Welcome to Beer Dabbler’s Freshies, our weekly rundown on the newest beers hitting the store shelves and taproom coolers in Minnesota from your favorite local and national breweries.
As we encounter an atypical holiday season at home, it’s nice to find comfort in familiar things. Black Friday isn’t just a traditional shopping frenzy. It’s also the release date for many imperial porters and stouts with big, bold, and often infused flavors. And they can easily be enjoyed at home rather than at the pub.
While there are plenty of boozy and barrel-aged beers on the list below, it’s also diverse in flavor profiles, alcohol content, and body. There are several cranberry seasonals, crisp hard seltzers, and light-bodied lagers to be found across the state as we spend time by the fireplace, hunched over a book, or drying off after a wet fall hike. It’s been an odd, often painful year for many. But there is a lot to give thanks for. Enhance that moment with a toast from one of the many beverages in our inaugural Freshies newsletter below.
Each week in Freshies Top Flight, the Beer Dabbler team highlights five of the most tantalizing new beers that we’re most excited to try.
Jack Pine Lemon Meringue Pastry Sour – A Pastry Sour Series release inspired by the pie of the same name. Expect flavors of graham cracker, lactose, lemon, and vanilla while using a base wheat kettle sour.
Talking Waters Buzzworthy – “An imperial golden ale that’s aged like fine wine alongside wildflower honey in mead barrels for over a year. Just before bottling, we added fresh apricot for a bright and balanced touch of sweetness,” the brewery says. 10% ABV.
Bauhaus Bleatboxer Bock – Back for year number two, Bauhaus describes this as “A smooth dark lager that emphasizes the malty-rich and somewhat toasty qualities of fine European malts without a sweet finish. With little-to-no hop flavor or aroma, this beer is all about the malt.”
Tin Whiskers First Pressing – A bourbon barrel-aged vanilla coffee imperial stout.
Bemidji Maple Reserve – This double porter spent two years in local maple syrup barrels that previously held bourbon. The beer has notes of maple sugar and toffee, which complement the chocolate flavors and warm bourbon finish, the brewery says.
New beers available this week
- German Chocolate Cake – A 7.8% ABV Schwarzwalder Kuchenbier, tapped and put in Crowlers on Nov. 21 and described by 10K as “liquid cake.”
- Rum Barrel Aged Wendigo – Imperial stout aged in rum barrels. 10.4% ABV and available at the brewery in Crowlers as of Nov. 21.
- Wendigo – A 9.8% ABV imperial stout that the brewery describes by saying, “This heavy malty stout has equal bitterness with a thick mouthfeel.”
We declare Stout Season!
Wendigo our flagship Imperial Stout makes its triumphant return today. This heavy malty stout has equal bitterness with a thick mouthfeel, come give it a try before it is gone!
ABV 9.8% pic.twitter.com/9RXv1YXcfQ
— 10K Brewing (@10kbrewing) November 13, 2020
3rd Act Brewery
- Barrel Aged Bourbon Milk Stout – A 6% ABV bourbon barrel-aged oatmeal milk stout that tapped for the Woodbury brewery’s second anniversary on Nov. 18. Notes of chocolate and bourbon on the finish, the brewery says. Available for purchase online in “growlettes.”
- I’m Never Leaving This Place – A malt-forward German-style Festbier. 5.4% ABV, 17 IBU. Available for purchase online in Crowlers and growlers.
Alloy Brewing Company
- Cory’s Kölsch – A traditional German-style Kölsch, at 5.8% ABV, 27 IBU, using a homebrew recipe from a cellarman employed at the brewery.
- Bourbon Barrel Aged Neodymium – The first bottle release from Alloy, this is a 9.5% ABV barrel-aged imperial milk stout, sold in two variants (different whiskey barrels).
Bad Weather Brewing Company
- 2017 Vintage Barrel Aged Cauld Weather Wee Heavy – Bad Weather dug in their cellars to share some limited bottle offerings this holiday weekend. This wee heavy Scottish ale was aged in port and whiskey barrels and has notes of chocolate and caramelized malt.
- 2020 Calamity – This year’s Russian imperial stout was aged in J. Carver bourbon and rye barrels. The brewery describes it as follows: “Full-bodied with notes of chocolate, roast, and dark fruits. Assertive bitterness that accompanies the malt sweetness and higher alcohol. Big, bold, flavors meant for cold weather and campfires.
