Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A quest for a better beer

I've never been a beer connoiseur. I've always just drank whatever domestic piss was put in front of me. I'm not fancy nor choosy. I let my tastebuds and my wallet fight it out and decide who will win this battle.

In recent years, though, my tastebuds have been more adventurous. Sure, I still favor domestic brews but I've gotten away from the mass produced dreck that is heavily advertised during football games and NASCAR races. That stuff is fine if you plan on getting shitfaced in your garage while you tune up the lawnmower but a more sophisticated beer swilling lush demands a more sophisticated brew.

Last summer marked my full-on foray into beer experimentation. After our February trip to Hawaii and sampling more beer than I though one island could produce at the Kona Brewing Company, I knew that the discovery of beer was my destiny.

I already had a strong foothold in the Minnesota beer category with the Schell's brewery in New Ulm after a tour and sampling there the previous year so I began buying the brews that sounded best. I snapped up random six-packs of Schell's and Leinenkugel's through the summer months and quickly realized that having enough time each day to relax with merely one bottle of beer was tough. This experiment fizzled out by early September.

Now, though, I am reinvigorated and bored to death with winter. Sure, I am running on less sleep, doing more and have even less free time but that makes the desire for one bottle of beer each day consumed on my patio even more important. I've studied up on the local brews reviewed over the past year and my first sample which I will strategically start around my birthday in late April will be Lakemaid beer. It's described (basically) as light and refreshing and I'm all about supporting all things local - especially when it comes to beer.

The big question is where to find good Minnesota/local brews in the suburbs. What are some faves I should try?


Bill Roehl said...

I drank nothing except Kona Ale when we went to Maui. I want some right now!

A few weeks ago, when we were being accosted by timeshare salesmen, we were drinking copious amounts of Spotted Cow. Mmm.

Good luck getting shitfaced on good beer. It tastes and feels good!

Conner said...

Premium of course deserves a special mention. Other than that, you have the numerous Summit brews, Schells, Surley, Liftbridge(out of Stillwater), Brau Brothers, and Flat Earth.
There are so many great beers from Minnesota. I've been a beer drinker for a long time and still discover new ones.
I'm not sure where you live, I'm sure you've mentioned it, but I read a lot of Minnesota blogs. If you live in the Easter suburbs, Sunsets in Woodbury has a great tap selection with a decent selection of local brews. You can almost always find 1-2 Summits on tap at Green Mill restaurants. Other than that, I recommend trying a variety of liquor stores, not many around here have great beer selections, but I'm sure you can find one near you that does.

Mary Ellen said...

Wow - you really do like your beer. I found out when I was in my 20's that I was seriously allergic to hops, so that explains why I made it through college without the magical substance. Nonetheless, I am amazed at how many varieties there are out there. We have a couple of microbrews here in Maine that I've heard are pretty good.

And, to answer your question, the term blizzard, as I am using it (which has nothing to do with whatever scientific criteria constitute an actual blizzard) refers to a snowfall of over 8 inches, falling at a rate of an inch or more per hour, accompanied by high winds that blow the goshdarned stuff back into your face every time you try to shovel it.

Sornie said...

Excellent way to describe a blizzard. As for my general locale Conner, south of the river where gambling reigns supreme. The liquor stores around here, that I've entered, are simply weak.

MJ said...

I am a big fan of Newcastle, Tap Room, and Blue Moon.

We have a microbrewery here in Georgia that makes SweetWater. And it is soooo good.

Stephanie Faris said...

I always referred to beer as "carbonated cat piss" because that's what it tastes like to me. People say there are good beers and bad beers but it all tastes identical to me. Same as broccoli -- you can tell me there's good broccoli but I can't tell a difference.

Sornie said...

I just got a visual of someone relaxing and drinking a bottle of pureed broccoli. Delish.

Conner said...

There is a liquor store in Burnsville called Red Lion Liquors off Nicollet just south of highway 13. They have a decent selection for a small store.

Other than that I haven't found many stores that cater to local beer drinkers. I know the liquor store in Farmington off of Highway has a good selection, but that's quite the treck for beer.

As far as restaurants serving local brews I haven't found any good ones south of the river. I'm sure there are some, but I either stick close to Burnsville or go into the city.

Jacki said...

I would say sample some Danish and Belgian brews. Peter refuses to drink any mass-produced beers (Bud Light, etc.). Also, have you tried some Virginia brews? Peter sorta likes Dominion Ale and other Virginia brews.

Oh, and try to find some moonshine while your at it.