brew52, weeks 14, 16

Schell Maifest, Summit Maibock:

Put a Schell Maifest and a Summit Maibock side by side last night, in an effort to get caught up around here.

They looked about the same, pretty blonde color, decent head on both. Nice mouthfeel, excellent flavor (I like the maibocks). No disappointments with either one. The Maifest was a little sweeter than the Maibock.

Both these beers appropriately provide a great transition from my winter beer preference (dark, heavy and sweet) to my summer beer preference (lighter, hoppier). I’m pretty happy that we have more around the house.

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action, taken

I went bowling today for TakeAction Minnesota's Bowling for Victory.

When the announcement was made that the next strike would be worth a free pitcher of beer, I took action, Minnesota.

Here I am with TakeAction Minnesota Executive Do-Gooder Dan McGrath, and the prize.

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brew52, week 13

Flat Earth Winter Warlock:

Some of my favorite beers are English barley wines.

I can’t quite figure out what it is with this beer, and it’s been the same with the other Flat Earth beers: Close, but not quite what they’re presumably shooting for. And not quite what I’d be eager to drink again.

I know I want more body, more flavor and more finish from a barley wine. I don’t know. I feel kind of bad slagging it, ’cause it sounds like the brewers are decent folk.

I guess it left me uninspired. Thus, probably the dullest review I’ve ever written on here…

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brew52, week 12

Finnegans Irish Amber:

My grandmother’s maiden name was Sullivan. Her father dropped the O’ when he came to the US.

In ancient times, the O’Sullivans of Tipperary and the Finnegans of Galway were enemies. Something about a Finnegan goat that went missing. Despite the distance between them, the Finnegans blamed an O’Sullivan and it sparked a bloody feud that lasted well into the 16th century.

As a descendant of the O’Sullivans, I was eager to do battle with this beer called Finnegans. It made very little sense and I stopped midway through. No, wait. That was Finnegans Wake.

Upon further reflection, I take that back. I, of course, am talking about Ulysses. Yes, I did mighty battle with Ulysses and lost.

But I rather enjoyed the beer.

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brew52, week 11

Anagram for Schell Pilsner Beer:

Rebel Princess Hell

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brew52, week 10

Lake Superior Special Ale:

Sonny and Cher, Gutter Twins, bbq chicken and white zinfandel, MySpace and News Corp, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? and Kitchen Nightmares, eMachines and Vista, HW and Reagan, Renault and AMC, you get the idea… right?

Mixing the boring with the bad.

The Special Ale. Ho hum. Yet another American-style pale ale. Booorrring. Seems like everybody makes one and they all taste more or less the same. It’s the new American-style lager. And though I may bitch, as thoroughly bored as I am with the style, I thought this was a pretty tasty example. I like it, it just bores me.

More interesting: I took last week’s beer, Frame Straightener, and mixed it with this one. It’s a good way to finish the rest of that Brau Brothers six pack.

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brew52, week 9

Brau Brothers Frame Straightener:

I'm a little late here, as last week the local beer to be had was Belikin.

I'm OK with the Frame Straightener. It tasted pretty good- I like fruity and yeasty- but I like more body and more finish (broken record). I put it in my mouth, I tasted something in there, then it was gone. Did I even swallow it? I think so, but I can't be sure.

On the other hand, the Belikin Stout was surprisingly tasty. I'd give it four stars.

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brew52, week 8

Flat Earth Cygnus X-1:

“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life…” -Ayn Rand


“Live for yourself. There’s no one else more worth living for. Begging hands and bleeding hearts will only cry out for more.”
“I set a course just east of Lyra and northwest of Pegasus. Flew into the light of Deneb, sailed across the Milky Way.” -Neil Peart


“This robust English style porter… has a creamy mocha chocolate flavor with a hint of spice.” -Flat Earth Brewing Company

Is this beer a delicious distillation of countless nineteen-year-olds’ favorite fantasy/philosophy? Or is it merely another bastard grandchild of a cold, bizarre Russian woman?

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brew 52, week 7

Surly Two:

A is for Al, who served me Surly Two at Blue Nile this evening. A pleasant fellow, to be sure.

B is for Better, which Two got as it warmed. It’s also for Body, of which Two has plenty. Oh, and Balance, which it has, too.

C is for Cranberry, which was definitely present, but not overpowering.

