Thursday, April 26, 2007

Growlers, move over! 750 ml bottles are coming!

Under current law, brew pubs can sell growlers--half gallon jugs--of selected beer, and a bill moving through the Minnesota Legislature will allow brew pubs to sell 750 ml (wine bottle-sized) bottles of beer to the public. A provision to regulate the size of samples served by brew pubs was removed. Sponsored by Senator Tom Bakk (DFL-Cook), the bill is included in the Omnibus Liquor Bill, meaning it's almost guaranteed to be signed into law.

Apparently there's a brewer in Bakk's northern Minnesota district who operates a bed and breakfast along with a boutique. His plan is to sell Belgian-style ales, which are typically served in 750 ml bottles. Guess I know where to stay next time I'm on the North Shore.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Good, The Bad..the Veto, the Beer

This week, the Minnesota Legislature begins holding conference committee hearings to work out the differences between House and Senate omnibus bills. This consists of long hours and lots of waiting around, and this year it's mostly for naught, as the main funding source for all these bills--tax increases--will likely be vetoed. It's pretty exhilarating to spend all this time for nothing. I'm psyched. I especially love not seeing my wife and kids very much, when the prospects for success are only slight. It's truly a great feeling.

Thank god for good beer then. The cask Summit EPA at the Muddy Pig--the IPA wasn't ready--was simply amazing. The complex fresh hop flavors of Summit rise to the forefront, offering a flowery and suprising citrus undertone. Sometimes I forget how great Summit EPA is, especially when it's served fresh, and even better when it's on cask.

Also note that Summit ESB is back on the shelves. I've been drinking Red Hook ESB lately (on sale at Big Top until the end of the month), so the timing is impeccablel; it tastes much better and it's Summit.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Get a grip, Rep. Olson

I thought I missed the cask Summit IPA at the Muddy Pig tonight, but apparently its been rescheduled to Thursday night. My bad if you showed up. If you didn't then come on down now.

No, I'm just getting home from an 8 hour debate on the House Omnibus Education Bill, and I've concluded that Rep. Mark Olson has some issues he needs to deal with. From requiring that schools must allocate an equal amount of time for the discussion the theory of biological evolution and the origin of man as referenced in the Declaration of Independence to replacing portions of the international baccalaureate with curriculum and instruction on the United States Dclaration of Independence to making sure that students understand that English is America's first language, Rep. Olson needs to get a grip. His rants about freedom and quoting of the Declaration of Indepence are just a bit much, and in fact delve into ridiculous arguments--no, rants--against early screening and referral of kids with mental problems.

Who's going to run against him?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Amazed and defused

Customer service is not something you get a chance to see direct from microbreweries, especially ones that are expanding the definition of "micro." I mean, how often to you have to deal with the actual brewing company? Well one my favorite breweries, Boulder Beer Company, brewers of Hazed and Infused, Mojo IPA and Singletrack Ale, let some serious bacteria get into one of their fermenters or something. I had this Hazed and Infused at two different parties, and it was FOUL.

So I contacted Boulder, and they contacted my buddy who bought it, and they were real serious about correcting the problem. Of course they reimbursed him, but I was more pretty impressed with their commitment to selling a good product. Cheers, guys!

Cheers also to St. Paul Cave Dweller for alerting me that The Muddy Pig will be tapping a keg of cask Summit IPA at 6 pm this Wednesday. That's tomorrow. At The Muddy Pig. 6pm. Summit IPA on cask. Maybe you should go.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lost in beer

Indulge me for a moment: Did you see "Lost" tonight? What. The. Fuck. Brilliant answers and even better questions. Ya love Julliet and then you don't--she just wants to get home!! I hate the Jack--Sayid tension. The end is in sight!

Ok, enough of that.

