Friday, March 25, 2011

Beer of the Week (Vol. XClll)

Another edition of Beer of the Week brought to you by the top shelf folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can help you push the limits of the wide world of wine, whiskey, and beer.

Beer Advocate recently updated their List of the Top 100 Beers from the Midwest which included brewers in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Going through the list beer by beer, I would guess that I’ve tried around thirty-seven or thirty-eight of the brews. It’s a little hard to determine exactly because a whopping 23 beers on the list are produced by Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis. I’ve been to Town Hall numerous times over the years and sampled a good many of their offerings, but when it comes to remembering names things get a little fuzzy.

It’s interesting to note that over half the beers on the list--fifty-three—come from only three brewers. In addition to Town Hall’s twenty-three selections, sixteen beers from Surly are included, and fourteen from Boulevard Brewing in Kansas. I’ve had a few Boulevards in my time, but only one of the fourteen that were rated highly. You’ll notice that many of the beers on the list are seasonal or specialty offerings, so if you don’t live near the brewery your chances of having tasted one are limited. For example of the six Summit beers listed, only one is part of their year round offering. Their Oatmeal Stout has a limited production and the other four beers on the list are part of their Unchained Series.

One brewery whose beer I haven’t yet had a chance to savor is the St. Louis Brewery which produces Schlafly beers. I’ve heard good things about Schlafly and judging by this list they must be true since ten Schlafly offerings rated in the Midwest’s top one hundred. Gotta find a way to get me some of that.

Beer Advocate also lists the Top 100 Beers of the Great Lakes which includes the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. A quick perusal indicates that I’ve tried about twenty of these beers. More than a few from Wisconsin, but none from The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. in Chippewa Falls.

Despite not cracking Beer Advocate's top 100 list, Leinie's does earn a place in our Beer of the Week with a special offering. Leinenkugel’s Limited returns:

Craft beer enthusiasts are in for a surprise addition to the beer case this season with the return of longtime fan favorite, Leinenkugel’s Limited. First brewed in 1986, the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company will reintroduce Leinenkugel’s Limited, the brewer’s first ever craft beer, for a limited time beginning Feb. 1.

Leinenkugel’s Limited, which receives numerous passionate fan requests daily via online and mail, was first introduced 25 years ago as a fall seasonal and became a year-round offering in 1990 in response to immense popularity. In 1995, Leinie Limited was re-named Northwoods Lager to more accurately reflect the brew’s year-round, “unlimited” availability. In hibernation since 2000, the beer was most recently offered for a short time in 2008.

Brown bottle. Sharp lookin black and white label with traditional font and classic Leinie logo.

Style: Lager

Alcohol by Volume: 4.9%

COLOR (0-2): Gold and clear. 2

AROMA (0-2): Light sweet malt and bready. 1

HEAD (0-2): White color. Good volume, but fades quickly. Decent lacing. 1

TASTE (0-5): Malty, grainy, slightly bitter with a touch of honey. Well-carbonated with a thin mouthfeel. Light-bodied and very drinkable. 3

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Follow through nicely. 2

OVERALL (0-6): A decent little lager from Leinenkugel's. I'm not sure if its disappearance really merits pining over, but it's a refreshing, easy drinking beer with just enough flavor to get by. 3

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 12