October is always an intoxicating month in the world of beer, and a personal favorite of ours — it’s an amalgamation of happenings: Oktoberfest celebrations, the hop harvest and ensuing fresh-hop beers, the onset of stout season, and as a Minnesotan — the annual Surly Darkness release (see you Monday, October 29th). On top of all this, we typically see a massive influx of new beers this time of year. Just in the past two weeks alone, we have crammed over EIGHTY new beers into our bursting coolers, covering a broad range of styles and flavors. Choosing what beers you’re going to buy in times like these can certainly lead to decision fatigue — thankfully we’re here to help. Take a gander at some of these beer staff favorites, or just give us a holler next time you stop in!
Castle Danger Mosaic Fresh Hop IPA — $17.99/4pk
Brewed with, you guessed it, all Mosaic hops picked fresh from the bine and shipped immediately to the brewery. The beer world definitely took notice when this beauty was first released back in 2015. Bursting juicy aromas of melon, mango and papaya and a touch of pine. Super smooth mouthfeel and just enough bitterness, this will impress any hop lover. By nature, this beer comes and goes in the blink of an eye — don’t hesitate!
When this coffee milk stout was released in the Unchained series back in 2016, we hoped it wouldn’t be our last visit. Brought back by universal demand, Dark Infusion checks all the boxes of a delicious coffee stout. Smooth, cold-brewed coffee delivers all the flavor without the acrid, roasted bite. Lactose brings the heavenly creaminess. Notes of dark chocolate, graham cracker, caramel, and coffee.
Firestone Walker Stickee Monkee Central Coast Quad — $9.99/bottle
One of the country’s finest breweries led by a brewmaster who first called rural Litchfield, MN home. Matt Brynildson is America’s most awarded brewer, someone who has a knack for taking any beer style to the next level. While this experience shows in all Firestone Walker beers, their Barrel-Aged brews are some of the most notable. Stickee Monkee, named after a Central Coast flower, is a Quad brewed with Turbinado sugar that is then aged in bourbon barrels. Deep brown in hue with bourbon-laced aromas of caramel, dark fruit, leather, vanilla and spice. A gently sweet palate delivers the same wondrous flavors.
Cool story — this German Helles is shipped to the US via B. United’s tank container project and canned in Connecticut. Why does that matter? It means we get fresh, high-quality beer tasting the way it’s supposed to taste when brewed in Bamberg. Schlenkerla is mostly known for their famous Rauchbiers which exhibit meaty, smoked aromas and flavors. While Schlenkerla Lagerbier doesn’t actually use smoked malt, it still gives off a faint smoky aroma. The malt is milled in the same grain mill, it’s boiled in the same copper kettles, and fermented with the same bottom-fermenting yeast as their Rauchbier lineup. Pleasing bready, dry maltiness with faint smoke and herbal hop notes make this helles complex yet crushable.
Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes is a highly-experimental brewery located on the Swiss side of the Jura Mountains. The expert craftsmanship evident in the watchmaking of this region is coincidentally true of their beer production. BFM combines tradition and modernization to bring new life to old world styles. The Brut des Franches is a Champagne-style beer made from three threads of their √225 Saison: one classic, one smoked, one aged in Vin Jaune barrels. Brut des Franches is treated just like champagne, undergoing the traditional méthode champenoise: assemblage (blending), tirage (introducing secondary fermentation), remuage (riddling), dégorgement (removal of sediment), and dosage (for bottle conditioning). Brut des Franches is an exquisite beer perfect for any celebration.
Aged for a full year in used Bourbon barrels, this 14.3% abv beast brings authoritative aromas of bourbon, raisins, caramel, and toffee. Despite being a big beer, Central Waters has always toed the line of not taking it too far. This barleywine shows balance: medium-weight and just enough alcohol warmth to make it a perfect sipper on a cold fall evening.