The Taste Test: Blind Tasting 48 Oktoberfests

No beer style in the world is more appropriate for its season than Oktoberfest. It’s right there in the name—a celebration of autumn. Balancing the richness of Munich malt with the subtle spice of noble German hops, each sip of Oktoberfest practically feels like the leaves crunching beneath your feet. It’s tempting to think of … [ Read more]

The Taste Test: Blind Tasting 24 Minnesota Porters

This black beer in my glass, is it a porter or a stout? What’s the difference, really? In my opinion a beer is one or the other mainly because the brewer says it is. With the exception of certain easily identifiable modern styles like Irish Stout, the sensory differentiations are fluid. The lines that separate … [ Read more]

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The Taste Test: Blind-tasting 25 Minnesota Pilsners

Whenever I visit a new brewery or taproom, if a Pilsner is available, it will be my first selection. It represents the perfect test of a brewer’s skill. Pilsner is a straightforward style. The recipe is simple—Pilsner malt, noble hops, lager yeast, and water. The profile is not overly complex—a blend of grainy malt sweetness, … [ Read more]

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The Taste Test: Blind-tasting 26 Minnesota Oktoberfests

Much was learned at The Growler and Northern Brewer’s first blind tasting of a formidable field of 53 Minnesota-made American IPAs. Our first blind tasting earlier this year gave us a snapshot of the state of brewing in Minnesota through the lens of a ubiquitous style. We sampled IPAs that fell short of expectations and … [ Read more]

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The Taste Test: Blind-tasting 53 Minnesota IPAs

Blind tastings. If you’ve never done one, you should. Comparing beers of similar style without the biases and preconceptions that come with brand identification is humbling at the very least. It’s mind-blowing at best. Beloved beers fall short of expectations. That much-derided brew suddenly gains new luster. You’re left with the realization that you don’t … [ Read more]

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