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
■ Aval Cidre Artisanal
Aval’s sole offering is a semi-dry cider that transports you to the Brittany coast of France where it’s made using traditional methods. Pouring a rich golden color with an effervescent ring of white foam clinging to the side of the glass, the cider offers a complex character that reveals itself more as you drink. Soft sweetness initially, with a medium tannic body and light-yet-sharp acidity adding interest to each sip. It’s fairly dry on the finish with a slight mustiness lingering after. And at $11 for a 750-milliliter bottle, it’s a great go-to cider to pair with fresh seafood.
■ Hoops No. 5050 Hefeweizen
■ Town Hall Citracade on cask
■ BlackStack Thunder Lizard IPA
■ Fulton 300 IPA
John Garland, Deputy Editor
■ Patricia Green Cellars 2016 Willamette Valley Sauvignon Blanc
It’s not often that you come across sauvignon blanc from Oregon’s Willamette Valley—it might only occupy a few dozen acres in a region that dedicates over 18,000 to the pinot family. But this bottle gives the grape a fine platform to flex its muscles. It pours a faint brass hue and leads off with generous pear and peach flavors, as if the Willamette soil is demanding it be a pinot gris. But the finish is all sauvignon blanc—pithy citrus fruit and long-lasting minerality. Bawdy and assertive for the grape but with the structure to make it work. Just delicious.
■ Earth Rider Precious Material Helles Lager
■ Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina 2017 Rubentis Rosé
■ Crooked Water Sundog New American Gin
■ RockFilter Fence Jumper Bourbon
James Norton, Food Editor
■ Highland Park Dark Origins
The crush of global demand has pushed Scotland’s distilleries to produce all manner of new blended products that don’t hew to the traditional guaranteed-age system, but still uphold the reputation of the company. The results have been mixed but trending toward the good, with releases like Highland Park’s Dark Origins typical of the balance between accessibility and depth. Dark Origins has been my nightcap for the past few weeks because it’s a happy balance of comfort (butterscotch, caramel, cherry) and depth (smoke and citrus)—just the thing to meditate on before the sandman comes to call.
■ Surly and First Avenue’s +1 Ale
■ Fair State and Surly’s Clarity of Purpose
■ Bauhaus Wonderstuff Neü Bohemian Pilsner
■ White Winter Winery Black Harbor Black Currant Dessert Mead
Kate Murphy, Assistant Editor
■ Birch’s on the Lake Raspberry Shandy
Come July, Minnesota is a sweltering sauna of high temps and humidity. More often than not, I prefer to beat the heat with something refreshing, not too complex, and lower in alcohol: shandies. Blended with a plentiful helping of fresh, juicy raspberries, this brilliant ruby-hued light ale shines bright with dry, tart lemonade and raspberry flavors, as subtle fruity sweetness and a gentle grain backing also dance on the tongue. And with a dainty ABV of just 4.7 percent, this not-too-sweet, not-too-tart beer is just right for the sultry days ahead.
■ 14 Lakes Blonde Rush
■ Amble + Chase Rosé 2017
■ Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé 2017
■ Surly Heat Slayer Kölsch-Style Beer