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.
Milk & Honey Ciders, Heirloom: 2015 Harvest, Brian Kaufenberg, Managing Editor
Milk & Honey Ciders delivers layers of robust flavor in their Heirloom: 2015 Harvest. The lively semi-dry cider, made each year from a mix of heirloom apples harvested from orchards in Minnesota, Michigan, and California, unfolds from tart to woodsy, to a sharp bitterness and a little funk. Behind it all, though, is a thread of deep, tannic apple flavor holding it together. The cidery, located in Cold Spring, Minnesota, cellars their ciders for four to nine months in order to mature and clarify, before blending the cider to achieve the perfect body, acidity, and interesting character. Heirloom: 2015 Harvest hits the mark on all three.
Bald Man Brewing, Tupelo Honey Brown Ale, Keith Grauman, Web Editor
“You can take all the tea in China / Put it in a big brown bag for me / Sail right around all the seven oceans / Drop it straight into the deep blue sea / She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey.” What do Van Morrison and brown ales have in common? Neither gets the credit they deserve. Van the Man—excuse me, Sir Van the Man—has a career that spans six decades, just about every musical genre, and has more than 30 albums to his credit, though he’s rarely mentioned in the same breath with other greats of his generation like Dylan, Simon, and Young. Similarly, brown ales get none of the fanfare enjoyed by their maltier cousins, porter and stout, nor can they claim the more mainstream appeal of their next-door neighbors on the SRM scale, amber ales. So this month we salute Eagan’s Bald Man Brewing for combining these two unsung heroes into a rich but still very drinkable beer that’s well-balanced between roasty, nutty, and sweet as Tupelo honey.
Modist Brewing Co., Dreamyard American IPA, John Garland, Senior Editor
You may have heard the latest beer nerd debate involves the so-called “New England-style” IPA. Some think these hazy beers are citrusy and fun. Purists might call them turbid and flawed. You may have heard this style described as “juicy,” and if you’re wondering exactly what that means, pick up some tallboys of Dreamyard from Modist Brewing. This IPA is nearly opaque—a hazy, deep gold with billowing foam. You’ll get a touch of bitter hops before a wave of tangerine citrus envelops the whole sip right down to the pithy and creamy finish. While I’d rather not weigh in on the N.E. IPA debate in total, suffice it to say that Dreamyard is the kind of beer that would make the skeptics admit there’s some credence to the style.
Lift Bridge Brewing, Barrel Aged Wee Heavy, Kate Murphy, Editorial Assistant
I don’t particularly have a sweet tooth, but I do love caramel. And if you’re hankering for a beer with layers of caramel complexity, Lift Bridge Brewing’s Barrel Aged Wee Heavy is a pretty darn good solution. A pronounced deep caramel character takes center stage—both in the nose and on the palate—backed by tones of richly toasted malt, but it’s not cloyingly sweet. With over 16 months of aging in whiskey barrels, the supporting roles of oak, biscuit, and vanilla break up the sweetness, providing the bronze beauty of an ale a boozy balance. A final scene of nuttiness carries into the finish, as the beloved flavor of caramel relishes a final bow. Bravo.
Dangerous Man Brewing, Sour Delores Series, Joseph Alton, Editor-in-Chief
This issue we celebrate the doers and the makers that make our community beautiful, diverse, and delicious. With that spirit in mind, I recommend you make your way to Dangerous Man for a pour of whatever’s next in their Sour Delores Series. I recently tried a wildly pleasant passion fruit and pineapple version at Winterfest. The beer exhibited the best of what this brewery is: weird and wild, yet beautifully balanced. Though the passion fruit-pineapple iteration has likely come and gone from their Northeast taproom, they were serving a blood orange version at the time of publication, and have other adaptations like strawberry-pineapple dropping any day. Rooted in homebrew origins, the crew at D-Man has continued to hack their beer and business model to keep us guessing—and gushing—about their spirit of innovation.