Saturday, September 6, 2014

Land of 10,000 Beers

Next stop on the trip was Minneapolis. I was born there, but we moved to California when I was quite young. I went to see relatives from time to time during my youth. And since my daughter attended university, and now works, there, I have visited several times in the past six or seven years.

My visit this past summer coincided with the Minnesota State Fair. We went out early and saw an amazing number of chickens, pigs, cows, sheep, horses, and even a few guanaco. We also observed the rabbit judging up close, but I had no idea what the judges were looking (or rather, feeling) for.

However, there was one section of the fair that had something that I knew a bit more about.

For the third year, the ‘Land of 10,000 Beers’ Craft Beer Hall exhibit was held in the Agriculture/Horticulture building. It was designed to “showcase the best of Minnesota’s craft beer industry and detail the brewing process all the way from the farm to the pint glass.”
I more or less skipped those details and went straight for the glass.

There were four types of flights available: Hoppy, Dark, Light and Belgian. For $8, one received generous, maybe 4-5oz., pours of four beers. During the fair (Aug. 21 to Sep. 1), more than 130 different local beers from 35 breweries were served

Here are a few of the more interesting ones we had:

Schell Noble Star #3 - North Country Brünette
Sour fruit aroma wafting up, some floral notes, spice, and Brett yeast. The flavor was light and vinegary, with some funk, and a gentle finish. It was thin and lightly astringent. Nice enough. Doesn’t really push the boundaries, but it was well made. Good to see Schell trying out more unusual styles.

Indeed Sweet Yamma Jamma Ale
Indeed is one of my favorite breweries in Minneapolis. This one had a light floral earthy aroma, with some spiciness, including nutmeg and cinnamon. The initial sips brought spice right away, with sweet maltiness, some grain, light bitterness, and an earthy finish. The sweet potato added a special sort of mouthfeel and body. Actually, it tasted more like a Belgian ale than a spice/herb beer.

Flat Earth Bermuda Triangle Tripel
This strong one had a yeasty nose, with light fruit, apples, pears, and some light esters. A very sweet initial flavor, full of concentrated fruit, honey, and sugar. Quite good. Fruity, estery, and rich.

… and, as we were leaving, we had just one more, this one a classic Midwest tipple…

Leinenkugels Original
Tiny grassy aroma, with some light sweetish malt. Flavors of gentle sweet malt, honey, and very little bittering, with a super-mild finish. Thin, clean and crisp. A teeny step up from the macro stuff. I can see how this might be a Midwest college bar favorite.

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