Helping my brother move was the good thing to do, but there is always an ulterior motive when I so easily offer my help. The four hour drive there and back was made worthwhile because of the Twin Cities’ beer scene.
Surly Bender and Cynic Ale
Surly Brewing in Brooklyn Center is a fixture of the Minneapolis craft beer scene. Not readily available outside of the Twin Cities area I went up to move my brother with the intent of bringing home some beer to drink.
First up is Surly Cynic Ale:
Described by the good people as Surly as “a fizzy, yellow beer in a can” you can rest assured that the beer is much more complex than a can of PBR. The Columbus hops really come through, in my opinion, in the aftertaste on the back of the tongue. Not in a bad way, but it is a surprise from a beer that drinks so easily at the beginning.
Second is Surly Bender Ale:
This beer also has some surprises. It drinks much easier than its color would suggest, almost like the easy drinking stouts. There is little of the overhopped character that would be suggested by the use of Willamette and Columbus hops. I was prepared to not be a fan, anticipating an overhopped craft ale but Bender surprised.
Northern Brewer’s Minneapolis Store
During the time I spent in college in Minneapolis, I biked past the Northern Brewer store in St. Paul probably a hundred times and never paid it one lick of attention—different priorities. Now, there is a store in another of my old haunts near the Crosstown on Lyndale in south Minneapolis. It is soooo convenient to where I usually stay when I am in the area.
The store is a mecca for the homebrewer. It has only been open since Black Friday of this year, but the place is in fine form. This is not the dusty, unorganized shop that many of us have begrudgingly sifted through in desperate hopes of beer nirvana. Nope, this is the kind of store that could inspire people to pursue homebrewing as a passion.
On strict instructions not to go overboard on ingredients—due to the Belgian wit about to be bottled and the two cases of roggenbier still waiting to be consumed—I walked out with a reasonable quantity of products. The big experiment for me in my next batch is using Wyeast 1272 American Ale II. I have had good luck with Wyeast 1056 American Ale, but I was intrigued by 1272’s habit of being more flocculent than 1056. A concern I have about 1272 is that it finishes “softer” so the flavors might be a little muddier. The only solution is to brew some up.
You know you have become a homebrew nerd when words like flocculation and attenuation have entered into your normal vocabulary.
Olvade Farm and Brewing Company
At the liquor store, my brother pointed out a corked beer called Auroch’s Horn from the Olvalde Farm & Brewing Company. Why? Apparently some people we know in southeastern Minnesota are the ones behind the new brewery in Rollingstone, Minnesota.
When my brother comes down this weekend for the holidays he is going to bring a few bottles. Report to come.