2020 CALAMITY our Russian Imperial Stout aged in @JCarverSpirits Bourbon & Rye Whiskey Barrels will be available for pickup on Friday!
Clocking in around 13% w/ deep flavors of coffee, chocolate, black currants, raisin & toffee
— Bad Weather Brewing (@BadWeatherBrew) November 25, 2020
- Due Date 3 Belgian Quad – “This Belgian Quad was brewed with whole pitted dates and then aged 8 months in brandy barrels. Aromas of oak, cherries, dates, and spice. Flavors of vanilla, oak, dates, sweet caramel, and spice. Medium-bodied that is slightly warming,” the brewery ays. Brewed in celebration of the head brewer’s daughter.
- Keller Pils – “We implement a double decoction mash giving us a fuller-bodied beer, with layered malt flavor. Spicy, floral, lemon, and light tropical hop aroma and flavor,” Bad Weather explains of this unfiltered and naturally carbonated Pilsner.
- Rum Barrel Aged Immortal Toast – Another big beer for the holiday weekend, this is a white stout with coffee, chocolate, and vanilla, then aged in rum barrels for over 14 months.
- Bang – A hopped strong ale showcasing Amarillo hops.
Bauhaus Brew Labs
- Bleatboxer Bock – Top Flight selection.
- Nah Amber – A non-alcoholic amber ale described by the brewery as made with “a smorgasbord of caramel, Munich, and biscuit malts to create a smooth body balanced by a mild hop bitterness that brings a little brightness to each sip.” Available in 12-ounce cans now.
- Nordicology Hybrid Pilsner – Made with the Kviek yeast, this is a Pilsner made with an ale yeast (hence the “hybrid” name). 4.7% 22, IBU and available in the Freezebox sampler pack.
- Oat Simulator – A smooth and roasty oat stout with otes of coffee, chocolate, and dark bread crust, met with a balanced hop bitterness, the brewery says. 5.5% ABV, 30 IBU. Available in the Freezebox sampler.
- Double Porter 2020 – A winter warmer double porter aged on cocoa nibs and coconut.
- Holiday Ale – A German-style blonde ale infused with honeyberries, graham crackers, and cinnamon sticks, this beer is deep purple in color and resembles a berry crumble with graham cracker crust, the brewery says.
- Maple Reserve – Top Flight selection.
Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
- Christmas Cookie Cream Ale – Available since last Saturday, this beer is a collaboration with the Bentleyville Tour of Lights (running through Dec. 27). The beer is a classic cream ale with added vanilla, almond, and cardamom.
- Double Shot Double Black – DSDB 2020 is here. “This robust version of our black ale features a smooth, chocolatey, semi-roasted malt profile that sweetly balances out the doubled strength. Notes of oak and whiskey from an extended aging period in Bourbon barrels creates a welcoming warmth. This iteration of our Double Black Ale features a ‘Double Shot’ of both Cold-Press coffee and whole bean vanilla,” Bent Paddle says. 11.2% ABV, 52 IBU.
Big Wood Brewery
- Forest Fire Smoked Imperial Rye – A sweet, smoky rye ale with bold winter flavors and a slightly peaty finish. Aged on whiskey-soaked oak and 9.8% ABV, 85 IBU. Available to-go from the brewery or via delivery within 10 miles.
- Noah’s Dark – Available today, this is a barrel-aged imperial stout with cocoa. Visitors who buy two bottles, for a limited time, will receive a free glass.
Boom Island Brewing Company
- Cherry Mango Django IPA – Available in to-go containers from the brewery, this new IPA is made with cherry and mango.
Dangerous Man Brewing Company
- Cranberry Gobbler – A beer for Thanksgiving, available in carry-out Crowlers now. “Creamy, jammy, bursting with fresh tart cranberry goodness and finishing with warm cinnamon spice,” the brewery explains.