D is for Dessert, which is when I’d like to have another sometime.

E is for Evil, which is what I thought of the first sip. I had just brushed my teeth.

F is for Finish- tart and still roasty. Favorable.

G is for Good God, when will this end?

N is for Now.

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brew52, week 6

Herkimer Alt:


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brew52, week 5

Summit Winter Ale:

I just can’t get excited about this beer, which is too bad, because if I read its description somewhere, I’d tell myself that I ought to get some immediately.

I’ve been drinking this all winter, both at Tracy’s and at home. On my most recent pour at home, I managed about a finger of head. Lovely reddish-brown color. Smells like someone put roasted malt in there!

And then…

I don’t know. It just kind of tastes like a basic dark beer. Thin-to-medium body. It’s got decent malt-to-hops balance, with the roast flavor coming on fairly strong midway through and a mild, hoppy finish. It tastes like a light porter.

I like it. I drink it. I just can’t get excited about it.

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brew52, week 4

This week's beer: Surly Furious.

used to hate American hops… still think they’re overused, and still really prefer European hops, but as they say- when in Rome… have come around to grapefruity beer in the last couple years… also in the last couple years, don’t wear as much vintage clothing…

prefer to drink this beer in the summer… drank a lot last summer… nearly went broke…

lined up a Furious and a Bender side-by-side last Wednesday evening… more on that later, I’m sure… did not do well at trivia that night, but it’s not Surly’s fault… maybe…

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brew52, week 3

This week's beer: Flat Earth Belgian Pale Ale.


Thin body, decent taste, lousy finish.

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brew52, week 2

This week's beer: Gluek Honey Bock.

I wrote:

My dad was a camp director. Every summer until I was 17, my family would pack up and move to the shores of beautiful Lake Mudhen near Siren, WI.

Sometime around 1980, we got a brand new dining hall/bathroom facility and with it, a new septic tank. Previously, too many flushes in the old bathrooms and/or our neighbor draining his sewage into/under camp property would prove to be too much for the old septic tank and it would occasionally overflow. I can still remember raw sewage trickling down the hill. My dad dubbed it the Little Yellow River, a nod to the Yellow River, where we sometimes took the campers canoeing.

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One Minnesota beer every week.

I'm not a huge fan of a lot of our locally-produced beers, at least the ones that I can buy at the store, but this looked like fun, so Kassie and I hopped aboard the good-time train.

This week- Schell's Snowstorm. Here's what I wrote:

Sometime in autumn, the cold trips a switch in my body and I suddenly want cookies, cake, pie and darker, heavier, sweeter beer. Generally speaking, hoppy pale ales, lawnmower beers and tripels are out. Barley wines, imperial stouts, porters and dubbels are in.

A beer like this Snowstorm is what I want when it’s cold outside. It’s not the best dubbel I’ve ever had, but the flavor is there and the body is almost there. It tastes, looks and feels like a fairly typical dubbel. As it warms up, it’s getting better.

I don’t mind Schell beers, but I don’t often buy them. I would have been really surprised that I like a Schell’s offering as much as I do if I hadn’t read that others were surprised by how good it is.

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Two beers caught my eye at the liquor store the other day.

Hello Tyranena Hop Whore and Samuel Adams Hallertau Imperial Pilsner! This is the time of year when the sweet switch in my body gets flipped and I start to bake cookies and pies and get thirsty for heavy, sweet beers. Both of the beers above claim to be very hoppy- pretty much the opposite of sweet. But I bought them anyway. They are both as hoppy as advertised.

I noticed this summer that I suddenly enjoy beers hopped with American hops. In the past, I simply haven't enjoyed the grapefruity flavors that American hops provide. Surly Furious was a staple of my summer beer diet. (I still think American hops are overused, though. How can a beer be called an India Pale Ale if it uses American hops?)

This recent purchase affirmed that my deepest love is still for the European hops.

Kassie and I tried a couple Tyranena beers at the Autumn Brew Review. We liked them a lot, so when I saw the Hop Whore, I figured it would be a good bet. I was not mistaken. It's really good, and heavily hopped with grapefruity American hops.

But the Imperial Pilsner is the one for which I'll be making a trip to the store to purchase again. It's super-hopped, but not grapefruity. Hooray for Samuel Adams and German hops!

I just need to stave off the craving for the sweet beers for a little while longer.