Saint Somewhere is a small brewery in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Last year they produced less than 400 barrels of beer. Two of Saint Somewhere's Saisons are distributed here, despite being 1500 miles away. I don't understand the magic behind the distribution game but I'm thankful we can get these small batch beers in the Midwest. This bottle of Saint Somewhere Cynthiana is especially exciting because it is a Saison brewed with Norton wine grapes. Norton (aka Cynthiana) is one of the styles of wine I really enjoy because it is so bold and dry. I'm hoping to find a little of that in this beer.
Belgian Pale Ales are something I've only started to really enjoy over the past year. The beer that convinced me I should drink more of this style was Poperings Hommel Bier. Since then I've been looking for other pale Belgian style ales with bright hops and sweet underpinnings. This Hommel Bier from Perenial in Saint Louis gives the style an American slant, with hops from the Pacific Northwest. It's evident when you drink this beer that it's hoppier and more bitter than something like Poperings, but shares a similar grain bill and yeast profile so you still get a touch of sweetness and a hint of Belgian character.
Stillwater Artisanal, like Mikkeller, is a brewer without a brewery... a gypsy brewer. The idea is that Stillwater and Mikkeller rent time on another brewery's system when that production brewery has capacity. Stillwater seems to brew most of their beers at Dog Brewing in Westminster, MD. The brews that come from Dog Brewing are Stillwater's year-round beers like this bottle of Stateside Saison. Stillwater may have several other bottles on the shelf, but if you look closely you'll see a number of them are collaborations, brewed somewhere other than Dog Brewing. It's an interesting business model to say the least.
I've had this beer once before, and it cost me $40... Well, I think the check actually got split at the end of the night, but there was definitely a charge on there for one (1) $40 bottle of The Bruery's Autumn Maple on there somewhere. It was after a long drive from Kansas City to Denver, followed by more than a couple rounds of beers at Falling Rock and then another round or two at Euclid Hall... so my recollection is a little hazy, but I remember thinking this was the best fall beer I'd ever had. That was a year ago, almost to the day. This bottle of Autumn Maple has been in my basement for a couple weeks now and I've been eagerly awaiting a 60 degree fall day so I'd have a good reason to crack it open.
Evolution Craft Brewing Co. is Delaware's other craft brewery... at least that's the way it seems when you're at a package store in the Mid-Atlantic, there's plenty of Dogfish Head but not much else from Delaware. I made the trek to Delmar, on the southern border of Delaware and Maryland, a couple months ago to check out some of more exotic beers Evolution has in the works and I was quite impressed. Exotic beers don't pay the bills for most brewers so I decided to pick up a six pack of their Primal Pale Ale to see how these guys approach a more mainstream style.
When it rains, it pours. It seems like New Glarus beers were nearly impossible for me to get a year ago but today I'm awash in Spotted Cow, Fat Squirrel, Moon Man and Stone Soup. These beers have come to me as gifts from friends who visited Wisconsin, friends who live in Wisconsin and even my neighbor (who also has family in Wisconsin). Sometimes it seems like I'm the only one who doesn't spend a few days in Wisconsin over the summer. This bottle of Two Women is a new one to me, I hadn't heard of this beer before this summer and I've been holding on to it for a few weeks because it has the word LAGER printed on the label. It might sound prejudicial, but when you've got your pick of the New Glarus litter, the Lager is going to be the beer that's left over at the end.
This beer came to me from Wisconsin in a mixed box of bottles I received as a gift a couple weeks ago. Most of my attention was focused on the New Glarus bottles I received and I completely overlooked this Shergill IPA. This bottle is fairly nondescript, it's a simple red, white and green label with an Indian parade elephant on the bottom. I decided to open up this bottle today because it'll be one of the few early fall 70+ degree days we'll have left. I've got a pork shoulder on the smoker, the dog is sleeping on the deck and things seem pretty great... then I went and ruined it all by pouring a glass of what has to be the worst beer I've had this year. Seriously, it's bad, really bad...
Summit recently started sending their beer to Missouri and the timing couldn't have been better. Well... that makes it sound like I have a well formed opinion toward Summit's beers and that definitely isn't the case. Before a month ago I'd only ever had one Summit offering, it was their Oktoberfest and I really enjoyed it. When Summit announced they'd be sending a good number of their beers to Missouri I hoped it'd be in time for us to seen Oktoberfest on the shelves around town. The timing worked out perfectly and I was able to get my hands on some of these bottles to see if Summit Oktoberfest tasted as good as I remembered.
I'm still going through all the bottles of Indiana beer that showed up last month and I decided it was time to open up one of these Dragonfly Pale Ales from Upland Brewing Company in Bloomington. I've heard the name Upland before and their logo looks familiar but I don't ever remember seeing their beers on shelves or taps anywhere, so I've never been able to try them before. I know very little about Upland so I'm going into this IPA relatively blind. I don't like the first beer I have from a brewery to be their IPA since they're really hit or miss with me, but this is the Upland beer I have so here it goes...
There are very few reasons I would every willingly go to Wisconsin. The winters are cold there, they eat a lot cheese there and I always get the state confused with Minnesota for some reason. Wisconsin just isn't high on my list of places to see before I'm dead. That's the way it was... before I had some of the great beers from New Glarus. I've had just about every year round beer from New Glarus, and plenty of one offs as well, but I was never able to get a bottle of Wisconsin Belgian Red all to myself until now. I've had this beer once before, in a very tiny tasting glass and I swore it was the best beer I'd ever had.