So I opened a Harp tonight, ready to get on CB and the blast the hell out of it. "Why do people drink Harp?" I was going to write. "What a horrible beer." I actually did write it. But half way into this post, I took a sip, and it was a different beer. Light, balanced, a little nutty aftertaste. Unoffensive and welcoming. And then it hit me, that's what wrong with it. I prefer some character. Some adventure. Malted barley. Fresh hops. Ya ever heard of 'em?

Ahh, TV and beer. TV and beer.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Oh boy was I in heaven tonight. Mad props to Valerie for picking up a six pack of--are you ready?--New Belgium Tripple and Stone Levitation on her trip to Colorado. New Belgium Tripple and Stone Levitation.You probably know New Belgium as the brewers of Fat Tire, one of the most overrated beers ever. If you want to see what this Colorado brewery is all about, check out anything else by them. Perfect Belgium ales, and the Tripple is no exception. Come east!

You probably don't know Stone. From California and yet to hit Minneosta or Wisconsin, they're all about extreme. Even Levitation at a mere 4.4% still wallops a mighty hop punch, like a Surly Furious, except you could actually have 3 or 4 in a sitting. Great session beer.
I'll savor these brews for awhile. Or try anyway.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Signs, buttons and lists

The St. Paul DFL ward conventions kick off this weekend, with major endorsements in Wards one (Carter vs Montgomery), four (Hesse vs Stark vs Shubring) and six (Hang vs Bostrom). I'm in ward one, which is Frogtown, Capitol Heights, Cathedral Hill, Aurora St Anthony and a couple other neighborhoods. It's an easy choice for me, with incumbent Debbie Montgomery being reluctant to fully support light rail on University Ave and opposing the smoking ban. C'mon, really?

The Better Ballot Campaign is off and running as well, trying to get support for instant run off voting in local elections. I frankly don't really care passionately about it, but will be attending a beer election to demonstrate how it works. Interested? This Thursday, April 12, 7pm - 11pm at 443 Holly Ave.

I love it when my two worlds collide.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Spring will wait

This weekend wrapped up the much needed legislative spring break, marking the half way point of the 2007 session. I feel like I could use another week, as this year has been balls to the wall since day one, and I expect it to continue until May 21. At least it will be cold and wintery for the rest of the month, making it easier to sit through long committee hearings.

The extended winter also has made it difficult to switch to lighter beers, but I am trying. I made it to Town Hall Brewery this weekend for their limited release Wine Barrel Aged Saison, tapped in honor of the end of prohibition. Fermented for a year in a Honey Wine barrel, it was really like no other beer I have ever had. A little sweet, even a bit sour, but extremely pleasant to drink. I could see drinking this on a hot July afternoon, but unfortunately, they only had one keg.

While there I also had their legendary cask IPA, one of the best beers made in Minnesota, which prompted me to buy a growler of the non-cask version. They were also kind enough to let me have a sip of one of their guest taps, Duchesse de Bourgogne, a wild ale from Brouwerij Verhaeghe in Belgium. Yeah, that's right, I said, "Brouwerij Verhaeghe." It was amazing.

Finally I transfered my Saison to the secondary fermenter:

I shoulda taken a picture of the actual transfer, with the tubes and all, but I was transferring beer. As expected it's much clearer than when it went in the primary. And, as expected, it's already drinkable and a fine ale. But it deserves another couple months, to mellow out the hops and develop a little more character.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

More beer, no politics

So I was going to write about this great beer and better experience I had at the Happy Gnome last night with a little quadrupel from the Netherlands called Koningshoeven , formerly La Trappe, but Jane beat me to it. I'll only add that I looked at a 750 ml bottle today at the store for less than we paid for a 10 ounce pour. Still a fucking incredible 11.5% abv beer, but still fucking expensive on tap.

On the lighter side of things, I bought a 12-pack of Red Hook this weekend, beer of the month at Big Top Liquors in St. Paul. Always a sucker for the sampler, I got to try two new refreshing beers, the Copper Hook and Blonde Ale. Paired with their solid ESB and their average IPA, at $9.50, this is a good mixer for cautious palates.