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Doin’ Beers: 5 Minnesota Beers to Drink in March

Beat Fool’s Spring with good beer.

Nissa Mitchell

March is a rather packed month. We’ve got International Women’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and some sort of basketball-related madness involving charts that remains impenetrable to me despite strangers insisting I must have played basketball in school because I’m so tall.

Taken together with the weird weather we always get, and the ever-present threat of Easter, it’s all a bit much, if you ask me. So, I admit I was a bit overwhelmed and at a loss for what I wanted to cover in my little column this month. Ultimately, I just leaned into it. Become one with the madness, y’know?

Let’s go crazy.

Wooden Ship Brewing Company: Lady of the (Brew) House

Helles / 5.3% ABV / ?? IBU

If you’re even a tenth as gay for women as I am (inextricably, impossibly, inconceivably), you may have been aware of some of the many beers Minnesota breweries released for International Women’s Day (IWD). You may have also found yourself, like me, underwhelmed and frustrated with the way many breweries handled it.

The list of breweries that released beers for IWD made by women brewers was (by my count) disappointingly short: Excelsior, Modist, Spiral, Torg, Under Pressure, Unmapped, Utepils, Waconia, Wandering Leaf, and Wooden Ship. The rest... well, they either didn’t release anything for IWD, or they released beers women on staff in non-brewing capacities “helped with” or “inspired.” In many ways, this second group pointed even more sharply to the fact that brewing is still a bit of a sausage fest (and not in a fun gay way).

The good news is that the breweries that released beers for IWD brewed by women did a pretty great job. Lady of the (Brew) House was the Team Nevertheless collaboration this year. Brewed at Wooden Ship by Abbey Edquist (a brewer at Wooden Ship) and others from the team, it’s a great example of how to celebrate and center women brewers. A helles is a relatively simple beer ingredient-wise, but doing it well is—as is the case with many lighter lagers—very difficult. This one is nicely balanced with bright malt and a light bitterness. If you’re anything like me, it’s the perfect beer to unite your love of women and your love of beer. Now we just need more women brewing.

BlackStack Brewing: Microdosing: Mosaic

Hazy IPA / 7.2% ABV / ?? IBU

BlackStack has produced a variety of beers in their “Microdosing” series, which is one of the only single-hop hazy IPA series I’m aware of. Mosaic itself is a common hazy IPA hop, and one of my favorites—I use it in my own hazy IPA at home. But, I had never imagined using just Mosaic, so I wasn’t sure what I’d get when I cracked Microdosing: Mosaic open. What I got was… well, a very good hazy IPA. I got a lot of mango and mild pine from it, which are both associated with Mosaic hops, but was surprised at how much complexity there was with just the one type of hops. My partner and I ended up fighting over the rest of the four pack.

Klockow Brewing Company: Billy-Bumbler

Belgian-style Tripel / 8% ABV / ?? IBU

Klockow is quickly becoming one of my favorite breweries; I can’t say I’ve had a bad beer from them. And I consider us all very lucky that you can find their stuff in the Twin Cities—Ombibulous, South Lyndale Liquors, and Zipps Liquors can all be relied upon to have their stuff pretty consistently. This is no small feat given Klockow is based in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

Billy-Bumbler is nicely bitter, with banana and bubblegum, and a somewhat medicinal clove finish. Some “Belgian-style tripels” in the U.S. can skew too heavily toward malt or end up overly dry. I found this one to hit right in the middle. I only got one can of it, and by the time I finished it, I was really sad about that.

Modist Brewing Co.: Queen of the Rodeo

Extra Special Bitter / 6% ABV / ?? IBU

I’m a sucker for malty English styles, and rye. You offer me an ESB, and I say, “yes, please.” You tell me it’s got rye in it, and I say, “that’s hot.” You then go on to tell me it was aged in oak barrels, and I say, “stop teasing, and give it to me.”

I suppose what I’m saying here is that I knew I was into this beer the moment I saw it, and I was not disappointed. It hits with a strong rye-forward malt flavor that slowly dries out on the tongue, something I attribute both to the rye and the tannins from the oak. Subsequent sips mellow out a bit, leaving you with a very pleasant medium-bodied malt without it becoming boring or cloying. The result of all this is that the four pack I bought disappeared very quickly.

Indeed Brewing Company: Imperial Pistachio Cream Ale

Imperial Cream Ale / 8% ABV / ?? IBU

One of the perks of being the beer writer for Racket is that occasionally (though not often enough), breweries reach out to me and offer to have me try their new beers in the hope that I might decide to feature them. This is how I found myself chatting with Ryan Bandy (chief business officer at Indeed) a couple weeks ago. We talked about the Minnesota brewing scene, the pains of making industrial brewing spaces feel cozy, and why Indeed decided to take their Pistachio Cream Ale and crank it up a couple notches. At the end of our chat, I took home a couple cans of Imperial Pistachio Cream Ale to try, not sure whether I was going to love it or hate it.

The verdict? It’s good! Indeed’s original Pistachio Cream Ale is a “sometimes” beer for me—I have to be in the right mood for it, and the “pistachio essence” could be dialed back a bit in my humble opinion. But, with the additional malt and alcohol present from scaling the beer up, I found the imperial variation to be quite pleasant. It only comes in 19.2-oz cans—the sort that you might get at a venue/event, and that’s where you’re most likely to find it. In that context, it’s a great alternative to the IPAs and lagers typically on offer, and fits a very underserved niche. And, I’m really excited to see folks experimenting with the 19.2-oz format a bit more.

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