Friday, November 14, 2008


Walking into the store today I instantly knew what I was going to write about tonight... Dark Horse's return; Bourbon County 08; Eel River Brewing; the truckload of of new imports we got in today. I had it all pictured perfectly in my head... Until a little creature called Krampus whacked me on my skull with his beatin' stick.

Krampus, the creature of legend, is a fanged, goat-horned nasty so-and-so who hands out beatings at Christmastime to all naughty children by way of stick and chain. Krampus, the beer, is an Imperial Helles Lager from the Southern Tier Brewing Company. At first this beer posed a problem to me... why the hell would anyone imperialize a lager? Lagers are all about subtlety. Let the magic of the lager yeast, mellow malt, grassy and slightly zesty hops do their thing. Why the need to throw tons of hops at it and make it 9%? Then I tasted it and found out why... because it' freakin' delicious! Surprised the hell out of me.

The nose is loaded with bright, citrusy and resiny hops. A bit of cut, fresh flowers and a touch of kitchen cabinet spice... Plenty of sweeter malt to balance the bright hops. Flavor tastes almost like a Double IPA. Bitter, floral, grassy and grapefruity hops assert themselves over a decent sweeter malt base. The biscuity flavors of the Munich malt shine through mid-palate and the floral and slightly soapy hops assert themselves on the finish.

This beer pretty much redefined my opinion of what a Helles Lager can be.

This is the first time Southern Tier has brewed this beer and it is their interpretation of a Winter Warmer. It's not going to be around for too much longer though... like all of their other seasonal beers, it is sure to fly off our shelves.

Get Krampused now... before he gets you with his beatin' stick!


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Big Beer Night

Beer(s) of the night: Surly Darkness (2008) and Goose Island Bourbon County Stout (2007)

So I was seriously jonesin' for some Surly Darkness tonight and I discovered that my local craft beer bar, The Blue Nile, still has plenty to go around. Mark and I headed down there around 11:00, only to find out that it is Reggae night at the bar. Thankfully Al told the bouncers to waive the cover for us.

As loud as it was, Mark managed to regale me with tales about his recent trip to New York City. About halfway through our first pour, we looked around the bar and noticed that we were the only ones, out of roughly 100 people, to be drinking this most amazing beer. "Hell... more for us" we said.

Thankfully, Al still has plenty of kegs of Darkness tucked away so that we will imbibe on it's luscious nectar for the weeks to come.

All of this imperial stout talk got me to thinking... it's time I revisit one of my absolute favorites: Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Sure... it's $20 for a 4pk of 12oz bottles, but the flavor experience is like no other. At 13%, it's the perfect nightcap, and as the brewer says "...I have yet to try a cigar that can stand up to it."

The nose presents massive aromas of dark, thick milk chocolate, toasted vanilla bean and loads of Bourbon Spice. It pours out of the bottle the consistency of 10W-30 motor oil, and black as the darkest moonless night. The body is thick and creamy, but is far from sticky or cloying. Initially on the tongue vanilla and bittersweet chocolate notes arrive. Along the way, notes of bourbon, smoke, charred oak and spice are found. The beer finishes remarkably smooth with a pleasant alcohol warmth that reminds you that it's a 13% beer you're drinking.

This is an absolutely massive beer that takes some time and thought, but is an amazing joy from start to finish.

The 2008 vintage arrives at Zipps tomorrow... and if you ask nicely, we may have some 2007 squirreled away as well.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Fred and the Horse

Tonight's brew of choice.

Hair of the Dog Brewing: Fred batch 62

We used to get beer from this brewery in Minnesota... for a very short period of time. No matter though. The craft beer scene has literally exploded since 2003 in the state. We are blessed in MN to be smack dab in the middle of the country, and get some truly amazing beers.

Bells, Victory, Southern Tier, Jolly Pumpkin, Lagunitas, Surly (the local favorite!), New Holland, Two Brothers, Boulder, Tyranena, Ommegang, St. Somewhere... I could go on.

Plus... Minnesota's import selection is absolutely insane!

There are not a lot of markets in the US that offer 4 different Saisons brewed by Dupont. I dare you to try to find such gems as Ichtegems Grand Cru and Oud Bruin elsewhere in the states. Not to mention, in MN we have such gems as Mikkeller, Bogedal, Norrebro, Haand, Nogne, DeDolle, Cantillon, 3 Fontienen... I could go on.

The bottom line is that the beer scene in Minnesota is absolutely incredible and with support of these breweries and importers, the selection will only get bigger.

On a related note, Dark Horse Brewing makes it's triumphant return to Minnesota this week. On Friday, look for the following back on Zipp's shelves:

Crooked Tree 6pks
Amber Ale 6pks
Black Bier 6pks
One Oatmeal Stout 4pks
Scottie Karate 4pks

This is just the tip of the iceberg for Dark Horse... more coming every month. Keep your eyes peeled!

Welcome to the Northwest 2/3rds of the store!

Welcome to the wonderful world of Zipp's Liquors! We are a family-run, independent liquor store in the heart of Minneapolis. We try to bring our customers the widest selection of beer, wine and spirits at the lowest everyday prices. Over the past few years, we've found ourselves developing a passion for craft beer, eclectic wine and unique and rare spirits.

This blog will focus primarily on new products pertaining to the beer and spirit selection... with a few wine references from time to time!

I'll try to keep this updated at least on a weekly basis with new products, specials and web-only sales.

see ya in the store!