My first taste of Blacklist Brewing came last winter at the Zeitgeist Arts Cafe in Duluth. It was one of those Duluth mornings in which you step outside and your skin immediately registers the fact that you’re in Duluth.
Sheltered from the whip of an icy wind screaming down Superior Street, I settled in to a goblet of Blacklist’s Or Belgique. It was full and lush, rounded and defiantly boozy. It was precisely the beer I needed.
Blacklist is a leading example that suggests the most interesting and innovative brewing activity (per capita, anyway) is happening in Duluth. From the game-changing six-packs from Bent Paddle, to the wild concoctions of Borealis Fermentery, the North Shore is enriching our beer scene like no other area in Minnesota.
And Blacklist has confirmed this status with their two most recent releases. I can’t wait to get my hands on the Belgian Wit, soured with Lactobacillus, and just might take their suggestion and make a little raspberry syrup to treat it like a Berliner weisse.
But for now, I’ll happily sip on their Imperial Hefeweizen with Grapefruit Zest ($12/750ml, below). It has powerful aromas of banana bread straight from the oven. The sip starts out with like a little twang of tartness, and some lovely green apple fruit, before being overwhelmed by some deep, yeasty goodness in a powerful, complex structure.
This is like a hefeweisen on P90x. I’m not exactly sure where the grapefruit zest comes into play – they suggest it’s on the finish, but I can’t find it anywhere but in the nose. But no worries – there are more than enough interesting flavors here to wrap your head around.