Tagged ‘beertography‘

All Pints North 2013

All Pints North Duluth

This past weekend, Mrs. Hopped Up Brewer and I road tripped to Duluth, Minnesota for the second annual All Pints North Summer Brew Fest organized by the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild.  The 4 hour event is set in Bayfront Festival Park along the shore of the inner harbor at Duluth with the iconic aerial lift bridge in the distance.

Duluth is a fantastic setting for a beer event like All Pints, which is perhaps best described as the most laid back beer festival you’ll ever attend. The breeze coming off Lake Superior keeps the temps tolerable on even the sunniest of days, and the festival grounds are spacious enough to park a couple lawn chairs in front of the stage and take in some live music while you enjoy generous pours of some fine Minnesota beer. If you’re into something more active while you rest your lupulin-weary taste buds, you can always challenge some fellow beer drinkers to a game of giant bean bag toss!

All Pints North

As usual, the Surly tent was swamped, but some newer breweries boasted impressive lines as well. Dangerous Man was pouring a couple variations of their excellent Milk Stout. I didn’t get a chance to try the Session Pale, but I heard good things, and their coconut milk stout was surprisingly refreshing, reminding me ever so slightly of the island where I vacationed in January.

Dangerous Man Tap List - All Pints North

New to Duluth, Bent Paddle took home the award for Best Brewery, and tied with Town Hall for Best Beer with their cold press Black Ale served on nitro. Their branding work is top notch, and it’s great to see the beer holds up to the same standard.

Bent Paddle Brewery Display - All Pints North

All in all, this was a great festival, and I definitely plan on attending next year. Attendance this year was double what it was last, but things seemed to go quite smooth. Four hours was the perfect length of time. Not so long that you feel like bailing early, but not so short you feel rushed to get through the tents, either. Couldn’t ask for a more beautiful day to sit outside and drink some beer!

All Pints North - Duluth

Tis the Season

21st Amendment Bitter American

Dead Ringer Sample

Dead Ringer Sample

North Shore Escape

Fitger's Brewhouse Growler


Strawberry Belgian Blonde Tasting

Strawberry Belgian Blonde

The first keg of 11 gallons of strawberry Belgian Blonde ale is drinking quite nicely after only a week in the keg. Since I cold-infused the fruit at 34 degrees, I went ahead and boost-carbed the batch. 30 hours at 30psi made for a quickly-drinkable beer, and it’s gained just a slight bit of dryness on the tonge as the carbonation has leveled off this week. The opaque haze isn’t surprising given the beer was fermented with Wyeast 3944 (Belgian Witbier), though I am surprised how little it’s cleared given how cold the beer was for over a week. Side effect of the fruit? This brewer can’t say. The beer picked up just the slightest hint of red from the strawberries, which left it a pleasant pale orange.

Appearance – Pours with a pearl-white, single finger head that recedes slowly to a white ring around the glass. Body is a thick haze of orange and gold.

Aroma – Light notes of strawberries backed with a touch of spice. Smells sweet initially, but leaves you with enough yeast notes to know it’s a belgian underneath.

Taste –  Strawberry flavor is present, but not overwhelming, and gives way to some of the belgian spice typically present with this yeast. The balance between the strawberry flavor and the underlying beer style is as nice as I could’ve hoped. At first sip, it seems on the sweet size, but the finish is dryer on the back of the tongue, and gives the beer a more balanced feel.

Mouthfeel – Really soft carbonation. I may just be a bit early in tapping this keg, but I think the added sweetness from the strawberries covers up what would have been a lighter body.

Overall Impression & Notes – I entered this in the Award of Brewing program (read about it here) at my club meeting Wednesday and received a 33. I was dinged for slightly low cabonation & haze (both expected), and it was suggested to use more fruit overall. I’d argue that would mess up the balance, but I’m not a BCJP judge either.

Personally, this is probably one of the better homebrews I’ve made to date, or certainly one of the more approachable. It’s a bit sweet to be an everyday drinker, but  very refreshing, and I was aiming for something tasty, but light as summer wanes. I may let the second keg warm to room temp for a week or two and see if the added sweetness from the strawberries ferments out, but leaves some strawberry aroma and flavor behind, but I’m very happy with this first keg.


Boathouse Brewpub Blueberry Blonde

Boathouse Brewpub Blueberry Blonde

This title has my tripping over my own tongue, but the beer is smooth as can be. A friend brought back a growler from Boathouse Brewpub in Ely, Minnesota and graciously shared a pint with me this week.