I really do intend to get back to my GABF coverage. There is still so much to talk about. I’ve got video interviews to post, along with pictures and audio from the big 30th Anniversary dinner. But in the mean time here’s this.
Steel Toe Brewing Co. in St. Louis Park opened its doors just a couple of months ago. It’s the newest in a coterie of recently-opened Minnesota breweries, a group that will continue to grow by leaps and bounds in the coming months. I was particularly excited about Steel Toe because of the brewing background of co-owner and brewer Jason Schoneman. He brings with him a load of experience, including several years as Head Brewer at the award-winning Pelican Brewpub in Oregon. I visited this brewpub-on-the-beach a few years ago and found it to be well worth the acclaim.
Jason aims to make beers that are big on flavor, but that don’t necessarily fit any style. He launched with four beers. Provider is a light, easy-drinking golden ale that I love and that I lately have been pouring a lot of at events. Two that I have yet to try are Rainmaker, an Imperial Red Ale, and Size 7 IPA. I hear good things. Finally is Dissent Black Ale. I picked up a bottle of this recently and just got around to giving it a whirl. Here’s my notes:
Steel Toe Brewing Co., St. Louis Park, Minnesota
Style: Black Ale (?)
Serving Style: 22 oz bottle
Aroma: Brown sugar and molasses. Some coffee roast and light caramel. Licorice and earthy hops.
Appearance: Black and thick. Good-sized, dark-tan head that was moderately persistent.
Flavor: Rich bittersweet chocolate at the top. Like cocoa nibs and coffee. Orange and grapefruit-rind citrus notes float over the top, making it almost like an orange-flavored porter. It’s rich, but well-attenuated, which keeps it very drinkable. Bitterness is moderate, but lingers after swallowing. As the beer warms, molasses flavors become ever more prominent.
Mouthfeel: Thick and rich with relatively low carbonation.
Overall Impression: This would be great with a big rack of saucy, barbeque ribs. In fact, my girlfriend said that the aroma initially reminded her of barbeque sauce – all sweetness and molasses. It’s a big, chewy, malty, black ale that remains remarkably drinkable. It starts and ends great, but I kept feeling like there was some kind of hole in the middle. While I know that this is not helpful, I couldn’t quite put a finger in what was missing. Guess I’ll have to pick up another bottle and work on that some more.