Sunday, September 7, 2014

A second visit to Pitchfork Brewing

Right after our visit to American Sky last Sunday, me and Frank made our way to Hudson, Wisconsin's other craft brewery: Pitchfork Brewing. This time, we were there for the Sunday tour that was offered by the brewery. Some of my regular readers will remember that I visited the brewery back in May during Minnesota Craft Beer Week as a last minute decision; A decision which I don't regret at all.

Sure enough when we walked in the door we were greeted by Mike, the owner & brewmaster of Pitchfork, who was working the taplines along with another gentleman. After sampling their Oktoberfest beer (more on that shortly,) me and Frank along with 2 others took a tour of the brewing area (Sunday at 2PM for those wondering.)

Now the brewing area is, admittedly, quite small as expected. However with Mike giving us a tour, he kept us hooked by telling us about starting in homebrewing, his experiences working at Northern Brewer, his efforts to relax homebrew laws in Wisconsin, as well as getting Pitchfork Brewing started. He could've kept talking all day and I still wouldn't have been bored. Mike also expressed his desire to stay small, a decision I respect because I feel like it would give one a lot more creative control over deciding what to brew.

After the tour, we decided to try out some of the latest offerings from Pitchfork. Like last time, it was a mixed bag of offerings that provided a craft beer lover with a good amount of diversity.

Pitchfork Oktoberfest - Much like my visit to American Sky, an Oktoberfest was also the first beer that we tried out. Solid Munich/Marzen malt base with some caramel sweetness and a fairly strong-for-the-style floral hop profile. It may not be autumn yet. but it sets the mood right.

Pitchfork Thistle Scottish Ale - Fairly roasty and chocolate malt flavor overall with just a bit of vanilla sweetness. It does taste pretty sweet though, especially on the back end of the flavor. I've been on a bit of a streak with having some fantastic Scottish Ales lately and this just continues that trend.

Pitchfork Night Shift Dry Stout - Usually I don't find dry stouts outside the spring months and yet here was one right in front of me. The flavor starts out with some chocolate maltiness and even a flaked oats taste. The aftertaste, as expected by the given name, was quite dry with just a slight hop bitterness on the back end of the palate. This is a pretty good "sessionable" stout!

Pitchfork English Old Ale - An old ale during the summertime? Count me in! The flavor is very molasses and caramel malt forward with some chocolate sweetness and a strong licorice aftertaste. Very heavy body and very thick to boot, thanks to the molasses. Needless to say, this was very tasty and I can only imagine the work that Pitchfork had to go through to make this!

Pitchfork Dig Deep Double IPA - There is always a spot for an Imperial IPA, regardless of what season it may be and this beer is no exception. Strong citrus hops and grapefruit notes make up the bulk of the flavor with a nice caramel maltiness with a piney/resin bitter hop aftertaste.

After I left Pitchfork with my growler of their Pale Ale in hand, I stopped by Casanova like I always do whenever I'm in Hudson and ended up picking up some beers for reviews down the road.

Overall, it was another fantastic visit to Pitchfork Brewing with some quality brews to boot. Having their beers makes me wish that I could drink them on a regular basis. For the time being, I'll just have to grab a growler (or two) whenever I'm down in the Twin Cities.

Keep up the great work, Mike!

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