Beer Recap: Fourth of July Weekend

It feels like this Fourth of July weekend just flew by. I guess that happens when your weekend is full of great beer, food and friends.

But I had so many awesome new beers up at the lake and in Duluth that I wanted to recap for you. While you can usually follow along with what I’m drinking via Twitter/UnTappd – I wanted to take some time to elaborate on those beers here. I really don’t do beer reviews or ratings. If I don’t like something, I usually don’t finish it and I won’t spend much time thinking about it or talking about it. I just think whether or not you like a beer is based so much on personal preference and I don’t want to lead anyone astray. That said, I hope my recaps will encourage you to try new beers and see for yourself. 

MinneGose by Excelsior Brewing Co.
4.3% ABV/15 IBU 

This is the one beer I packed for the weekend because I knew it would be awesome to sip dockside. I tried this beer about a month ago and I knew it would be a summer staple. Gose is another old German beer style that I learned about at BBSU. It’s been so popular lately that it was included in the 2015 Beer Style Guidelines by the Beer Judge Certification Program, which certifies beer judges and develops standards for evaluating beers. It’s an unfiltered wheat beer with a hazy appearance. One of the main drivers of taste is the addition of coriander and salt. 

Lollygagger Pale Ale by Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
5.2% ABV/52 IBU

Every time I’m “Up North,” I like to make a day trip to Duluth and the taproom at Bent Paddle Brewing Co. It used to be necessary because their incredible Cold Press Black Ale wasn’t available down here. Since I was drinking straight from the source, I tried the new Lollygagger Pale Ale which will be on shelves in the Twin Cities by July 13. This beer is a “West Coast-style” pale ale and has a lot of hop flavor. I found it easy to drink even though I’m not a huge hophead. The other great news about this beer is that it’s a collaboration between Bent Paddle and Loll Designs, a local furniture manufacturer, to support biking in the Duluth area.  Five percent of the sales of this beer will go toward a local cycling organization to support the build-out of the Duluth Traverse trail system.

Red Wheat and Blue by Fitger’s Brewhouse
5.7% ABV/16 IBU

I couldn’t pass this beer up because that would have been un-American. This is a wheat beer brewed with 600 pounds (!!!) of fruit. Despite its name, it’s actually a very pink beer – which I appreciated. At first, I thought this beer would be unrelentingly sweet – but it really wasn’t. It was a bit sour and had a dry finish as well. Since I had it in a nice short glass, it was just enough sweetness to cap off an afternoon of beer tasting. 

O-Gii by Milwaukee Brewing Company
9.3% ABV/24.5 IBU

One of these bad boys made it into one of our coolers inexplicably. I picked this beer up during my last (and second) trip to the Four Firkins, which is now closed. MKE describes this beer as a “monstrous tea-infused Wit.” They must call it monstrous because it packs a punch at 9.2% ABV. This is the kind of beer that I can’t drink alone – as much as I really loved the chamomile tea flavor. The tea is actually from Rishi Tea in Milwaukee. 

There was also some Apricot Wheat from Fitger’s, Venture Pils from Bent Paddle and Leinie’s Canoe Paddler AND cabin-style mojitos with Prairie Cucumber Vodka and fresh mint. All-in-all a great weekend for imbibing. 



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