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, Managing Editor
★ New Glarus Cherry Stout
This beer is less stout than it is cherry grand cru, but whatever you call it, it’s damn good. Sweet cherry jam and chocolate malt flavors meld together into a decadent liquid dessert. A period of spontaneous fermentation in barrels lends the beer the perfect amount of tartness to cut through the sweetness. It’s beers like Cherry Stout that makes New Glarus’ dedication to only distributing inside Wisconsin so maddening for Minnesotans like myself. Thankfully, it’s just a short trip across the border.
★ Odell Whiskey Barrel Aged Lugene
★ Laphroaig Cairdeas Madeira Cask
★ Sapsucker Farms Barrel-Aged Yellow Belly
John Garland, Senior Editor
★ 56 Brewing Nosehair Bender IPA
I’m not too fond of barleywines, imperial stouts, and the other heavy, syrupy, “are you sure this isn’t motor oil?” beers of winter. When I want a winter beer, I’m calling for a hoppier ale, but one with a little more sweetness to the body than I care for in summer (which often corresponds with a little higher ABV.) New to cans, the Nosehair Bender from 56 Brewing in Northeast Minneapolis is exactly that kind of beer—dry-hopped with the usual roster of citrus-forward varieties, for a sip that verges on imperial-weight before a lush bitterness dries out the finish.
★ St. George Botanivore Gin
★ Gran Passione Rosso Veneto IGT
★ Tattersall Italiano, on the rocks
★ Barrel Theory Rain Drops
★ Summit High Sticke Alt
You know what’s refreshing to me right now? A beer that tastes like beer. It’s unlikely you’ll see the Twin Cities’ most venerable craft brewery making anything sour or hazy anytime soon, but Summit has knocked it out of the park—er, rink—with this one. Inspired by altbier, High Sticke is an exceptionally drinkable iteration of the style. Pouring a rich copper-amber color, the beer presents intense aromas of toffee and the subtle, sweet smell of stone fruit. This medium-bodied beer gets a complex caramel and biscuit profile from a unique blend of German malts and a hefty load of Northern Brewer and Tettnang hops that balance to a crisp, refreshing sip.
★ Henry McKenna Single Barrel Bourbon
★ Steel Toe Dissent
★ Venn Batch #3 Petite Saison
★ Forager Gummies Make Us Likeable
★ Skaalvenn Habanero Rum
Frigid temps got you down? Skaalvenn Distillery has surefire way to heat you up from the inside out—literally—thanks to the uplifting, fiery punch of their Habanero Rum. Ripe habaneros and Thai chili peppers mingle with an ever-so soft citrusy and tropical fruit aroma, soon to be jump-started by a mouthwatering peppery palate. After my taste buds acclimate to the spice, the flavor slowly dissipates, coaxing me to sip again and experience that satisfying back-of-the-throat warmth. I like to offset the heat with sweet in a jazzed up mojito—muddle cranberries, mint leaves, and lime wedges in a Collins glass, add the rum, simple syrup, and ice. Top with soda water, and you’ve got a warming refresher that will kick away any winter blues.
★ Spilled Grain Nursing In Public
★ HeadFlyer It Was All A Dream
★ Lift Bridge Fireside Flannel
★ Boulevard Frequent Flier Session IPA