This year, resolve to drink better.
Not less. Certainly not more. Better. Challenge yourself. Shift the parameters of your comfort zone. Try beers you never thought you’d enjoy. Then try them again. If you dislike a style, attempt to nail down the reasons why. Pick apart the reasons you enjoy another. Stop being so comfortable.
Local beer culture has shifted dramatically over the past few years, and if you aren’t shifting with it, you’re going to be left behind. Education is re-education, so in 2018, push yourself to drink with more purpose. Explore, and start your exploration here, with five new beers to kick off the new year.
Pryes Dublin Dry Stout
Stout, 4.5% ABV, 35 IBU
North Minneapolis’ Pryes Brewing is two months early to St. Paddy’s Day. Released on January 13, their Dublin Dry Stout is a clear challenger to Guinness. Its bready, frothy head and clean-finishing taste are on par with the Irish standby, but Dublin Dry Stout is less of a burden to drink.
It goes down creamy, roasty, and satisfying, never filling you up as much as you’d think an opal-bodied stout would. At 4.5% ABV, it’s a little bit boozier than a pint of ebony nectar, but it’s still plenty sessionable. Dublin Dry Stout will be on tap at Pryes through St. Patrick’s Day, after which it will be replaced by the next beer in the brewery’s ongoing Small Batch Series.
Inbound Barrel-Aged Wild Rice Porter
Imperial porter, 8.1% ABV, 30 IBU
The folks over at Inbound BrewCo have been busy since releasing their crowlers in late 2017, and they greeted the new year with a pair of barrel-aged variants of their most popular brews: Russian Imperial Stout and Wild Rice Porter. Of the two, the bourbon-barrel-aged WRP is the standout, brimming with the earthy grain flavors of the rice and vanilla and maple from the Heaven Hill bourbon barrel.
An ideal after-dinner beer, BA WRP drinks slow and warm. It’s a little hot from the ramped-up booze, and the sensation of bourbon is preserved through the entire sip. Taproom supplies of this special release have waned, so look for black-wax-capped bottles of BA WRP on the shelves of your local retailer.
Bad Weather Munich Dunkel Lager
Lager, 5.4% ABV, 20 IBU
In a climate of ever-hazing trend brewing, St. Paul’s Bad Weather Brewing has been on a streak of strong traditional brews. First was their weizenbock, and now comes their Munich Dunkel Lager, which debuted on January 14. Bad Weather’s Dunkel is as classic as it gets -- crisp, malty, and clean as a brewmeister’s lauter tun.
There’s a hint of candy flavor in the beer’s near-translucent body, and it pours with a bready froth. But other than that, it’s a beer that stands on its own merit, no gimmicks. A German-style pilsner and maibock are both in the works at Bad Weather Brew, so traditionalists should keep their eyes on the brewery’s social media channels for those releases in the coming months.
Day Block Astro Pale Ale
IPA, 6.1% ABV, 60 IBU
Day Block Brewing’s Bands that Brew series is one of the most inventive small-batch releases going in the Twin Cities beer scene. For their latest edition, the folks at Day Block invited trippy indie band Astronomique into the brewhouse to collaborate with head brewer Adam Weis on an everything-but-the-kitchen sink IPA that’s brewed with Belgian yeast and, in Weis’s words, “a shitload” of flaked rye.
Astro Pale Ale erupts with the clove esters of the Belgian yeast, though the body is as orange as mango. The sweet, slightly spicy rye flavor abounds, eating up the beer’s chinook, amarillo, and cascade hops. It’s a very atypical IPA, but then again, Astronomique is an atypical band. Astro Pale Ale drops at the band’s show at Day Block tonight.
Tin Whiskers Belgian Tripel
Belgian tripel, 8.2% ABV, n/a IBU
The previous entry in Tin Whiskers’ ongoing Fourier Series was a Belgian dubbel, and by total coincidence, the St. Paul brewery is following up with a golden Belgian tripel starting today. The single barrel of Belgian Triple that TW produced will not last long, but this is one Fourier entry that’s not to be missed.
Belgian Tripel is beautiful and light, finishing with a little paleness. The aroma is a bouquet of spice and fruit -- somewhere between banana and anise or apricot and cardamom. But the most intoxicating thing about the beer is its color. Unfiltered yet totally clear, it glows like an amulet handed to you from a friar’s keep. The TW team estimates Belgian Tripel will only last until Monday, but they have a cream ale coming to replace it on January 25.
Brewers interested being featured in Local Suds should email [email protected]