The holidays are upon us. There is snow on the ground, Christmas music has been playing non-stop in the store for the past several weeks, and everyone seems to be in a jolly mood. With the holidays, though, is the fear of gifting. Who do you give a gift to? How much do you spend? What heck do they even want?
Those are tough questions to answer sometimes. Lucky for you, the majority of people don’t return beer. Lucky for me, I get to drink beer to help guide you to the perfect gift. I combed the store to find some beers for every level of beer drinker out there. I’ve got a beer perfect for the Beer Snob – the person who goes and camps out in front of a brewery waiting for the next beer release. To contrast that, there is the beer that will make the non-beer drinkers believers. I’ve found a pretty beer that the beer nerd in all of us will geek out a little bit over. Finally, for your favorite hard cider drinker, I’ve got a unique cider that is truly one of a kind that you won’t find anywhere else!
And Now, the Brews
|12welve Eyes Brewing | Mosaic Wheat IPA|
|For that special “Haze Bro” in your life, we’ve got a delicious wheat IPA brewed with Mosaic hops from one of St. Paul’s newest breweries, 12welve Eyes down in Lowertown. Three dudes with glasses resulting in 12 eyes, and delicious beers! Their Mosaic Wheat IPA pours out with a great haze that, unlike some hazy IPAs, with just the right amount of haze that isn’t off-putting. The aromas are floral, fruity, and earthy from the combination of Mosaic and wheat. Fresh cut grass, berries, pineapple, mango, dankness, and a touch of spice welcome your nose and invite your lips to take a sip. The flavors of this beer are also floral, fruity, and earthy. There are a good sweet and spice characteristics from the wheat mixed with some great tropical fruits that compliment a light bitterness and a dry finish. A fantastic beer from a very young brewery. Sure to impress your favorite beer snob, even if it is you.|
|Crowler | 6.6% ABV | 60 IBUs|
|Schell’s | Noble Star Electrik Empress | Berliner Weisse aged on Plums|
|We all know Schell’s as being the oldest brewery in Minnesota. Their main lines of beer are solid brews, but Jace Marti, son of Ted Marti, owner of Schell’s, wanted to do something different. Thus, the Noble Star collection was born. An entirely new brewery was built a little ways off from the main brewhouse as to not contaminate any of the flagship beers with foreign yeasts. The idea behind Noble Star was to create “A collection of specialty beers, all Berlin-style wheat beers or Berliner Weisse, aged in rare cypress fermentation tanks Schell’s bought in 1936.” All bottles are hand-filled, hand-labeled and bottle-conditioned right at the Noble Star brewery. The first thing you’ll notice is that beautiful color. A matte pink of sorts. Pour this in front of your Mom or show her and I dare you to tell me that she doesn’t think it’s a pretty looking beer! I dare you. Lifting from the glass are aromas of a traditional Berliner Weisse funk, mixed with very light plum notes, citrus, and barnyard. Once you’re done sniffing your beer, the flavors are incredibly well balanced. Upfront, you’ll notice some tart lemon, a little funk, and a touch of wood. All of this culminates into a soft plum flavor that is wonderfully refreshing! A fantastic beer for any beer geek. I know I would be more than happy to receive another bottle of this… hint, hint.|
|750 ml | 5.9% ABV | 5 IBUs|
|Liefmans | Cuvee Kriek Brut | Ale aged with Cherries|
|Liefmans has been around for over 100 years and their beers have been nothing but delicious since the beginning. Originally, farmers would bring in their excess crops, usually dark cherries, in exchange for beer. Liefmans would put those cherries in maturation tanks where they would eventually age some beer blends on until they were ready to drink. The Cuvee Kriek was aged for 18 months from a blend of their Oud Bruin and a pale beer. The combination of these two beers and the dark cherries resulted in a dark red beer with heaping aromas of cherries that isn’t overpowering, but soft and elegant. Lots of cherry beers will tend to smell like medicine, but Liefmans does a great job of sticking to the true aromas of cherries. This beer can be enjoyed by both beer lovers and non-beer drinkers alike. On the palate, you’re hit with slightly tart black cherries, a little bit of oak, and some malty pie crust. The finish is chewy (in a good way) with some cherry leather. A beer that everyone can enjoy. It doesn’t taste much like beer, it’s not overly sweet or tart, and it drinks like cherry soda. De-freakin-licous.|
|750 ml | 6% ABV | N/A IBUs|
|Keepsake Cider | Barrel Aged Wild | Wildly fermented Cider aged in Bourbon Barrels|
|You can’t include everyone if you don’t include those who enjoy a good cider. So, this cider right here is unique to Top Ten. We gave Keepsake a used barrel from Wyoming Whiskey that held some bourbon that we hand selected to sell at our store. Keepsake aged their Wild in the barrel for about two months added a small amount of their own pressed juice and kegged it to create carbonation. Once it had a nice amount of natural bubble in the keg, it was bottled and lightly pasteurized. All of this work resulted in an off-dry, hazy, bourbon barrel aged wild cider. This unfiltered cider, made with 100% local apples, has aromas of pear, citrus, oak, and a nice minerality. The native yeasts that spontaneously fermented in the cider mixed the characteristics of the barrel brought out flavors of pear, bourbon, applesauce, citrus, oak, and a hint of vanilla. A slightly tart treat that will put a smile on any cider lover’s face. A great unique gift that can only be found at Top Ten!|
|750 ml | 6.7% ABV | N/A IBUs|