Well, I was finally able to try a number of the Minnesota beers I read about her on TTW. Sorry to Slap and Douggo but I was in MN for less than 18 hours and couldn't squeeze in the meet up. I met my buddy at the airport just a couple of hours before the Twins game on Friday and hopped on the light rail from the airport to Target Field. First off, Minneapolis is one of the nicer cities I've visited, very clean and new with incredibly nice and helpful people all around. Living in California for years sort of dulls your expectations of your fellow man.
Target Field is fantastic and as we were staying at the Marriott, an easy couple of blocks walk. On to the beer, of which I consumed too much over the weekend.
1. Surly Furious-I grabbed a can at the airport at Ike's while waiting on my friend arriving from San Diego. Pours dark for an IPA, bready aroma with a hint of vanilla. Nice citrus and hops up front and not nearly as heavy on the back end as the West Coast Doubles. Certainly more malt than I'm accustomed to, as I hold the West Coast IPA and Imperial IPA as my favorite style. Just an excellent beer but not quite as good, IMHO, as the Plinys, Optimums and Lagunitas of the world.
2. Surly Bandwagon-I had to wait until the 3rd inning to get this beer at Target Field...line was always crazy long. So, I unwisely went to the Goose Island stand and purchased one of the worst IPAs I've had in long, long time. I haven't looked it up and maybe they brew more of the English style but I barely tasted hops. Felt like I was drinking an amber. Not my cup of tea. The Bandwagon, however, was fantastic. West Coast in style, nice citrus, hops, bitterness on the back end and very drinkable. I actually liked it better than Furious.
After the game, we hit some local bars (can't even recall the names)
3. Left Hand Milk Stout-this is another beer I've read about here and can't get in California. It's fantastic! Ended up drinking this one 3 times over the weekend. Probably a top 3-4 stout for me. Not quite as heavy as Old Ras but very smooth and flavorful.
4. Bell's Two Hearted-another one I read about often but can't get. I finally tried it in VA summer before last but wasn't a huge fan. This time I got it on tap and liked it much better. I certainly appreciate it for what it is...a very flavorful and drinkable beer. Good stuff.
My friend and I woke up early the next morning to quickly check out St. Paul before heading back to the airport. A guy at a breakfast cafe recommended The Muddy Pig. What a great local bar with an excellent beer list. The following weekend they were holding a tasting with a new Bell's Beer and Town Hall Breakfast Stout. Bummed we were just a little early.
Instead, I had another Left Hand Milk Stout and two Summit beers (a St. Paul brewery).
5. Summit Pale Ale-very nice pale ale.
6. Summit IPA-forgettable
After 3 beers in an hour, we hopped in a cab (with a very entertaining driver who kept us in stitches with jokes about belly button rings and elderly gynecologists) for the airport for the quick flight to Milwaukee. Another fine town with incredibly friendly people. Always nice to be back in the *******. We were happy to find out that multiple bars downtown run free shuttles to Miller Park. We stopped in at a place across from our hotel, downed a few Irish Car Bombs and went to the game. Miller Park might be my favorite ball field in America right now. ATT in San Fran is beautiful, Camden in Baltimore holds a lot of good memories for me but Miller is great. The fans are enthusiastic and friendly, dirt cheap prices (compared to the San Fran-esque prices at Target Field) on beer and food, sausage races, Uecker...just all-around a great atmosphere. I reverted back to my favorite Cali beers here, going SN Torpedo (cheaper here than SF or Oakland games). After the game, we hit Water Street Brewery, which brews primarily German-style beers.
7. Had a lager at Water St just to say I did. And though it may be blasphemy in Milwaukee, I didn't consume a single Miller product.
Sorry so long-winded but had a great weekend of baseball and beer.