Friday, May 21, 2010

Beer of the Week (Vol. LVI)

Another edition of Beer of the Week brought to you by the neighborly folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits. The thinking globally bit is up to you, they can definitely assist with the drinking locally part.

Given that we're currently in the midst of celebrating American Craft Beer Week and the first ever Minnesota Craft Beer Week, it's pretty much a no-brainer that our beer of the week is going to be an offering from one of the local micro brewers. It's also a good time to take a closer look at the state of the craft brewing movement here in the North Star state.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm happy to report that the state of our craft beer industry is strong. In fact, it's the almost undoubtedly the strongest it's ever been. Last week, I mourned the demise of James Page Brewing, one of the local craft brewing pioneers. It entered the scene close to the same time that Summit did, but never enjoyed anywhere near the success that the St. Paul brewery--now the local craft brewing godfather--did. There were other local micros that also went the way of James Page like Ambelside, Glacial Lakes, and Abe's (still have a couple of their wooden six-pack holders) and it wasn't certain that anyone other than Summit would not only survive, but thrive. The only other craft brewer with a decent presence was Lake Superior up in Duluth.

But the last five years been a renaissance time for Minnesota micro brewers. Brau Brothers in Lucan and Matorville Brewing in Mantorville (duh) have joined Lake Superior on the outstate stage. In the Twin Cities, we've seen the emergence of Flat Earth Brewing in St. Paul, Lift Bridge Brewing in Stillwater, and of course Surly Brewing in Brooklyn Center. If Summit is the godfather of the local craft brewing family, Surly is the cool cousin with the spiked hair and tattoos who plays in a rock band. More recently, beer from Fulton Brewing has been showing up at more and more places around town and a couple of more seem poised on the horizon with Harriet Brewing and 612 Brew looking to break through. It is indeed a good time for good beer in Minnesota.

And that bring us to the Beer of the Week. This week's feature is Farm Girl Saison from Lift Bridge Brewery in tony Stillwater, Minnesota.

Brown bottle. Classic looking label with a picture of Thirties era farm girl fraternizing with cows in a field.

Beer Style: Belgian Saison

Alcohol by Volume: 6.0%

COLOR (0-2): Gold and nicely clouded. 2

AROMA (0-2): Malty with light scents of bread and fruit. 2

HEAD (0-2): Sharp white color, light volume and decent lacing. 1

TASTE (0-5): Mostly malt and yeast flavors with hints of spice and citrus. Crisp and light-bodied. Refreshing and very drinkable. 3

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Dry but somewhat empty. 1

OVERALL (0-6): As mentioned before, I'm not usually a big fan of the saison style. But Lift Bridge's Farm Girl Saison is a nice little beer. Even though it's a year-round offering, it best suited for warmer temps. A good beer to add to your summer drinking list. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 13