Pryes Brewing makes its debut

Former homebrewer Jeremy Pryes is the new roomie over at Lucid’s Minnetonka brewing facility. Taking the spot vacated by Badger Hill, and brewing alongside the owners and Bad Weather Brewing, is Pryes Brewing Company (Bad Weather will be moving out soon, as well). The company was founded in 2012 but the beer has only been commercially available since about 6 weeks ago.

Founder Jeremy Pryes has experience in the food world and also serves on the board for the Community Hops Garden in south Minneapolis. He is certainly not new to brewing and has been a beer judge for years.miraculum

Pryes Brewing has one beer available at several local bars and restaurants, their Miraculum IPA. This beer drinks like a double IPA due to the very high amount of hops and what seems like more alcohol than is reportedly present. It is also fairly heavy in the mouth.

Prepare for big herbal and pine aromas and extreme bitterness throughout the taste. The notes of resin are overwhelming to the other flavors resulting in a less-than-complex IPA. There is a pleasant and mild fruitiness on warming which does add some dimension, but overall a pint feels like overkill.

miraculum2I have high hopes for Pryes Brewing and I expect that they will continue to improve, especially since they will be brewing alongside more experienced commercial brewers. Hopefully they will add more dimension to what is now their only beer on draft.

Due to the complexities of the Lucid “alternating proprietorship” model, Pryes’ location is merely temporary. Benjamin Schuster of Pryes told City Pages, “Eventually, we want to be located in the more dense, urban, and industrial areas of the Twin Cities, but are still early in the process of exploring a more permanent home. We’re looking to open a production facility as well as a small taproom with unique beers, meads, and other craft drinks.”

While I would not order this beer again, I am eager for their next release

serendipitous beer: Dunn Bros

I call it beer serendipity, when arriving at a restaurant for a light lunch only to find that the place serves beer. It is craft beer where you least expect it that manages to brighten my day, whether I am in the mood for drinking it or not.

Usually I am.

8:30 in the morning at Dunn Brothers near 26th and Hennepin … okay that time I was not. I ventured in on my way to run several errands, dropped my keys, spilled one thing or another. That kind of morning. The space had taken dunn bros baron a cozy theme and a handful of people gathered individually around their Mac books. This Dunn Brothers is inside the former black hole of restaurant space; Muddy Paws cheesecake emporium relocated after a fairly short stint years ago and the storefront had been sitting empty for a remarkable length of time.

Though I was visiting for a scone and my caffeine fix, I was pleased to see that the model of coffee + food + beer is expanding. This may not be of much importance to some, but as a writer who prefers to leave the house most days, the ability to transition from brunch and coffee to a quick pint while doing final edits is refreshing.

The coffee-to-beer options are expanding. In addition to classics like French Meadow who specialize in responsibly-sourced breakfasts and a gluten-free pastry case, Muddy Waters moved south several blocks in 2011 and has assumed the beer-bar role much more seriously. And of course, Freehouse has taken to encouraging beer for breakfast, as well.

Dunn Bros menuAnd while Five Watt Coffee is serving coffee drinks in the mixology theme reminiscent of alcohol, Dunn Brothers is actually serving beer cocktails in addition to tap beer. The to-go coffee environment is quite conducive for a quick drink after work, particularly if not everyone in your party is looking for alcohol.

Late summer offerings include the menu at left, and for this fall they are featuring two wine cocktails plus three made with beer.

612 Brew Rated R, a rye IPA, is used in two of the four drinks including The Mayflower, also featuring ginger-infused cranberry juice and maple, which foams up into a fluffy pink head. Or try the same beer in the Rockin’ Rye which is made with a house rye syrup and cherry bitters.

I am not the only one who is enthused by the idea of coffee meets beer plus a decent menu. Customers at Dunn Brothers have expressed their surprise and delight at the unexpected find when stopping for a cup of coffee, according to several staff I spoke with. Whether people will consider this a cocktail or happy hour destination is unclear — tap beers have been moderately successful, but it has taken some encouragement for drinkers to go for the mixed items.

I certainly hope the model is very successful, particularly for Dunn Brothers, who is taking on not just alcohol service in an unlikely place, but also beer cocktails.taps Dunn Bros

food menu dunn bros

six cheers for Minnesota beer!

5,507 beers from 1,309 breweries were submitted to the Great American Beer Festival this fall. Out of the vast sea of beer, 234 breweries earned recognition in the form of gold, silver, and bronze. Minnesota was awarded six medals despite the competition being more stiff than ever!

