Every month, I try to feature the newest beers in Local Suds. But what “new” entails probably needs some unpacking.
Yes, the classic definition of the word—never before sold—is the idea I strive for. But newness has manifest meanings in the beer world. Beers debut and re-debut. They’re tested and reformatted, delivered in ways that may not be new to the producer but absolutely are to the customer.
In this month’s edition, I pay homage to the beers that aren’t new but re-new. Beers that have gone into hibernation and returned. Beers stepping out from the taproom for the first time. Beers that were so loved upon release that they just had to come back and be new all over again.
Tin Whiskers Nut Goodie Porter
Porter, 6% ABV, 80 IBU
Tin Whiskers’ one-off collaboration with Pearson’s Candy won Best Collaboration at the 2018 Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild Autumn Brew Review, and now it’s getting a chance to wow on a much wider scale. Released as part of the brewery’s ongoing Spark Series, Nut Goodie Porter has returned, claiming to be “the quintessential Saint Paul porter.” Does being overrun with decadent flavors of peanut butter and maple make you quintessential? Does going down with the smoothness of dimestore chocolate malt? If so, this beer is only one key aspect from being quintessential: It needs to be a full-time offering.
Summit Dark Infusion
Coffee milk stout, 8.5% ABV, 40 IBU
Two years ago, I called Dark Infusion “a goddamn masterpiece.” Since that praise was published, Summit unceremoniously axed the much-loved Unchained Series that birthed the beer—but there appears to be a survivor. Dark Infusion has been reincarnated, springing back from the void on a backbone of Blackeye Roasting Company coldbrew and a bunch of lactose added in the kettle. It’s a deeply roasty, utterly indulgent return to form for Summit, especially given that more recent additions to the line (Lazy Sipper, Skip Rock, and especially Cranky Woodsman) have only shined a light on how badly the innovation of the Unchained Series is missed over on Montreal Circle.
Lake Monster Apricot Gose Sour Ale
Gose, 4.9% ABV, 10 IBU
I actually tried to feature Apricot Gose Sour Ale in Local Suds back in January, but the beer ran out so quickly that I missed my chance. Now, the folks at Lake Monster are making good on their customers’ demands and bringing the fruited German sour back as a seasonal 12 oz. can. Tasting more like candied apricot than the fresh version, Apricot Gose is a big punch of flavor, equal parts sweet and sour. It leads with one of the fullest noses I’ve seen out of Lake Monster and finishes with a full wheaty body. Apricot Gose kicks off a seasonal canned sour program for Lake Monster, and its release is joined by two fellow rebirths: a juicier reformulation of Buddy Check and the rebranded Como Claw (formerly Calhoun Claw).
Helles lager, 4.7% ABV, n/a IBU
Fans of the Reinheitsgebot and gemütlichkeit alike are probably already familiar with Homeguys, the crackery true-to-style Helles lager that’s acted as Bauhaus’s house beer since last summer. On October 15, Homeguys moved out of the taproom and is available in 6 and 12 packs of 12 oz. cans, meaning you can suck down high volumes of this wonderfully translucent bit of German hospitality. Finished with a bit of Magnum and Huell Melon hops, Homeguys has a very light herbacity that makes it a satisfying repeat drinker. And here’s the obligatory hilarious promotional video to go along with the release, in case that description didn’t talk you into it.
LynLake Suck Me Sideways
Sour ale, 4.4% ABV, n/a IBU
Is LynLake’s Suck Me Sideways, their tart-as-all-hell raspberry sour ale returning to taps this month, the most eloquently named beer? Certainly not. Is it potent and aggressive enough to inspire its namesake exclamation? Damn right. Three-hundred pounds of fresh raspberries go into each batch of Suck Me Sideways, giving the beer a deep candied flavor that plays perfectly into the kettle sour funk. But what separates this release from previous iterations is that you can now get LynLake beers in crowlers—meaning you can pick up 750 mL of this farm-fresh lip-smacker and avoid the embarrassment of getting puckerfaced in the taproom.
Brewers interested in being featured in Local Suds should email [email protected].