Last weekend was the 2016 Winter Beer Dabbler here in St. Paul, Minnesota. This is the 7th year they’ve had the Beer Dabbler. Last time I attended was in 2013 and the event has really grown! Back in 2013 they held the event in Lower Town where the farmers market is during the summer. In 2014 they moved it to the State Fair Grounds and I can see why! I think the stats for this year was over 140 breweries and over 8,000 people. It was a great time; I always love the comradery and general jovial spirit at these events. I had hoped to post some pictures and talk about the event but I forgot to take photos until the sun had started to go down and I knew nothing would turn out at that point. Instead here are my top three beers of the Winter Beer Dabbler (that I tried).
#3: Steller IPA by North Coast Brewing: I’ve been a big fan of North Coast Brewing’s Old Rasputin. It wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that I realized who brewed Old Rasputin and that they actually brewed other beers. So I had to stop at North Coast’s booth and I was really impressed with their IPA. With an ABV of 6% and 59 IBU I found this IPA to be very well balanced. I like my IPAs to be the kind you can sit and drink 3 or 4 of in one sitting. Not overly hoppy, not overly syrupy in the body. This one hit the spot. I’ll be interested to seek out more beers by North Cost Brewing.
#2 Sour Divine Occultist by Harriett Brewing: This beer is a twist on their normal Divine Occultist. The Divine Occultist is their Belgian style golden strong ale. The sour version has been aged in French chardonnay barrels. The barrel aging really complimented this beer perfectly. You could taste the strong ale but it was mellowed with the barrel aging and chardonnay flavors. It also had slight hints of sour – creating a more complex flavor. I see they have it for growler sales right now on their website. Debating on a stop this week.
#1 Murder of Cranberries Stout by Lupine Brewing: For my number one choice I ended up selecting a beer by a brewery I had never even heard of before. Lupine Brewing brought three beers to the event and honestly any of three could have been on this list (the other two were a coffee porter and vanilla chai tea porter). The Murder of Cranberries Stout was everything I hope for in a fruit stout. Strong malty backbone; cranberry you can actually taste; everything balanced out perfectly. This was the only brewery we went back to try additional beers; it was that good. I’m putting this brewery on my list to visit in 2016.
Steller IPA by North Coast: http://www.northcoastbrewing.com/beers/year-round-beers/north-coast-steller-ipa/
Sour Divine Occultist by Harriett Brewing: http://www.harrietbrewing.com/beer/barrel-aged-sour-divine-oculust/
Murder of Cranberries Stout by Lupine Brewing: http://lupinebrewing.com/beer/