Saturday, April 28, 2012

Beer of the Week (Vol. CXLIV)

Another edition of Beer of the Week sponsored as always by the super staff at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who the powers to help you find the wine, whiskey, and beer to save the day.

Among local brewers that have emerged in the last decade, one of my favorites is Rush River Brewing Company:

Rush River Brewing Company in River Falls, WI provides locally brewed ales throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota. Owner/Brewers Nick Anderson and Dan Chang started the company in 2004 with the help of a third partner, Robbie Stair after relocating to Minneapolis from Seattle. Robbie owned a farm in scenic Maiden Rock, WI just above the confluence of the Rush River and Lake Pepin. After converting a pole barn into a fully functioning brewery, the trio produced a limited quantity of draft-only beers while steadily building a reputation for brewing high quality ales. After two and a half years of growth, it became evident that bottled beer was the next move to be made. Luckily, the town of River Falls, WI came to the table with an offer to build a custom building for a brand new brewery. In 2007, the new facility opened its doors with the addition of a refurbished bottling line, and additional fermenters. The new Rush River brewery was now poised to increase production and distributorship. We now have ten distributors in two states and produce nine brands including seasonals. Our small size still allows us to experiment with new styles, while the larger capacity for brewing and storage keep our regular brands flowing out the door.

We produce only unfiltered and unpasteurized ales. This more traditional method of brewing means that we need to stay local to keep our product at peak freshness. Without the filtering of our beer, which strips out the yeast and valuable flavor profiles, it is necessary to keep our products cool at all times. We don’t stabilize our beers with pasteurization so our ales are a fresh, natural product and we sell only locally to keep our flavor profiles intact. Each bottle and keg will have residual amounts of brewers yeast and proteins in the beer oftentimes giving it a slightly cloudy appearance in the glass. It also contributes to a heartier mouthfeel which is characteristic of a naturally brewed beer. Our brands are full flavored and stand up very well both in cooking and pairing with food. Our goal is to remain at the forefront of small batch, locally brewed ales. We brew for locals only concentrating on consistency of product and innovation of ingredients. We hope you try all of our styles, and enjoy them responsibly.

My first experience with Rush River was enjoying one of their Unforgiven Amber Ales on tap at Figlio’s in Uptown. It was obvious from the get go that Rush River was committed to producing high quality beers that would challenge your taste buds. Since that time, I’ve had the pleasure of quaffing most of their regular and seasonal offerings and haven’t been disappointed yet.

Beers from Rush River only became available at Glen Lake Wine and Spirits last year and so I haven’t yet had a chance to feature one as the Beer of the Week. That changes today with a review of their spring seasonal Über Alt:

Our Alt is a much stronger version of the traditional Dusseldorf Altbiers. An ancient style from the Rhineland, Altbiers are ales that were virtually wiped out by German lagers in the 1800’s. We use plenty of European hops and German pilsner malts to brew a remarkably clean beer. We then rest it in the cooler for two months to achieve the mellow finish that is the Überalt’s trademark.

Alt beers are an unappreciated style here in the United States and they can be hard to come by. The fact that a top notch brewer like Rush River produces an alt (and an uber one at that) is reason enough for cheer.

$10.99 for a six-pack. The label follows the standard Rush River design with a baby blue and maron color combo. There’s also an umlauted U and Germanic looking eagle to represent the style.



COLOR (0-2): Copper brown and well-clouded. 2

AROMA (0-2): Malty and somewhat peaty. 2

HEAD (0-2): Bright white color, good volume, laces glass nicely. 2

TASTE (0-5): Toasted malts with caramel and nuts. Very smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Clean and dry finish. Light to medium bodied. The heat is almost completely hidden and it’s quite drinkable. 4

AFTERTASTE (0-2): Lingers pleasantly. 2

OVERALL (0-6): Another excellent beer from Rush River. It has all the unique qualities that make alt beers delicious and refreshing taken to another level. It goes down surprisingly easy considering the complex flavors and alcohol content. 4

TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 16