frankly, what better way to end Minnesota Craft Beer Week than with beer from an up-and-coming brewery?

Now a little background about the brewery. First off, the guys from Angry Inch are still technically considered "Homebrewers" but they are looking for a place to set up a production brewery. When they set up shop in the Rosemount/Eagan/Apple Valley area, they will be the first production brewery in the Southeast Twin Cities Metropolitan area, to my knowledge.

Secondly, the brewery name comes from the movie title "Hedwig and the Angry Inch", a musical about a rock band whose lead singer is an East German Transvestite. It was a film that Jon's old roommate once recommended to him and it would later serve as the basis for the brewery's name.

Lastly, Jon and Josh recently took home first and second place in the Belgian Category at The Beer Dabbler festival for two of their beers, which I will be looking at.....

So you probably are wondering to yourselves: How is the beer? Well, thankfully for you I have alot to say about it. That's because I had not one, not two, but twelve different beers from these guys!

Solar Eclipse White IPA - The first beer that we started out with in our tasting. It had a very nice and lightly tart citrus hop flavor with a solid malted wheat base. Very smooth texture and easy to drink.

Speedy's Lager - Named after an old foreman of Jon's who passed away a few years ago. The plans for this beer are to donate a portion of the sales of this beer to charity. This is a darker amber lager with some light hoppiness and a chocolate malt finish. Nothing complex, but what a great way to honor someone!

Easy Amber - Both a deliberate use of a double entendre and it's considered the easiest beer to brew according to both Jon & Josh. It's got a surprisingly fruity nose that smells like strawberries, but upon drinking it, you're treated to a pretty smooth and tame amber ale.

Easy Amber on Strawberries - On the other hand, the nose in this beer is actually pretty tame and barely shows any fruity characteristics. Once you drink it, the strawberries really start to shine through which compliments the flavor nicely.

Angry Inch Pale Ale - An APA with some nice citrus hop and yeast notes. APAs don't tend to break the mold much but this was very tasty! Not overly complex but still a very easy to drink beer.

Nyctophobia Black IPA - A beer which derives it's name from a fear of the dark. This Black IPA has a fairly strong roasty characteristic but also a strong citrus and cascade hop flavor. Quite tasty I might add, especially since I'm seeing Black IPAs slowly gaining traction in terms of popularity 

Nyctophobia Black IPA w/ Cold Pressed Coffee - A variation of the original brew. This definitely is dominated more by the coffee and roasted barley flavor but the citrus hops still manage to poke their head though. I'd say resembles a cross between an IPA and a Porter.

You can also follow Angry Inch on Facebook and Twitter

Smoke Signals IPA - A smoked IPA and definitely more of an offbeat IPA-style. Starts out with a pretty citrus/fruity flavor with a lightly smoked oak/rauch malt flavor on the back of the palate.

AiB Milk Stout - Very nice lactose and chocolate flavors along with moderate roasted barley. I homebrewed a milk stout earlier this year and thought it was pretty good. However after having this, I think mine paled in comparison to this!

Four Horseman IPA - Another IPA offering which uses 4 different types of hops. This IPA has a little bit of everything: Citrus Hops, Piney Hops, Floral Hops, and a nice malty backbone. I found this to be very flavorful and well balanced.

Daddy's Honey Pot Saison - The first place winner of the Belgian Category at The Beer Dabbler and derives it's name from friend of Jon's. This is an incredibly smooth and well put together Saison. Everything from the Belgian Yeasts to the sweet honey used in making. I was told that this was a crowd favorite at the tasting events and I can totally see why!

Dubbel Trouble - The second place winner in the Belgian Category at The Beer Dabbler. There is one way to describe this beer: Lots of stopping power. Rarely do I stop drinking mid-sip because of the sheer intensity of a beer flavor. It's got it's share of booziness but it also has some very strong and vibrant dark fruit and candied caramel malt notes.

After having their beers, I can honestly say that I am very excited to see how their brewery unfolds in the future. Though they may not considered "professional" brewers as of yet, these guys make some really tasty and flavorful beers.

What I originally thought was going to be a 1 hour get-together turned into a 3 hour discussion about their beer, their experiences as well as sharing our knowledge of brewing and beer with each other. I could've been back in Duluth in the time we were talking. You know what, it was totally worth it! Jon and Josh are fun guys to talk to and I can safely say that I had alot of fun at the tasting event.

It was a fun week and I think my visit really helped it end on a fitting note. Thanks to Angry Inch Brewing Company for having me over, I cannot wait to try your beers again!

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