Welcome back to What We’re Drinking, wherein The Growler editorial staff look back on a recent remarkable beverage. What are you drinking, Growler Nation? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Olvalde Farm and Brewing Co. Rollingstoner – John Garland, Senior Editor
I love the beer Joe Pond is making in Rollingstone. He uses old-school techniques that make for farm-direct flavors, and the Rollingstoner is the perfect light ale for springtime. This beer pours a brilliant orange-gold with pearly white foam. The aroma is saison-like with a touch of supporting citrus. It’s unfiltered and bottle-fermented, so for the full experience, pour out just a little, and give the bomber a good swirl to kick up the sediment. You’ll be rewarded with a light and yeasty sip of mandarin oranges and just a hint of the elderflower that’s promised on the package. I found this 22-ounce bomber for $5, so next time I go for a picnic lunch, I’m packing two.
Fair State Brewing Cooperative Pils – Kate Murphy, Editorial Assistant
Bright, sunny days call for beers that are light, not too boozy, and fiercely crisp. And to slake a warm-weather thirst, I’m reaching into my cooler and grabbing a chilled can of Fair State’s Pils. While the style is technically difficult to master, head brewer Niko Tonks and the Fair State brew crew have superbly crafted a refreshing and flawless German-style Pilsner. Beaming a pale gold hue with brilliant clarity, muted aromas of grass and grain are delicately balanced with an earthy and spicy hop bitterness on the finish—satisfyingly simplistic. What once was only available on draft at the brewery, Pils is now a year-round, canned flagship beer—perfect for patio portability.
Able Seedhouse + Brewery First Light American IPA – Brian Kaufenberg, Managing Editor
Sipping Able Seedhouse + Brewery’s First Light American IPA calls to mind one particular morning camping on the St. Croix River, when I crawled out of my tent in the cool pre-dawn hours and watched the first rays break over the horizon and dissipate the layer of mist hanging above the water. First Light’s flavor profile reminds me of that morning: soft, cool, and bright. With lemon high notes in the aroma and a dry, resiny flavor, it is an easy-drinking IPA with a pleasant, lingering bitterness. Pair with the smoldering embers of last night’s campfire or a chilly morning dip in the river.
Wild Mind Artisan Ales Hops of the Fallen IIPA – Keith Grauman, Web Editor
Wild Mind head brewer Mat Waddell never wanted to brew an IPA, but the clientele at his South Minneapolis brewery said otherwise. He decided to heed popular demand, but wanted to remain true to Wild Mind’s farmhouse approach. For their Hops of the Fallen Imperial IPA, Waddell used wild Minnesota yeast combined with an ale yeast known for producing fruity esters, hopped the beer exclusively in the whirpool, used lighter colored malts to keep the focus on the new world hops and yeasty esters, and naturally conditioned it in 750-milliliter bottles. It’s a cloudy, dark orange color with aromas of peach, mango, and pine, low on bitterness, finishes dry, and has fruity flavors that match the aroma. While this beer was a one-and-done sold in bottles at the taproom, Waddell said it’s a good representation of the IPAs and pale ales they’ll brew in the future.
La Vieille Ferme Rouge, 3L Box – Joseph Alton, Editor-in-Chief
The key to choosing the right boxed wine for the trail is finding one that will be good with food and all by its lonesome. This Rhone blend from the Perrin family nicely accomplishes both of those objectives. Cherry and raspberry are the predominant notes on the nose. Complex black currant and berry flavors on the palate make for a fruit-forward drink. This lush, medium-bodied table wine drinks juicy but finishes dry with moderate tannins and some subtle earthiness. Drink it with grilled red meat and mushrooms around the campfire, in a braise, or quaff it by the fire as your after dinner sipper.