Bluegrass Beer at Mason's: A bourbon-laced, blizzard-proof drink of the week
Magic happens when bourbon and dark beer mingle in a mason jar.
Bluegrass Beer Mason's Restaurant & Barre $8
'Twas the first snowstorm of the season, and all through downtown, people scurried to find a stiff drink to down.
So was the case when we stumbled, frozen and stiff-legged, into Mason's Restaurant & Barre. Sitting on the corner of 6th and Hennepin, flanked by the flashier, pricier behemoths typical of this entertainment alley, this upstart eatery was a welcome respite. Warmly lit exposed brick, muted natural colors and wood, and a plethora of items in mason jars made for a cozy introduction, but the bar, with its love seat for two, sleek wood paneling (from the dearly departed 400 Bar), and hearty beer cocktails sealed the deal.
Beer cocktails, while by no means a new concept, are nonetheless difficult to execute beyond your standard Boilermaker. Barkeep Dave, while sadly not sporting his signature side ponytail, was helpful in steering the beer cocktail course. The Bluegrass was billed as "a little more kick in the teeth" than the also-recommended Guinness-Chambord Black Raspberry, which is "better to satisfy a sweet tooth."
Naturally, the Bluegrass beer comes served in a mason jar, dark and rich with a thick white head. The first sip has sweet cherry on the nose and a creamy mouth feel reminiscent of a freshly made root beer float. Made with Black Butte porter from Deschutes, Jack Daniels, a splash of cherry bitters and a hint of Minnesota maple syrup, this boozy beer is unexpectedly complex and as American as cherry pie with a big scoop of Cool Whip on top.
Sip this tall, dark, and handsome number alongside anything you can dip in Mason's spicy "hot hammy" sauce, or order up a few drunk cherries (leftovers from a bottle of moonshine, 3 for $1) to toss in or savor solo. 'Tis officially the season of towed cars and bruised tailbones, so let Mason's Bluegrass Beer fortify your spirit, the better to spread good cheer when you have to hit those mean streets.
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