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Local Suds: 5 Minnesota beers to drink in January

Photos by Jerard Fagerberg

Photos by Jerard Fagerberg

Do you have a friend kicking off 2019 with Dry January?

Try not to give them too much guff. Even in this age of relatively moderate, responsible beer drinking, maintaining a healthy relationship with alcohol can be difficult. Though the stigma of high-volume drinking remains, the craft and locavore revolution has helped many rationalize over-consumption as a consumer virtue.

We can argue that abstinence has never been a feasible road to moderation, but Dry January stems from a need to reassert control, and being in control of your drinking is paramount. Take care of yourself—not just in January—but in all of 2019. Drink good beer, like these ones listed, and do it in a way that respects the brewery, the brewer, and yourself.

Fair State/Barrel Theory Mister Falcon
Hazy IPA, 7.3% ABV, n/a IBU

Now that Fair State and Barrel Theory both have a Surly alumni connection, it only made sense for the Twin Cities powerhouses to team up and do what they do best: brew hazy IPAs. Mister Falcon brings them together with a truckload of Citra, Strata and cryo Columbus hops between them, the elements joining together for a turbid brew. Mister Falcon isn’t crazy, in-your-face juicy, but the Citra does its job, letting Strata and Columbus drive a light undertone of resin. Hopheads should be falling all over themselves to get a pint of this limited release, so if you see it on shelves, act fast.

Inbound Contains Nuts
Milk stout, 5.4% ABV, 25 IBU

The North Loop’s Inbound BrewCo doesn’t name their beers until they hit cans or bottles. Lately, their peanut butter milk stout has been catching on in the taproom, so the crew decided to christen the silky creation "Contains Nuts" and release it in tallboy cans starting January 7. Brewed with heaps of golden peanut butter, Contains Nuts is as smooth and rich as a Reese’s. But the beer’s light, refreshing finish and 5.4% ABV won’t bog you down like many pastry stouts on the market today. Contains Nuts is Inbound’s first seasonal can, so add some to your stash before the brewery does away with it this spring.

Castle Danger North Shore Lager
Vienna lager, 5.3% ABV, n/a IBU

Castle Danger is like a Greatest Hits collection of European-style beers, but one entry that’s been missing from their catalog is the Vienna-style lager. This winter, they’re correcting that with North Shorer Lager, a by-the-books banger of a beer that’s just been added to their year-round release schedule. North Shore Lager is slightly nutty and rich with dark, sugary malts. This standby amber lager has a lot in common with Sam Adams' Boston Lager, and like that Massachusetts flagship, it aims to be the go-to beer for revelers along Superior’s North Shore.

Omni Double Raspberry Double Vanilla Milkshake IPA
Milkshake IPA, 7% ABV, n/a IBU

When Omni started their breakout Malt Shop series in late 2017, they dropped Raspberry Milkshake IPA and posted to their drinkers: “what more could you ask for?” More than a year later, they’ve answered that question with the even-more-over-the-top Double Raspberry Double Vanilla Milkshake IPA. The latest Malt Shop has a much more noticable vanilla flavor than its predecessor. But in the end of the day, it’s that raspberry puree (over a pound and a half per gallon) that overrides every facet of the beer. The body looks like a loosely blended glass of raspberries, and there’s so much fruit in there, you’ll wonder if it’s beer at all.

612 Don’t Call It a Comeback
Double IPA, 9.1% ABV, n/a IBU

A shakeup is in the works at Northeast’s 612Brew, and the first harbinger of things to come is the brand-new limited-time offering Don’t Call It a Comeback. A bright and clear double-dry-hopped double IPA, DCIAC is a sexy, sexy beer that features the rare Nelson Sauvin hop prominently in the nose as well as the finish. Watch out for the 9.1% ABV, though. This double-double hides its booziness in waves of juicy, fruity flavor.

Brewers interested in being featured in Local Suds should email [email protected].