Alright, 2019 is over, and I’m done messing around.
Last month, I went on a much-needed Miller High Life diet, but now I’m back on the hard stuff, by which I mean high-ABV double IPAs made at the tippy top of the Mississippi River. No more drinking out of the toaster oven. Time to pay homage to the beermakers in my neighborhood.
Luckily, the breweries I slighted in favor of macro swill were hard at work as the calendar turned, leaving no shortage of new, exciting beers to kick off the year. If this month’s Local Suds is evidence of anything, it’s that 2020 is gonna be another banner year for Minnesota craft beer. Maybe I’ll need two months of High Life to compensate...
Lake Monster Art Shanty Chocolate Porter
Porter, 5.2% ABV, 12 IBU
If you love the annual Art Shanty Projects, there’s no more delicious way to support this art fair on ice than to grab a six pack of Lake Monster’s new Art Shanty Chocolate Porter. A portion of sales from this delectable stout brewed with cacao nibs goes to support the Art Shanties, which will take place on Lake Harriet (or Bde Unma, if you’re nasty) from January 18 through February 9. Lake Monster’s supportive dark ale is bready and warm, a good fortifier for an afternoon spent on the frozen lake. But at only 5.2% ABV, it won’t put an anchor in your belly. Take this one with you like a St. Bernard with a barrel on its collar.
ONE Fermentary Hugs N’ High Fives
Hazy IPA, 8.7% ABV, n/a IBU
Is Hugs N’ High Fives the first beer you should try when you go to ONE Fermentary, the new experimental brewpub in North Loop? Perhaps start with a lager, but definitely work your way up to this juiced-out IPA. Co-owner and head brewer Ramsey Louder claims this is the beer he’s most proud of in ONE’s brief existence for the way its haze is sustained, purposeful, and totally absent of the chalky floaters you see falling out of most trend-chasing New Englands. The usual suspects of Simcoe, Strata, and Citra hop are all here, bolstering the mouth-watering grapefruit flavors, but hot damn if this fresh-squeezed sipper doesn’t go down easy.
Talking Waters Off the Record
Hazy IPA,7% ABV, n/a IBU
This Montevideo-made hazy IPA has been around since September, but it’s worth breaking your Dry January to finally give it a try. Talking Waters calls Off the Record “crushable” on the can, but at 7% ABV, it’s a little too fortified to drink with abandon. All you need is one serving to taste the brewery’s mastery of Nelson Sauvin, Citra, and Motueka hops, though. This is a churning wave of grapefruit that crests sip after sip.
BlackStack/Modist Certified Pre-Owned
Double milkshake IPA, 8% ABV, n/a IBU
Drippy hops and milky body. That just sounds like BlackStack Brewing, doesn’t it? Or Modist Brewing? How about both? The two purveyors of haze have joined forces for Certified Pre-Owned, a familiar-feeling double dry-hopped IPA. There is a twist here, though: There’s no actual lactose in this joint brew. Instead, the pair got together at Modist to brew up some oat milk and then took it home to repurpose it into this head-turning juicebox. BlackStack’s four-hop variety is out in cans now, as is Modist’s, which bears the name Floor Model and a million cryo hops.
Hazy IPA, 8% ABV, 27 IBU
Another hazy IPA?!? You’re goddamn right. Even Duluth’s Blacklist Brewing, famous for their Belgian ales, have gotten in on the trend, but they’re doing it on their own terms with CraHAZY. Part of their Brewer’s Series, this festive take on the New England IPA incorporates cranberry juice into the mix, undercutting the soft, fuzzy hop flavor with the berry’s natural bitterness. The adjunct also turns the beer slightly pink, quickly differentiating this well-balanced haze bomb from the rest of the field at first glance.
Brewers interested in being featured in Local Suds should email [email protected].