Category: new beer

Ski-U-Mah! Finnegan’s Brews One (in time) for the Gophers (game)

Finnegan’s limited seasonal release Running with Axes is out just in time for this Saturday’s defense of Paul Bunyan’s Axe.

From the brewery:

“This weekend, the Minnesota Gophers will take on the Wisconsin Badgers in a fight to keep Paul Bunyan’s Axe right where it belongs. Football fans are certainly going to need a beer to calm the nerves and *fingers crossed* celebrate the win. That’s where FINNEGANS can help, with their “Running with Axes” beer, displaying the champion’s trophy in the hands of a Paul Bunyan-esque lumberjack. The IPA is brewed exclusively with Minnesota-grown Mighty Axe Hops, Maltwerks Malts grown in Detroit Lakes, MN, and is M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A strong with 6.8% ABV.”

The fetching plaid cans are available in stores now and will be available at TCF Bank Stadium for the game.

 

Review – Surly Frost Pack Newcomers

Mention Brut around this time of year and visions of iconic (and I use that term loosely) commercials and thoughts of endcaps full of personal care products bubble up in the brain. Apparently, the holidays are the one time a year people need to be reminded they might smell bad and should probably do something about that.

However, Brut – the green, long-necked bottle of seventh grade – is not what’s on topic here. Nor is Stetson, Preferred Stock or White Diamonds. I’m talking about Brut the style descriptor – usually of champagne/sparkling wine, but more recently used to describe a style of very dry, effervescent IPA. Surly has brewed their own version of this style, as well as (for the very first time) a genuine porter and put them in their winter variety twelve-pack. Please enjoy these tasting notes of warmth and celebration for your holiday season.

 

Surly Mortal Sun

American Porter

ABV – 5.5%

Aroma: Crisp and chocolatey with bitter coffee notes. You can tell it’s going to be dry right from the first whiff.

Appearance: Dark brown to black.   

Flavor: Dark chocolate and coffee. Very toasty body with sustained bitterness from start to finish.

Mouthfeel: Light on the palate and drinkable. This is not Darkness (i.e., heavy and sippable).

Overall Impression: If you don’t know what you’re getting from Surly by now, you haven’t been paying attention; a great representation of the style that is turned up to 11. 

 

Surly Liquid Stardust

Sparkling/Brut IPA

ABV – 7.0%

Aroma: Bitter and citrusy. Complex. 

Appearance: Between yellow and dark yellow. 

Flavor: There’s a lot to unpack here. Lemon peel slaps you in the face right away and the other fruity hop notes play underneath that banner – melon, mango and pineapple all popped out, but that lemon bitterness carried throughout. 

Mouthfeel: Not an understatement when they say incredibly crisp and dry. Very refreshing, but the bitterness makes you pace yourself. 

Overall Impression: I had to do a couple rounds of tasting to get a good impression of this one. This included stopping in the taproom and comparing it to the Brut IPA on tap there. There was a distinct difference between the two and I see why they chose to can this version. The multiple fruit undertones along with the bitterness make it a more interesting and tasty. 

A Wave of Flavor from Indeed Brewing

Indeed Brewing has never apologized for their love of hops and for the first time ever they are releasing a year-round IPA called Flavorwave. The can looks straight out of an 80s surfer movie and the contents beg for a day at the beach with palm trees underneath blue skies.

First there was Day Tripper, an IPA disguised as an American Pale Ale and one of two flagship beers (Midnight Ryder being the other) released by the brewery back in 2012. Then came their first IPA (a spring seasonal) called Let it Ride which was a big hit among local beer enthusiasts. Let it Roll followed as a fall seasonal (discontinued) and last year Peach Bum IPA debuted as the summer seasonal.

Flavorwave is a rather aromatic IPA with a moderate bitterness that smells of pineapple, guava, and mandarin oranges. Tropical fruits and citrus peel come through in the flavor and the finish is very crisp and clean compared to many IPAs on the market. This would pair well with spicy coconut shrimp over rice and should be a regular offering in your refrigerator.

Overall it’s a fantastic option, especially in the modern age of Milkshake and NE Style IPAs—which are frankly exhausting at this point.

Cheers!

Review – Surly HeatSlayer

So much slay coming your way. HeatSlayer, a Kölsch-style ale featured in Surly’s seasonal variety pack, is available now. Surly is even throwing a party for it this Sunday the 27th where, for the price of admission, you can get unlimited food and pours of this new beer. They’re calling it Slay Day.

If that weren’t enough, thrash metal legends Slayer are coming through town this week on their farewell tour. I’ve heard music and beer go well together, so let’s review them both at the same time:

 

Surly HeatSlayer

Kölsch-style ale

ABV – 5.0%

Thursday, May 24 – Slayer @ The Armory in Minneapolis

Sunday, May 27th – Slay Day @ Surly Beer Garden

Aroma: Bready and crisp. Really no indication that Slayer’s been making music for nearly as long as I’ve been alive and this is their final tour.

Appearance: Pours a very light straw color and Tom Araya doesn’t really headbang anymore which is interesting to see. Still, the show will be worth it; I hear the Armory is a great venue and Gary Holt really does Jeff Hanneman justice.  

Flavor: Consistent with the Surly approach, this is as hoppy as this style should get, without being overpowering. This makes it a nice complement to the variety pack in that it fits the theme, but definitely stands out from the other members of the Big Four – Hell (Megadeth), Xtra Citra (Anthrax) and Furious (Metallica).

Mouthfeel: Fine, I guess, but why worry? This is absolutely the least important feature to consider when shotgunning beers before a metal show.

Overall Impression: This is good, but “Raining Blood” will always be their signature track. Personally, “South of Heaven” is my fave. And to think, neither of those were what earned them Grammys.

Slayer is done after this tour and HeatSlayer is exclusive to the variety pack so get on both now.

 

Review – Tin Whiskers Waveform

Hazy, juicy, funky, fruity, milkshake glitter.

These features don’t often interest me when it comes to beer, but they would make for an interesting My Little Pony. IT seems new releases lately are either riding the trend (who can blame them) or are shifting to lighter, summer-themed styles, so when I saw last week that Tin Whiskers had released Waveform, a West Coast IPA, my interest was piqued.

“Why now?” I thought.

“Why not?” my inner monologue continued. “You like this style, so stop asking questions.”

It seemed a break from the norm. Hazy IPAs are de rigueur [Tin Whiskers actually released their own – Distortion – not too long ago] and while I like Pilsners, Kölschs and hefeweizens, they aren’t my go-to styles. This release seemed to be speaking to me.

Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I bought a four-pack of Waveform. Here’s my impression:

Tin Whiskers Waveform

West Coast IPA

ABV – 6.3%

IBU – 80

Aroma: Bright and citrusy hops up front. Not heavy, no indication they’ve used spicy or piney hops.

Appearance: Pours clear and light gold – a good sign based solely on my preferences.  

Flavor: Light, citrusy hops for a moment and then you’re hit with a hammer of piney, bitter hops. The Mosaic hops are noticeable but don’t dominate the way they can in other beers. This flavor lingers and you all but forget there was a citrus note at the beginning.

Mouthfeel: Clean and dry. No sweetness hanging around. This is surprisingly drinkable for being as hoppy as it is.

Overall Impression: Really a bold take on the West Coast IPA – which I would expect to be clear, dry and featuring hops with pine notes. This fits the bill and takes the hoppy part to the limit.

This is definitely my favorite IPA from Tin Whiskers, a spot formerly held by the previously mentioned Distortion. They’ve quietly been making some pretty solid new beers, in my opinion. Waveform is in stores and in the taproom right now, so enjoy it while it lasts.