🥧 CRANBERRY COBBLER ALE 🥧
Another seasonal favorite has made it’s great return! Creamy, jammy, bursting with fresh tart cranberry goodness and finishing with warm cinnamon spice. Available on tap in beer alley and to-go in crowlers and growler fills to in the Growler Shop pic.twitter.com/7HA1Xmsw60
— DangerousMan (@DangerousMan7) November 14, 2020
Dual Citizen Brewing Company
- Black Is Beautiful – A charitable beer brewed in collaboration with Gus Dean Coffee and Brewing Change Collaborative, this is a limited time American stout.
- Good Good High PA – A hazy oat IPA, available now, featuring a blend of Galena, Citra, Amarillo, and Mackinac hops.
- Le Petite Biere – A new table beer sold at the Saint Paul brewery.
- Ryeteous Vibes – A seasonal red rye ale featuring Golden Promise, Munich, C-80, C-10, Malted Rye, Biscuit Rye, Red Crystal Rye, and Flaked Rye, plus Magnum, Cascade, and Centennial hops.
Eastlake Craft Brewery
- A.M.S. – A non-alcoholic version Eastlake’s Almond Milk Stout. Sold in singles and 4-packs.
- Cerveza Nero – A dark Mexican-style lager named after brewer Paul Nero. Described as deep amber in color with caramel malt, Saaz hops, and flaked maize. 4.6% ABV. A portion of sales will benefit City of Skate, an organization that works to build local skateparks.
- Dinner Plans – A spiced beet sour gose that spent 22 months in wine barrels. “The toasted oak lent subtlety and grace, working with mixed cultures to completely alter the beer into a deliciously subtle and unique sour experience that can’t be beat,” Eastlake says of this limited release.
- Kirby Pucker #34: Tepate – A remake of Kirby Pucker #24, this is inspired by tepache and is brewed with pineapple juice and matured on mezcal-soaked red oak, Eastlake says.
Fair State Brewing Cooperative
- Endurance – A 12.3% ABV coffee and donuts-inspired imperial pastry stout, “This is a big ol’ stout brewed with a whole bunch of chocolate old fashioned donuts from Sarah Jane’s in NE, cold press coffee from our friends at Duluth Coffee Co, and a whole bunch of vanilla beans and caramelized cocoa nibs. It’s a chocolate frosted donut in liquid format,” Fair State says.
- FSB 2020 – The seventh version of Fair State’s seasonal imperial stout. This barrel-aged pastry stout pours at a big 13% ABV. The brewery describes it by saying, “It’s a blend of barrel-aged stouts with maple, coffee, vanilla, and a hint of cinnamon.”
- Maximum Stoke – A new 6.5% ABV hazy IPA made with a proprietary YCH cryo blend hop with fruity, lemon-lime, berry, and tropical flavors.
- Total Landscaping – A stout made with a touch of wildflower honey. This beer pours at 7.0% ABV and is available to-go from Fair State in Crowlers and 750-milliliter bottles.
FINNEGANS Brews Co
- Pumpkin Flanders – “A Flanders red ale brewed with local pumpkins and aged for 23 months in gin barrels. Herbal, slightly tart and with a heavy barrel character,” the brewery explains. 8.5% ABV, 12 IBU.
- Rescue+Recharge – A 4.5% ABV crisp American lager, available in limited supplies direct from FINNEGANS or in 12-ounce 12-packs. A portion of proceeds benefit Firefighters for Healing.
Firestone Walker Brewing Company
- Chocolate Cherry Stout – A new seasonal stout variant with cherries added during fermentation for subtle fruit notes to complement the cacao nibs. Sold in 6-packs and on draft.
- Luponic No. 17 – This version of the ongoing IPA series showcases a new Willamette Valley hops blended with the classic American “C-hops,” which emphasize citrus notes with balancing touches of lime peel and grapefruit. “We found that when we blended these hops together, there’s a certain alchemy—a luscious blueberry aroma that is reminiscent of a blueberry-basil cocktail,” brewmaster Matt Brynildson says. 5.9% ABV.
- XXIV – Firestone Walker’s 24th anniversary ale. Each year features a unique blend made by local winemakers. Described as rich and complex, this beer combines Velvet Merkin, Stickee Monkee, Parabola, Smoked Imperial Walkers Reserve, Bravo, and Tequila Barrel Helldorado.
- Gale Force – A 7.7% ABV cranberry ale for the holiday season available in Crowlers from Fitger’s Brewhouse and Burrito Union.
