Duluth’s Pike Lake Liquor Reviews Some Brews for October-November 2013

Pike Lake Liquor
5686 Miller Trunk Hwy
Duluth, MN 55811

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Open since May of 1990, Pike Lake Liquor has remained a father-son operation fueled by the desire to remain a leader in our market. This has been accomplished by the constant expansion of both product and square footage as we’ve strived to introduce and offer each and every product our customer’s desire. The construction of 10 cooler doors in the last two years is evidence of our effort to remain ahead of the game, with an expansion that allowed for 250 additional facings of craft beer, now totaling 23 cooler doors, a walk-in beer cave, and approximately 500 beers storewide. With an impressive wine selection and huge offering of spirits, Pike Lake Liquor has it all.


Obsidian Stout
ABV: 6.4%, IBU: 55

The transfer from bottle to the glass was similar to changing motor oil. Deschutes Obsidian Stout is black as the night and noticeably thick. A rich, dark head follows the pour. The aroma is huge; complex. Licorice, anise, coffee, espresso, vanilla, and roasted/smoked malt are all unmistakable in this one. The first swig had us thinking one word: smooth. It tastes of coffee with just the right degree of sweetness. Slightly bitter paired with aggressive carbonation. As it warms, it rounds off for the better. The once clearly defined attributes mellow and subside a bit, working in unison for the better. Pairings: this one is a meal in itself, but that being said, it may pair well with a fine cigar…or another bottle of itself.

lake superior

Lake Superior Brewing Company
Deep Water Black IPA
ABV: 10.3%

Uncapped, Lake Superior Brewing Company Deep Water Black IPA is nothing short of black in color. As it pours, a sustainable, creamy head grabs hold of the walls of the glass and never lets go. It smells a bit sweet, possibly caramel, chocolate, and coffee. Further assessment found us pondering a trace of peat and a hint of something toasted. In the mouth this one boasts a big, burnt taste with an edge of sweetness that complements it nicely. Surprisingly the beer lacks the bitterness we’re used to when it comes to the style, although, this is not necessarily a bad thing. The drying of the tongue is what gives the style away. As it warms it mellows with a peculiar sweetness hard to pinpoint; possibly bubblegum. Food pairing: desserts. Plain cheesecake comes to mind.

blue blood

Blue Blood Brewing Company
All Hopped Up IPA
ABV: 7%

Blue Blood All Hopped Up IPA one pours a deep amber in color. Mellow notes of citrus are evident upon first sniff. In general, the aroma is quite soft and welcoming. The first gulp unleashes a malty beast of a beer followed by huge bitterness that’s almost smoky. As it lingers on the back of the tongue, minute grapefruit and citrus become obvious. The carbonation is lazy on the tongue which is quite pleasant. This brew offers a truly a bitter assault to the middle and back of the tongue. As it warms, the bitterness rounds out turning sweeter. Food pairing: Asian fare like sweet and sour chicken, egg rolls; something with a lot going on.

lift bridge

Lift Bridge Brewing Company
Hop Dish IPA
ABV: 7.5%, IBU: 70 IBU

With a nose in the glass, we were welcomed with huge piney fruit scents, apricots, and a minor floral aroma. Lift Bridge Hop Dish IPA is rich copper in color. On the tongue Hop Dish is bold with a degree of sweetness up front followed by a welcomed, long-lasting-piney, lingering after-hang. Subtle hints of molasses and grapefruit are also apparent. As the beer warms it grows bigger but less sharp…almost grassy without loss of any bitterness. Brewed with a variety of seven different hops, this one is a real mouthful. Food pairing: Mexican cuisine and/or something spicy, perhaps Andouille sausage.

great lakes

Great Lakes Brewing Company
25th Anniversary IPL
ABV: 7.5%, IBU: 50

In the glass, it appears as most IPAs do: amber, with a bit of haze. The aroma is unmistakable as that of a huge pilsner such as Odell Brewing’s Double Pilsner with a touch of pine. To the taste, this one was bready, woody, with hints of toffee as opposed to the often citrusy characteristics of IPAs. With an ABV of 7.5%, this one is slightly boozy. Never had we experienced a beer that lingered quite this aggressively. Even 10 minutes after the sampling we were still enjoying the big, bold taste of Great Lakes Brewing  IPL as it clung to the tongue. Food pairing: the perfect “grillside” companion as you flip burgers and rotate the brats this fall.




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