About seventy-five people were on hand for the Brewery of the Month tasting at Stub & Herb’s Wednesday night featuring the Twin Cities own Flat Earth and Lift Bridge breweries. Five dollars got you a tasting glass with coupons for seven beers and a $1.00 discount on a special cask of Double Hopped Pale Ale from Lift Bridge. This was in addition to the discounted priced on all Flat Earth and Lift Bridge pints. There was plenty of opportunity to chat with the brewers. All four of the Lift Bridge guys were there as were Jeff and Cathie Williamson from Flat Earth.
The Flat Earth beers sampled included Cygnus X-1 Porter, Black Helicoper Coffee Stout, Rode Haring, and the 2007 Winter Warlock barleywine. All of these beers were great. The rich coffee/chocolate malt and hint of rye spiciness of the Cygnus X-1 make it one of my favorite locally produced beers. The only dissapointment here was that they only had the straight porter and none of the infused versions they have recently been selling in growlers at the brewery. Oh well. The Rode Haring, a blend of sour Flemish Red Ale and malty Biere de Garde, was also a taste treat. I had tasted the original un-blended Flemish Red a while back and found it disappointing. Jeff Williamson, Flat Earth owner and brewer, admitted that they had missed the peak bottling opportunity and it had become too sour. The blend brought back some malty sweetness while leaving a good amount of the funky tart character.
The Lift Bridge beers were Farm Girl Saison, Pale Ale, Biscotti, and the special Double Hopped Pale Ale. I have always been a fan of the Lift Bridge Pale Ale. The hint of toasted Vienna malt supports an assertive citrus hop with the pithy flavor of grapfruit zest giving it all an extra punch. The real treat of the night from Lift Bridge was the Biscotti. I had heard about this beer but this was my first opportunity to try it. From the name and the minimal discriptions that I had read, I was expecting a nutty, malt dominant beer with perhaps some hints or spice or some chocolate notes. What I got was a delightful belgian ale with funky, spicy yeast character and some lightly toasted malt. Delicious. By the way, the Lift Bridge guys are soliciting new names for the Pale Ale. If you have ideas for names that reflect the St. Croix River Valley give them a shout. To quote co-owner Brad Glynn, “Whoever comes up with the name that we end up using will be treated very well.”
The greatest pleasure of the evening was the 2007 Winter Warlock Barleywine from Flat Earth. The last time I had this beer was at Winterfest last year. I thought this beer was good then. The year of aging has really done nice things for it. This was a smooth, balanced, lightly sweet English style barleywine that left me wanting more. There isn’t much of this left. If you find some, pick it up. I have a bomber stashed in my basement. Maybe I’ll drink it…maybe I’ll see what another year will do for it.