Brew Review: Urban Growler “De Lovely Porter”
This week my craft beer travels lead me to Urban Growler, the first women owned and brewed microbrewery in Minnesota. It's also one of the few tap rooms to boast a kitchen.
Head Brewer and Founder, Deb Loch, is turning out some pretty exciting selections, including the "Plow to Pint" series of beers which add a local twist with ingredients that are grown right here in Minnesota like honey, raspberries and pumpkins.
In fact, one of my favorite things about the visit was sitting down after the interview and just sampling and talking about the various concoctions they were cooking up. One in particular that you must get down to St. Paul to try is Rhubarb Wit, from the "Plow to Pint" series. I remember eating the rhubarb that would grow in our backyard as a kid and, of course, will throw down any day on rhubarb pies and crisps. Deb said the interesting thing about Rhubarb is it's flavor profile changes throughout the season giving brewers a complexity of tastes to work with from a single source.
For you tequila fans, the Agave Ale is a must try. With a stronger ABV percentage at 8.8%, it's a great summer sipper.
One more I have to mention before I get to the porter - Sour Beer. This is something I'm pretty new to. Alone, they have a tart, acidic taste that is caused from intentionally allowing wild yeast strains into the brew. It can be a risky beer to create as it's a very specialized form of brewing, the results can be unpredictable and it can take months to achieve the final product. So why drink it? For the same reason you eat a full bag of Sour Patch kids without stopping - the pucker. At Urban Growler, they have a couple syrups they use for their sour beer and it's wonderful. I could easily see myself drinking one of these on their patio on a sunny day. One syrup is raspberry and the other, which I can't for the life of me remember the name, makes the sour beer taste like a tea with honey.
Okay, De Lovely Porter is very nice. Co-founder Jill Pavlak said she's a fan of darker beers and wanted something she could also drink in the summer that didn't feel too heavy. Boom - De Lovely Porter was born. Dark, delicious and very smooth with a hint of smoke. I took home a growler.
I also took home a growler of City Day Ale - very drinkable American Pale Ale at 5.5% ABV.
As a beer enthusiast, I found Urban Growler to be a very pleasant experience. The taproom shares space with the brewery without glass or a wall separating the two, so when you're enjoying a pint at the bar, you kind of feel like you're part of the process. Like, at any moment, someone might ask you to help toss of bag of malts in. The staff was very personable and down-to-earth and very passionate about the beer. When a new beer hits the taps, they all take a sip, try it, talk about it and Deb keeps them informed on what they're serving.
Hit up Urban Growler and go for a flight of beers! Try, talk, experience and don't be afraid to ask your server what's new on tap and what they recommend.