Founders Brewing Co.
- Moon Rambler IPA – A new fall seasonal that will be sold in 6- and 15-packs through March. “Moon Rambler IPA (6.4%) touches down with a big dose of Azacca, Mosaic and Cascade hops that provide a blast of tropical fruitiness, assisted by a classic foundation of wheat and oats. Milk sugar is added to create a sweet yet slight creaminess, giving it a round mouthfeel, remarkably less bitter taste and a fuller body than your typical IPA,” the brewery says.
- Chocolate Oatmeal Milk Stout – A dark and velvety smooth stout referred to in shorthand as COMS. Made with nine varieties of malted barley and oats, plus cacao nibs and a touch of lactose.
- Proper Porter – At 6.4% ABV, 30 IBU, this seasonal release is back. Sold in the fall sampler pack.
- Strawberry Rhubarb Hard Seltzer – A new hard seltzer flavor, included in The Even More Fun pack alongside Blood Orange, Citrus Ginger, and Hopped! flavors.
Goose Island Beer Co.
- Anniversary Bourbon County Stout – Aged for two years in Weller 12 Year barrels. This special edition is aged far longer than dht e4-5 years of aging for Original Bourbon County Stout, giving it more barrel flavor plus notes of dried dark fruit and notes of chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, and burnt sugar.
- Birthday Bourbon County Stout – Barreled in Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, this variant offers chocolate, vanilla, maple, berry, and cinnamon notes.
- Bourbon Country Carmella Ale – As Goose Island ays on their website: “Caramella or ‘candy’ in Italian is a wheatwine aged in Larceny Wheated Bourbon barrels with apple, cinnamon, and natural caramel flavor added after aging.” Flavors included creamy caramel, red apple, cinnamon, and funnel cake.
- Bourbon County Kentucky Fog Stout – A tea-inspired variant, this stout aims to capture notes of London Fog tea, made with Earl Grey and black year, plus clover honey for notes of black licorice, white pepper, citrus, florals, and graham cracker.
- Bourbon County Proprietor’s – A variant inspired by Italian spumoni.
- Bourbon County Special #4 Stout – This version is an oatmeal stout that was aged in bourbon barrels, with added coffee and bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup. Expect notes of coffee, vanilla, toasted nuts, cocoa, and maple.
- Bourbon County Stout – The original, “Bourbon County Stout boasts a unique blend of flavors such as fudge, vanilla and caramel — topped off with a rich, complex mouthfeel,” the brewery says.
- Coastal Sunshine v10 – A 6% ABV fruited sour with peach, orange, and mango.
- Coffee Stout – A roasty stout with balanced chocolate notes and added coffee.
- Contains Nuts – The peanut butter milk stout is back in liquor stores now, sold in 4-packs.
- Four Leaf Cleaver IIPA – A double dry-hopped double IPA at 8% ABV, 82 IBU, this new offering has citrus, juicy fruit, and pine notes in a balanced profile.
- Halucidation – This is the eighth time this Belgian tripel fermented with Frontenac grapes has been unleashed. “The Belgian base features fruity flavors and spice with a dry finish. When it’s fermented with wine grapes, the beer’s alcohol content shoots up. The Frontenac grapes also lend dark fruit flavors such as cherry and blackberry,” Inbound says. 14.5% ABV, 28 IBU.
- Stout – A balanced stout with roasty chocolate notes.
Jack Pine Brewery
- Lemon Meringue Pastry Sour – Top Flight selection
Kinney Creek Brewery
- Thundersnow – Tapped before the recent closure of bars and restaurants for dine-in, but also packaged in Crowlers.
La Doña Cervecería
- Ocēlōtl – The barleywine returned for La Doña’s second-anniversary party last month.
Lake Monster Brewing
- Chocolate Vanilla Pastry Stout – A winter-minded bold and heavy pastry stout. 7.2% ABV.
- St. Paul Pub Ale – The 4.8% smooth and malty pub ale is back 4.8% ABV.
Lakes & Legends Brewing Company
- Cranberry Cider – A 3.5% ABV hard seltzer made with fresh cranberry juice from Aitkin.
- Ginger Lime Pop Wash – A 4% ABV hard seltzer.
