Welcome back to What We’re Drinking, wherein The Growler editorial staff look back on recent remarkable beverages. What are you drinking, Growler Nation? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Brian Kaufenberg, Editor-in-Chief
■ Toppling Goliath Pompeii IPA
The fervor around this Decorah, Iowa-based brewery is a bit staggering. With special releases selling out in an instant and reaching hundreds of dollars on the secondary beer market, Toppling Goliath’s flagship offerings are often (and unjustly) overshadowed. Take Pompeii IPA: Mandarin orange dominates the nose and carries through to the palate, combining with a light bitterness on the finish for an IPA that is deceptively simple, or, perhaps, effortlessly complex. Either way, Pompeii proves that beer doesn’t need to be rare or scarce to be top notch.
■ Driftless Saison de Jardin
■ Gull Dam Bavarian Wheat
■ J. Carver Hunt Club Double Barrel Rye Whiskey
■ Big Axe Wine Barrel Aged Sour
John Garland, Deputy Editor
■ Firestone Walker Luponic Distortion No. 009c
Since IPAs can hardly contain themselves these days—from imperials dosed with hop resin and lupulin powder to all that hazy, milkshake insanity—how refreshing it is to have Firestone Walker finally available in Minnesota. The highly regarded Paso Robles, California, brewery treats hops with a curious spirit reigned in by a temperate hand, and their Luponic Distortion series is proof of their superiority with straightforward American IPAs. Each beer in the series is a different blend of mystery hops. No. 009 combines Pacific Northwest and German varieties, and the result is aromatic and balanced with a dry finish. A regular ol’ IPA that’s a joy to drink.
■ Indeed Pink Rabbit (B-Side Pils with hibiscus at Centro)
■ Fausse Piste Le Communard
■ Gracias a Dios Espadín Mezcal
■ Waconia Carver County Kölsch
James Norton, Food Editor
■ Protocolo Rosé Sangria
Summer drinking doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, “so easy it’s stupid” is the optimal mode as heat and humidity sap the brain’s ability to work. Here’s my family’s quick hack for a happy summer: a bottle of cheap-but-tasty, clean-and-balanced Protocolo Rosé, poured into a clay pitcher over a sliced up stone fruit and a chopped up orange, and then refrigerated. Wait eight to 24 hours, pour it into a glass, and top it off with a couple splashes of Orange Fanta. It’s easy-drinking happiness via Spain.
■ Utepils Copacetic Kölsch Style
■ Dangerous Man Watermelon Sour
■ Bad Weather Anomaly Passion Fruit Sour Ale
■ Bent Paddle Tea Break Blonde
Lauren Sauer, Editorial Assistant
■ Able Concentric Circles Rye Blonde Ale
Perfect for hot days, and with ABVs on the lower side to keep things civil during a day of drinking at the lake, blonde ales are a go-to pick for summer. But, personally, by the time August rolls around, I’m looking to mix it up a bit. This blonde ale keeps things light with an ABV of 4.8 percent while also introducing the spicier bite of rye, grown by Far North Spirits in Hallock, Minnesota, and malted at Able Seedhouse + Brewery in Northeast Minneapolis. It’s the ideal combination of light and rich, gently easing us into the inevitable transition to fall.
■ Sandeman 10 Year Old Tawny
■ RockFilter Giants of the Earth Bourbon
■ Leinenkugel’s Grapefruit Shandy
■ Surly Lime Lager