Saturday Brew Review

As luck would have it, as I was walking out the door yesterday to head over and check out Harriet Brewing, I saw a Facebook notice from South Lyndale Liquors that said anyone interested in beer should swing through after 4 p.m. for a taste of something.  Hmm…it piqued my interest and I had the time so off I went.

Turns out yesterday was the release of Leech Lake Brewing in liquor stores and my friends at SLL had the goods.  I got to taste the Imperial Pale Ale they’ve dubbed 3 Sheets, as well as their Scottish Ale, Loch Leech Monster.

3 Sheets is an easy to drink double IPA, smoothed out by a maltiness that was surprising for the type of beer, which made it even more surprising when I heard that it packs a 10.5% A.B.V. punch, and 100 IBUs!  I would have never guessed it and I now know where they got the title.  This could be a dangerous beer to have stocked in my beer fridge.  Thumbs up.

Loch Leech Monster is more of a traditional Scottish Ale.  I never considered myself a fan of Scottish Ales until I first tasted Scotty Karate by Dark Horse.  I still don’t lean toward Scottish Ales as my regular go-to beer of choice, but once in a while they sure do hit the spot, and Loch Leech is a good one.  Definitely worth trying and after sampling (and purchasing) both, as well as Leech Lake’s Blindside Pale Ale, it makes me damn happy that I’ve got regular access to a cabin not too far from good old Walker, MN.  Rumor has it, Leech Lake Brewing is looking to open a brewery-slash-bar right downtown soon and I’ll be there!

Next up, Harriet Brewing.  Now, I’ve been hearing about Harriet Brewing for a long time now, like this year old mention from Heavy Table.  I’ve had the opportunity to try a few of their beers around town, which I thought were good.  Not fantastic, but good.  Yesterday was the first time, however, that I got a chance to see for myself what all the hoopla is about.   Jason Walker, who wrote that Heavy Table piece last year said that being in the back of the brewery is “like being a guest in (owner) Jason Soward’s house”, and he was dead on.  In fact, my co-drinker and I were discussing how it brought back memories of many different house parties we’d each attended over the years.   With some funky art on the walls, a turntable spinning, some peeps playing some game that involved a hammer and nails and a big tree stump, and the bonus of Home Street Home food truck, you would never notice that you are actually standing in an alley off the corner of Minnehaha Ave and Lake Street.  And the mix of people and opportunity for people watching?  One of the best.  No contest.  In fact, we had fun making up various beginnings of jokes for the rest of the evening that included “A hippie and a pregnant lady walk in to a bar” and “An Amish dude and a Packer fan walk in to a bar…with a baby”.  Both true sightings.  Okay, maybe the guy wasn’t really Amish, but the beard and suspenders said he was.  Anyway…oh yeah….the beer.  We had the West Side IPA and the Divine Oculust Belgian-style Golden Strong.  My Saturday night partner in crime really liked them both.  I wouldn’t say I didn’t like them, but neither one really moved me to want another.  Then again, if a friend called me up tomorrow and asked if I wanted to head over to the brewery, I wouldnt’ say no.  We also didn’t agree on which one we liked best, though truly we’re not comparing apples to apples because they are two different styles of beer.  Overall what do we “like” though?  He picked the Divine and I picked the West Side.

Onward we march.  Now maybe not as straight, but there was more beer to be had on this fine Saturday evening.

Being in the neighborhood, we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to check out what was on tap over at The Blue Nile, and yet another opportunity to make up our own joke.  This one went “An athiest and a drunk homeless dude walk in to a bar…”  and so did we.  Order up!  Ommegang’s Art of Darkness, a sample of New Belgium’s Cocoa Mole’ Ale, and a Surly Furious because I love it.

Art of Darkness is a unique, deliciously drinkable ale.   It’s got some unexpected carbonation to it, paired with a smooth maltiness.  At 8.7% A.B.V., it’s no weakling, but it goes down easy.

You don’t get much more unique than New Belgium’s Cocoa Mole’.  I’m not sure I could drink an entire 12oz pour, which is how they come at The Blue Nile, but the sample was divine.  Unbelievably chocolatey, with a little cinnamon, and some spice that packs a little punch.  I’d share one with a friend, but in my opinion 12oz. of it would take it from divine to my usual description of “that’s too much”.  It’s like loving tiramisu as much as I do, but then eating an entire damn thing instead of one serving.  Wait.  Maybe a bad reference.  I think I could do that….but drink a 12 ouncer of Cocoa Mole?  Nah.

I don’t need to say anything about my Furious, do I?  It’s a love that many of us already share.

This brought me to the end of my Saturday night opportunities for bad jokes and good beer.   With that, I bid a mostly fond adieu with a Cheers to you…be you athiest, Amish, drunk, pregnant or all of the above.

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~ by KJ on April 15, 2012.

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