The dead of winter sucks. If the temperature gets out of the single digits, it’s a good day. That’s a sad statement to make. Even if we did just spend the last week calling all those out of towners wimps for complaining about the cold. Deep down, we all agreed with them, but we also don’t complain about it. We dig deep, strap on our boots, cover every inch of skin, and venture out into the Minnesota Tundra, head first, to go and get the job done.
Luckily for us, we also have one of the best beer scenes in the country. Along with that scene comes awesome beers that are high in alcohol that are able to warm us up and keep us sane. This week, we’ve got a few beers that do just that, warm you up on these cold days. They may put you to sleep, but, let’s be honest, sleeping under a mound of blankets on a cold day is all time!
And Now, the Brews
|Summit | Union Series #6 | Imperial Russian Stout|
|Some of you may already know about my affection for Summit. One of Minnesota’s oldest breweries, popping out fantastic beers with the utmost quality, and never shying away from a difficult or traditional styles. Also, their social media has been on point as of late, kudos to you, Brendan, the witty person behind it! As for this IRS, it’s no laughing matter. Pouring pitch black with a minimal khaki colored head, the beer boasts aromas of roasted malts, dark chocolate, some dark fruits, and a touch of molasses. The flavor follows suit, almost to a “t”, but with more pronounced dark fruits, such as figs and raisins, chocolate, and more roasted malts. This huge beer is surprisingly easy, albeit a little dry, to drink with a fairly light mouthfeel, and almost no booze to be detected. Definitely a beer you should be seeking out.|
|4 pk Bottles | 10.5% ABV | 70 IBUs|
|Lagunitas | Cappuccino Stout | Coffee Stout|
|Lagunitas does several things well, but my favorite thing is the fact that almost all of their 22 oz bombers are a mere $4.99 and their Cappuccino Stout is no different. Loaded with coffee, this stout is a breakfast beer through and through. Another pitch black pour with a beautiful khaki head. Huge amounts of roasted coffee have taken center stage in every scene of this 22 oz production. Intertwined with the coffee, you can find the supporting cast of sweetened milk, chocolate, vanilla, molasses, and touch or brown sugar. Another beer where the alcohol is well hidden. This beer ages pretty well too, give it a year and watch the complexity shine. I suggest sharing the bottle unless you’re looking to fall straight to sleep and waking up with an enormous headache… I’m not saying that’s what happened to me, but I’m not, not saying that.|
|22 oz Bottle | 9.1% ABV | 29.5 IBUs|
|Blacklist | Spruce | Spruce Tipped Imperial IPA|
|Let’s move away from those dark roasty beers to something a little different for all my hop bro fans out there (I’m looking at you, Chad). This Imperial IPA was brewed with, you guessed it, spruce tips. Not just any spruce tips, though, all those tips were picked fresh right there in Duluth, where their brewery resides. They’ve also added a touch of fennel to give it an extra kick! This is a beautiful looking beer with a great golden hue and a nice sized head. The spruce tips are prevalent on the nose along with some great tropical fruit notes and a slight malty sweetness, but mostly those spruce tips. Drinking it brings about similar characteristics with some added grapefruit, menthol, a touch of fennel, and a little bit of anise. Don’t forget about that booze. This here beer doesn’t hide the alcohol all that well, but it’s a welcomed warmth that is actually pretty great in these single digit temperatures. Overall, all of these distinct elements result in a well-balanced beer.|
|4 pk 16 oz Cans | 9.5% ABV | 70 IBUs|