Another better late than never edition of Beer of the Week sponsored as always by the festive folks at Glen Lake Wine & Spirits who can help find the wine, whiskey, and beer you need to celebrate the season in style.
As has been previously noted, there’s definitely a brewing renaissance underway in Minnesota these days. New breweries are opening left and right while their more established brethren continue to expand and improve their offerings.
The weekend before last, we visited the tap house at the relatively new Excelsior Brewing Company in…wait for it…Excelsior. The folks there seem to have a well-run operation and we were impressed by the number of people who stopped by to sample their wares and check out their merchandise. They only had three beers available that day and my favorite was the seasonal Bitteschläppe Brown Ale. This Satuday, they’ll be hosting their first Oktoberfest:
This Saturday, October 13th, we will be hosting our First Annual Oktoberfest at the brewery!
Start your day with the debut of our Excelsior Oktoberfest Märzen, while working on your Hammerschlagen skills under our outdoor tent. Once 2:00 hits, belly up to the stage to hear Tim Mahoney of NBC’s “The Voice” belt out an outstanding acoustic set. Once you have your appetite in place, come grab some delicious food provided by Maynard’s and Patisserie Margo. A couple brats, some strudel and a homemade pretzel later, you’ll be ready to get your polka on with another brew!
After you grab a Bitteschläppe Brown Ale, head on back to the stage to hear Thee Unholy 3 unleash their awesome brand of Surf Rock on your ears at 4:00. All this drinking and eating got your lederhosen in a bunch? Come on out and polka throughout the day, with live German accordion playing in between sets!
XLCR Pale Ale and Big Island Blond Ale will also be on tap, so come grab a beer boot (or two) and load up on a couple more beers as well!
While the event is all ages, wristbands will be handed out at the door. Beer tickets will be $5 each and for the price of $20, you can grab a 1.0 L boot of beer AND take the boot home with you!
I also recently had a chance to try a Three Tree American Rye from Badger Hill Brewery in Minnetonka. I’m usually a big fan of rye ales, but found this effort to be rather pedestrian and disappointing. One beer does not a brewer make and I hope that Badger will be able to step up their game with future releases.
One Minnesota brewery that is not a new kid on the block is Lake Superior Brewing Companyin Duluth. Lake Superior was established in 1994 and has been producing good quality beers ever since. Their Oktoberfest is tour Beer of the Week:
Oktoberfest (fall) German hops float atop a rich caramel malt base to provide the perfect accompaniment to a loaded bratwurst – perhaps grilled over a bonfire of chopped birch and fallen leaves. It won Gold at the 2009 World Beer Championships. Available in 12oz. bottles.
12oz brown bottle goes for $7.99 for a six pack. Standard Lake Superior seasonal label design with green background.
ALCOHOL BY VOLUME: 6.0%
COLOR (0-2): Copper brown and a little cloudy. 2
AROMA (0-2): Mostly sweet malt with some toffee and a little spice. 2
HEAD (0-2): Decent volume, fluffy, and white in color. 2
TASTE (0-5): Sweet toasted malts nicely complimented by rich nutty flavors and caramel. A bit of hops as well. Mouthfeel is on the creamy side and the body is medium. Drinkable with a smooth finish. 3
AFTERTASTE (0-2): The sweetness lingers pleasantly without being overbearing. 2
OVERALL (0-6): More smooth and easy going than most Marzens with a good palate of flavors. I’m typically not that taken with Oktoberfest beers, but I found this one quite good. It’s a fall beer that fits the season well. 3
TOTAL SCORE (0-19): 14