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.
HammerHeart Brewing Von Winterherz Verhasst – Brian Kaufenberg, Managing Editor
Ever wonder what a smoked banana would taste like? While the Lino Lakes brewery is known for its intense campfire-like smoked ales, this take on the classic German hefeweizen has a subtler smoke character that sits beneath the banana and spicy esters typical to the style. The interplay between the fruity esters and the smoke produces a savory, meaty flavor profile with just a light nuttiness and caramel sweetness. Pair with a grilled chicken apple sausage for an appropriate send-off to summer.
Carlos Creek Winery Minnescato – Kate Murphy, Editorial Assistant
If you don’t think Minnesota can produce good wine, then you haven’t been paying close enough attention. Case in point, Carlos Creek’s Minnescato. Instead of muscat grapes found in traditional Italian moscato, Vidal and Minnesota-grown Frontenac gris grapes are the foundation for this wine. A delicate cascade of bubbles lifts the floral, fruit-forward body, dominated by ripe peach, apricot, and sweet nectarine flavors. Vibrant and juicy, it pairs beautifully with an array of options—from taming a spicy bowl of creamy coconut curry to complementing a freshly baked apple crisp, or my favorite, chilled in a glass on its own after soaking in the September sunshine.
BlackStack Brewing Spare Parts Dark Lager – John Garland, Senior Editor
Is it autumn already? When did that happen? I went to BlackStack Brewing to drink a pint of their hazy and sunshiny Local 755 NEIPA, but then I looked outside. Rain. Clouds. A chill in the air. Instead, I settled into their spacious taproom with a pint of their dark lager, Spare Parts, and it was exactly the transition beer I needed. Opaque in the middle and coffee-brown at the rims, it’s a light-bodied lager that comes on a little roasty like a porter, and then backs off like it knows winter isn’t here yet. Crushable and uncomplicated.
Milk & Honey Ciders Alchemy – Joseph Alton, Editor-in-Chief
Few things epitomize the harvest season like apple juice and alcohol in a glass. Mulled apple cider with bourbon or brandy has long been a fall favorite of mine. Now the cidermakers at Milk & Honey have cut out the middleman. Alchemy, an 11.5% ABV ice cider, is a perfect libation to warm you up from the inside on these crisp autumn evenings. Made exclusively from Minnesota’s own Chestnut Crabapples, Alchemy is aged for eight months in bourbon barrels, giving its rich, nutty apple character additional sweet notes of caramel, vanilla, and spice. Visit their new St. Joseph cidery and taproom for a taste, or pick up a bottle at your local liquor store.