Welcome back to What We’re Drinking, wherein The Growler editorial staff look back on a recent remarkable beverage. What are you drinking, Growler Nation? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Bang Brewing Gold Blonde Ale – Joseph Alton, Editor-in-Chief
The best thing about craft beer is ingenuity. Simple ingredients used in varying fashions produce vastly different flavors and styles of beer. Bang Brewing embraces this creative spirit and is pushing the boundaries of flavor further by producing Minnesota’s first commercial beer using a relatively new ingredient called Kernza.
Kernza is a perennial grain with deep roots that can help build soil health, retain clean water, sequester carbon, and enhance wildlife habitat. Bang’s “Gold” is a blonde ale brewed with two-row barley, Citra hops, and of course, Kernza. It’s a hearty, refreshing, somewhat grassy take on the blonde ale with a moderately big body and an interesting touch of spice—presumably from the Kernza. This limited release is currently available at the Bang taproom and a few select retail locations.
Keepsake Cidery Wild – Brian Kaufenberg, Managing Editor
The cidermakers at Keepsake Cidery are finding success with spontaneous fermentation, using the native yeasts in the orchard air and on the apples they harvest to craft Wild. Different every year, the 2017 version pours a foggy, pale yellow with a lively, Champagne-like effervescence. And like a brut Champagne, this cider finishes bone dry. While it has a pronounced tartness, it has little to no “barnyard” funk that is common in some wild-fermented beverages. Instead, flavors of floral honey, light vanilla, and wood blend together in a vivifying sip. Pair with a slice of fresh baked bread, butter, and honey.
Milwaukee Brewing Co. Outboard Cream Ale – John Garland, Senior Editor
Around this time last year, a friend took me out for a night of boating on the St. Croix River. We dropped anchor outside Hudson, grilled a few brats, and anxiously watched the weather radar. A massive storm was barreling in. But serendipity treated us to a truly memorable evening—the storm broke in half around us. To the south, behind the I-94 bridge, lightning scattered across the sky. To the north, toward Stillwater, menacing black clouds dumped buckets of rain. But everything stayed perfectly still in Hudson, and we toasted our good fortune with tallboys of MKE’s Outboard Cream Ale. The taste of that beer in the baby blue cans will be forever linked with boating in my mind, and I’m taking it out on the water all August long.
Flying Dutchman Spirits Mediterráneo Gin – Kate Murphy, Editorial Assistant
Using the wrong gin can turn what was intended to be a crisp, herbaceous late-afternoon cocktail into an unpleasant, piney ordeal. But after many years of international travel, the founders behind the newly opened Flying Dutchman Spirits have brought the traditionally juniper-forward pungency of gin to delectable heights. A wave of aromatic herbs—thyme and rosemary to the fore—cuts through the juniper backbone, while meshing alongside fresh citrus and a lingering, earthy hint of olive to evoke the savory tastes of the Mediterranean. Satisfyingly smooth, simply drink it on the rocks or add a splash of tonic, for this gin is no muss, no fuss—just pure bliss.