- Green Lens – “Dry, bitter, piney and old school. A skillfully made IPA,” the brewery says. 7.5% ABV.
- Sour Cherry Pop Wash -A 4% ABV hard seltzer.
- Talking in Cursive – A 6.7% ABV hazy IPA.
- Tangerine Pop Wash – A 4% ABV hard seltzer.
- Two Ravens – A 5.8% ABV red ale.
Lift Bridge Brewing Company
- Berry Blonde – A new blonde ale with subtle fruit flavors derived from ripe boysenberry and blackberry juice. 4% ABV.
- Commander Barleywine – A 12.5% ABV English-style barleywine, aged in bourbon barrels. Big, bold, and complex, and available in additional variants of Old Fashioned and Pina Colada.
- Blood, Wit & Tears – “Mild and fluffy mouthfeel, with delicate coriander spice, and a generous citrus blood orange kick,” Lupine says of this 5.8% ABV witbier made with blood orange and coriander.
- Cranberry Sour Meower – Available in to-go cans from the brewery, this is a beer made with cranberries and orange peel. 5.4% ABV.
Lupulin Brewing Company
- 8 Count – A 7.5% ABV IPA that came out last week.
- B.A. Polarnattens paradis – A barrel-aged imperial coffee stout, available for Black Friday.
- BA Eastern Sea – A rye whiskey barrel-aged Baltic-style porter fermented with Kveik yeast. Available for Black Friday, Lupulin calls this beer “Surprisingly quaffable for a beer of its strength. Medium-bodied with malty notes of light roast coffee, chocolate, and caramel, as well as a hint of stone fruit and plum as it warms. The barrel-aging contributes notes of oak, vanilla, and subtle spice.”
- Centsless – Featuring only Centennial hops, “Smooth bitterness balances sweetness, with aromatic notes of rose hips and orange marmalade,” Lupulin says of this 7% ABV, 60 IBU West Coast IPA
- Coconut-Vanilla Demigod – A blend of barrel-aged Whiskey Nuts and Barrel God with coconut and vanilla for Black Friday.
- Sophistry 08 – “Sultana provides a pineapple note that blends perfectly with Sabro’s complex tropical coconut and mandarin flavors. With a smooth and creamy body, Sophistry 08 is a dank and drinkable IPA,” the brewery explains. 7.5% ABV.
- Hero – An annual hazy IPA released for men’s health month. All proceeds benefit the Jonathan Zierdt Cancer Fund, whose mission is to support patients with a cancer diagnosis.
Modist Brewing Co.
- Campfire Jeans – “An oak-aged smoked Helles lager brewed with Barke Pilsner and beechwood smoked barley malt. Hopped with Triple Pearl and Hallertau Mittelfruh then lagered and aged in our oak foeder,” Modist says. Available from the brewery and in liquor stores.
- No Save Point – This beer was released in partnership with the video game Cyberpunk 2077 and rap group Run The Jewels. Run The Jewels gave a base recipe to 12 breweries across the country, with Modist as the only Minnesota participant, from which they concocted a double dry-hopped New England-style IPA. 6.8% ABV and available now.
- Shook Blueberry Pie – A milkshake-style IPA made with more than 2,500 pounds of blueberries, graham cracks, vanilla beans, and milk sugar. Available at Modist now and hitting liquor stores on Dec. 1.
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OMNI Brewing Co.
- FAD DDH Strata – FAD hazy IPA, double dry-hopped with Strata for extra fruit flavors.
O’so Brewing Company
- Doe in Heat – With hunting seasonal release has a full name of Doe in Heat/Buck in Rut and is an easy drinking American lager at 4.6% ABV.
- Group Hug IPA – A new 6.2% ABV IPA from the Wisconsin brewery.
- High 5s For Days – A 6% ABV strawberry and mango milkshake IPA brewed with vanilla and lactose, then double dry-hopped with Mosaic.
Rogue Ales & Spirits
- Ginger Lemon Whiskey Mule – A new hard beverage, this 7.5% ABV slim can entry uses Rogue Spirits whiskey, ginger, lemon, simple syrup, and sparkling water for a refreshing canned cocktail with citrus and spice notes.
