Welcome back to What We’re Drinking, wherein The Growler editorial staff look back on recent remarkable beverages. What are you drinking, Growler Nation? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Brian Kaufenberg, Managing Editor
■ Boom Island Kriek
Boom Island’s Spontaneous Series has yielded some of the state’s most complex wild ales and their latest offering, Kriek, continues the tradition. The Belgian-style wild ale was brewed with sour cherries from Michigan and spontaneously fermented in red wine barrels for more than a year. Sour cherry aromas are punctuated with a funkiness on the nose. Lush cherries lend just a wisp of sweetness on the palate before drying out completely. The sour notes hit at the back to the throat and soon subside into mellow, old wood and pleasant musty notes. Complex and satisfying, this beer was well worth the wait.
■ Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter
■ Bruichladdich Black Art 4 1990
■ Barrel Theory Java Oats
■ Town Hall Masala Mama
Kate Murphy, Assistant Editor
■ Waldmann Wiener
It’s easy to get caught up in today’s over-the-top beer trend hoopla or what new, sleek brewery is popping up at the moment, but Waldmann is all about taking a step back to the simplicity and heritage of the 1850s. Head brewer Drew Ruggles’ commitment to traditional German-style beers cannot be overstated, and Wiener beams as a copper-colored standout. A delicate wave of malts permeates the aroma, as bread crust flavors punctuate the palate. Hops then lace a balance of bitterness with a mellow spicy earthiness, ensuring a dry and snappy finish to the crisp Vienna lager. Marvelously malty, classically clean.
■ Pryes Miraculum
■ Third Street Lost Trout Brown Ale
■ Sweetland Orchard Scrumpy Original
■ Vikre Boreal Juniper Gin
John Garland, Senior Editor
■ 2015 Libation Project Red
Libation Project is a small local importer and distributor that’s responsible for some of the most interesting, estate-driven wines available in the Metro. They’ve enlisted Banshee, makers of some fine Sonoma County chardonnay and pinot noir, to create a private-label California white and red blend, the proceeds from which benefit Minnesota charities. The 2015 red is 84 percent cabernet, scattered with syrah, zin, and a few others—a solid everyday red blend that helps to do some good in our community.
■ Castle Danger Cream Ale
■ Château Pégau 2016 Cuvée Lône Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc
■ Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky
■ Sisyphus “Isaac’s Brother Can Act, Man” Red IPA
Joseph Alton, Editor-in-Chief
■ Indeed In the Thicket
Some styles of beer drink well all year. I would argue that wood-aged sours fit that bill. This month, I’m sipping on the latest in Indeed Brewing’s Wooden Soul series of beers. Barrel-aged with Brettanomyces and bacteria strains, In the Thicket is a golden sour ale that was dosed with more that 40 pounds of fresh ripe Minnesotan raspberries per barrel. Aromas of fresh berries dominate the nose. The beer exhibits some wood character and a refreshing funk, but fresh fruit and tart citrus are the star of the show.
■ Able Seedhouse + Brewery Seeded
■ Bemidji Double Porter 2015
■ Leroux “Jezynówka” Blackberry Flavored Brandy
■ Tattersall Straight Rye Whiskey