Saturday, February 09, 2008

Winterfest 08

Winterfest, the annual winter celebration of Minnesota beer, took place last night at the Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul. Sponsored by the MN Craft Brewers Guild, Winterfest is known for showcasing many of the more unique--and often higher alcohol--beers of local breweries and brew pubs. Don, Peter, Ryan and Dawn were great drinking partners, always willing to share their grabs, meaning more samples and overall lesser quantity. The full program is here, and here's a list of my tries:

-Dry-hopped Maifest Kellerbier

Barley John's
-Munich Dark Lager
-Belgian Triple
-06 Dark Knight

Brau Brothers
-04 Dubbel

-Park P0int Pilsner
-Imperial Pilsner
-Gale Force Cranberry Ale
-Edmund Imperial Stout, Bourbon barrel aged
-Blue Label Grande Reserve, Pinot Noir barrel Aged
-Bellnickle Wheat Wine
-Hair O' the Monk
-Mr Spock Eisbok

Flat Earth
-Winter Warlock golden barley wine

Great Water's
-Trippel Braun

-Stagecoach Amber

-Prairie Porter
-Tripple Trouble

Minneapolis Town Hall
-Eye of the Storm
-Granny Triple
-Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
-Chocolate Rasberry Bourbon Stout
-Simcoe Pale Ale

Rock Bottom
-Fallen Angel Abby Ale
-Smoked Porter
-Silver Mullet Oatmeal IPA

-Cask IPA
-Cask Great Northern Porter
-Cask Winter

-Tea bagged Furious

Yup, 33 beers in three hours. Mind you, most pours were about 3 ounces. Your palate gets pretty burnt early on, so I generally tried to drink stouts and darker beers for awhile before switching to Belgian styles. My favorite stout/porter/ dark beer was of course Surly Darkness, but the ones from Town Hall were pretty good, as was the one from Fitgers. And the one from Barley John's was outstanding as well. Oh wait, that's all of them.

The standout Belgian-style beers were the Town Hall Granny Triple (aged on granny smith apples) or the Fitger's Blue Label Grande Reserve triple, aged in Pinot Noir barrels. I've long had a disdain for lambic-esque sour beers, so maybe this marks a turning point in my palate, as they both had qualities that I seem to have disliked in the past.

Another great event by the Guild. Good food (although bad setup), a mellow jazz band and I love the Landmark Center. Pics coming soon.

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