- Santa’s Private Reserve – It’s officially the holiday season and Santa’s Private Reserve 2020 is peppermint bark milk stout with peppermint and dark chocolate aromatics, plus a velvety body for the season. 8.3% ABV, 26 IBU, and sold in 750-milliliter bottles.
- Hazery – A new hazy IPA.
- Lividity – A new, limited porter with apple, caramel, and white chocolate. Available in Crowlers as of Nov. 20.
- Cosmic Runestone IPA – Exotic Destinations – One of two new beers in the IPA 12 Days of IPAs mixed pack. Originally released in California only and now nationally available. The pack also includes F + B, Soaring Dragon imperial IPA, Sublimely Self-Righteous Black IPA, Exotic Destinations, Go To IPA, IPA, Delicious, Tangerine Express, Scorpion Bowl, Fear.Movie.Lions DIPA, and Ruination.
- Exotic Destinations – One of two new beers in the IPA mixed pack. Originally released in California only and now nationally available.
- F + B IPA – Features & Benefits IPA is a session, low carb and gluten reduced IPA with orange, pear, white peach, melon, and black pepper on the tongue. 4% ABV, 2.9g carbs, 95 calories.
Talking Waters Brewing Co.
- Buzzworthy – Top Flight selection.
- Choco Affogato – This pastry stout uses vanilla beans, cocoa nibs, and freshly roasted coffee to create an espresso and ice cream inspired ale.
Tin Whiskers Brewing Company
- First Pressing – Top Flight selection.
- Braggot – The Spring Lake brewery released a new braggot in celebration of its second anniversary.
Urban Forage Winery and Cider House
- Cran Cherry Cider – Urban Forage’s Cherry Cider with an organic cranberry kick. “Light red and fruity with a tart bite, we sweetened this to the same level as our semisweet cider,” the cider house explains.
- Ghost of Christmas Past – A hazy cider with citrusy tang and lingering mellow heat, this was made with local organic ghost peppers, lemongrass, and grapefruit zest.
Venn Brewing Company
- Astralite Crispy Boi Rice Lager – At 4.7% ABV, 10 IBU, this is a new crispy rice lager from the south Minneapolis brewery on the Blue Line.
- Fruitality: Strawberry – A smoothie-style beer made with strawberries, vanilla, and lactose. 7.0% ABV, 15 IBU.
Waconia Brewing Company
- Flashpoint – A cream ale made with vanilla beans and German Oak smoked wheat malt. A portion of each sale goes to the Minnesota Volunteer Firefighter Relief Association. 5.5% ABV, 16 IBU. Available in cans and at the taproom.
Wild Mind Ales
- Blues Sky on Mars – Featuring Galaxy, Strata, and Hallertau Blanc hops, this beer shares fruity flavors of passion fruit gummies, Sunny D, and dank and herbal notes.
- Fire in the Glass – A 5% oak foeder-aged Vienna lager. The first beer from the brewery’s new horizontal oak lagering foeders, “Fire in the glass has notes of toasted bread, a touch of malt sweetness, and your grandfather’s hard toffee candy,” Wild Mind says.
- Utopian Pity Party – A smoothie-style sour with blueberry, cherry, vanilla, and milk sugar. 5.8% ABV.
Wooden Hill Brewing Company
- Macro – A 5.5% ABV crisp lager brewed with German noble hops. On tap at the brewery and sold in Crowlers too.
- Moscow Mule – A new cocktail flavored hard seltzer with ginger spice and lime. 5.5% ABV.
Beers just announced
Founders Brewing Co.
- Blushing Monk – Coming in December, this tart raspberry beer is made with a Belgian yeast that offers subtle fruit and spice esters topped off with jammy raspberry. 9.2% ABV.
Indeed Brewing Company
- Pistachio Cream Ale – This cream ale with smooth, nutty notes and no actual pistachio will return as a year-round beer in 2021.
And a big “oh yeah” to add: Pistachio Cream Ale will be a year-round beer in 2021, packaged in Chuck U-designed 12-ounce cans. https://t.co/u9O2HZv0vB
— Indeed Brewing Co. (@indeedbrewing) November 16, 2020
Lift Bridge Brewing Company
- Biscotti – A Belgian-style ale with golden and amber malts, vanilla, and cacao nibs and is inspired by the Italian coffee of the same name. A 7.48% ABV holiday ale hitting the market next week.