Badger Hill PourA gold medal goes to Badger Hill for their White IPA – a stand-out summer beer in my opinion as well. Badger Hill also has exciting news in that they will be moving out of the dorms and into their very own place! Who will take their spot alongside Lucid and Bad Weather? That would be Pryes Brewing, featured in this issue of The Growler. The White IPA won in a category that I didn’t know existed, called the American-Belgo style. Okay, I get it. Perfect for summer, but in the cooler months, look ahead to our next medal winner.

The Wee Heavy from Steel Toe took another gold in the Scotch Ale category. No surprise to the regular taproom crowd which anticipates to the release of this beauty far more than other much-hyped, nationally-ranked bottles. It warms my heart to know that a beer from my hometown took such high honors at a national competition. Neighbors far and wide can get their 10.9% fix quite soon, as the brewery just announced an 11/16 release of Wee Heavy.

indeed mexican honeyAlso high on the ABV spectrum is the you-didn’t-expect-that-now-did-you situation from Indeed brewing, also known as Mexican Honey, a lager that packs a serious wallop of honey and heat. Taking a silver in the Specialty Honey Beer category, the folks at MN Beer Activists and I aren’t the only ones raving. Imperial lagers don’t always work. For one reason or another, often body or balance, plenty of imperial pilsners or double Helles attempts fall short. Indeed’s Mexican honey flies because of the balance of alcoholic heat, malt complexity, and true honey (not merely sweet) notes. Visit Indeed this weekend for their Hullabaloo, truly one of Minnesota beer’s most homegrown, fun, and noteworthy events of the year. Hi-Five me on Saturday!

Not surprisingly and most reassuringly, a bronze goes to Summit’s Extra Pale Ale. The essence of our state, bottled (and now canned) deserves much recognition not just as a stand-out beer but also for what it represents: our brewing history. With decades of experience but no lack of innovation, Summit should never go unnoticed. Knowing that national judges handed it a bronze is a reminder, though, that we don’t just love EPA because of its story, we love it because it is a damn good beer.summit EPA

 

Finally, two bronze medals were awarded, first to Bent Paddle for their 14° ESB, a balanced and classic extra special bitter representing the steady growth and dedication among north shore brewers. Despite the huge success of their seasonals, year-round beers from Bent Paddle still fly off shelves and are in high demand even in small towns and out-of-state. The second bronze went to Town Hall for their Buffalo Bock, a beer I do not believe I have ever tried.

Bent Paddle GitcheeSounds like it is time for me to head to Town Hall to enjoy their array of barrel-aged creations!

Congratulations to these and all Minnesota breweries for displaying such skill and prowess to the rest of the brewing nation. You make us very proud! Wisconsin also garnered six medals spanning all different styles. For the complete listings, click here.

Broue Pub Brouhaha

Brouhaha signMy final Canadian mention for my spectacular Montreal adventure is a little pub on the edge of town called Broue Pub Brouhaha.

One of the most satisfying visits is one we almost didn’t make. The place seemed somewhat out of the way in the Rosemont neighborhood, I had tried plenty of good beer, and didn’t want to overdue it. Man am I glad we biked clear accross town to try it!

In the way that Reservoir nails the brewpub realm, and Ho.St has Belgians cornered, Brouhaha really understands how to bring it all together, in avery appealing way. In fact, the atmosphere, beer offerings, and general attitude of the place feel more like and American establishment (except more exotic, it is all in French, after all).

Our knowledgable server offered beer explanations in English and French, and seemed to genuinely enjoy that we were interested in craft beer. While there were very few others in the dining room when we arrived, as time passed a mixed crowd, representative of the blue-collar, up-and-coming neighborhood straggled in slowly. We oggled the extenisive beer selection as were happy to find very unique house brews on the list.

Brouhaha patioBrouhaha is outside the constant, buzzing action of Downtown or Plateau, and the hop-covered patio flanked by modern windowboxes offers a quaint, ideal space for enjoying a few pints.

After oggling the Randall, which sits atop the bar for all (nerds) to see, we couldn’t help but enjoy some sun.

Every time I turned around I thought I had discovered the best beer of the trip, but Brouhaha’s Saison Voatsiperify, a saison au poivre, was certainly up there. The clove-pepper aroma is a perfectly enchanting combination and the taste is distinctly pink peppercorn rather than a harsh bite. It is dry and crisp, with complexity of spice offered by the clove note. I could drink a lot of this. Continue reading