Tag Archives: central waters

Fantasy Draft Friday – 2014


Yesterday, I gave some tips links on how to soak up every last bit of summer in the Twin Cities.

After summer is gone, fall means…


And although I’ll talk about football briefly, the real purpose of this Fantasy Draft post is to pick my favorite BEERS! Click here to read about my 2013 Fantasy Draft Six-Pack.

But first, I need to announce that I’m especially excited for football season this year because I am finally a…



Yes, that’s right. I put my name on The Waiting List 20 years ago and I now have season tickets – for the Gold Package. For those of you who don’t know, the Gold Package consists of three games. These tickets date back to the days when The Packers played three games a year at Milwaukee County Stadium and the remaining games were played in Green Bay. If I wanted to pass on the three-game (Gold) package, I could keep my name on the waiting list for the Green package, which is for the rest of the games. The wait for that? Estimated at another 17 to 20 years.

Living in Minnesota, I’ll think I’ll take what I can get!

As much as I love Green Bay football, I have to tell you that my Fantasy Draft (beer) choices for 2014, will not be served at Lambeau Field.

What, you mean that they don’t cater to MOI?!!!


Rules for Fantasy Draft 2014:

1) No repeat beers from last year. (Although I still love all of those!)

2) No repeat breweries within the same six-pack. For example, even if I am in love with two beers from say, Sam Adams, I can only include one.


Fantasy Draft 2014

J.K.’s Scrumpy Farmhouse Organic Hard Cider (MI)

So, cider isn’t exactly the same as beer; but I’m putting it in my six-pack anyway! I’ve been meaning to tell you alphoto 1(2)l about this cider for probably a year.

It is my favorite cider of all time.

It takes like the yummy non-filtered (non-alcoholic) ciders you get right at an orchard. It’s tasty and perfect. I’ve tried other “farmhouse” style hard ciders since, thinking it was just the type I liked. But I was wrong.

Nothing else comes close.


Dangerous Man Hazelnut Porter (MN)photo 1(1)

Sorry, you can’t get this beer anywhere but the taproom. So if you are in the Twin Cities, it’s important that you make a pilgrimage. I’m not even sure if it’s on tap all of the time because they brew everything in small batches. But I’ve never had anything like it.Tthe aromas of hazelnut alone are transcending. It smells like they have been toasted. And the flavor? Just as rewarding.


New Belgium Coconut Curry Hefeweisen (CO)photo 3(1)

I normally don’t even like New Belgium’s beers. The exception was when I discovered their Cocoa Molé a couple of years ago at the Happy Gnome.

Well, they did it again.

New Belgium came up with something unique and delicious. We discovered the Coconut Curry Hefeweisen at Devil’s Advocate about a week ago. I was really surprised when my wheat-beer-despising husband ordered it. In fact, he’s not even a curry fan. But he was intrigued. And he loved it. I took a sip… and I stole it. He had to order his own.

Rob didn’t get anything but coconut; but there is a hint of heat on the finish, which is what I feel is what a good curry will do. This beer might sound kind of strange,;but it’s very rewarding and much better than I had expected. I want one while I’m writing this. It’s a specialty beer that appears to be bottled, but I haven’t done any research to see if we can get it anywhere else.


Horny Goat Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter (WI)photo 2(1)

Here’s another brewery which I’ve never found outstanding…  But when Rob picked up this beer,  it wasn’t the brewery that turned me off. It was the name/description. I mean, come on, a Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter. I personally, had never seen peanut butter done in a beer before. And it actually sounded kind of disgusting to me.

But I tried it anyway…

And they nailed it.

Seriously. I stole one from Rob’s six-pack. And he smiled. Trust me, give this one a go.


Dragon’s Milk Reserve with Toasted Chilies (MI)photo 2

You’ve probably read enough about my love of Bourbon Barrel Beers. And Dragon’s Milk is no exception. But when Rob saw this one at Blue Max in Burnsville, he thought of me. And he bought it as a surprise. It’s kind of like Dragon’s Milk meets the Cocoa Molé I was mentioning above. Have you had one of those chocolate bars with chilies in them? This is like that.

But better.

It’s Beer.

It’s Bourbon Barrel Beer.

It’s Dragon’s Milk.

With a spicy finish.

love. Love. LOVE.


Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout (WI)

I couldn’t leave this one out. I’m still stuck in my love of Bourbon Barrel Beers.

And this is my favorite beer of all time.CW - BB Stout

I promised it to my dad for Father’s Day; but I can’t find it now. My local MGM is no longer carrying it. I can settle for the Bourbon Barrel Barleywine, which I love 99.9% as much. (I did a side by side tasting!) But I’m sure that my faves are just not around this time of year. I wanted to talk to Central Waters at the Canterbury Beer Fest. But they didn’t show up.


I searched the festival over several times. They were a no-show. {Insert Sad Face here.} I need to take a serious roadtrip to their taproom in Amherst, Wisconsin. They have many more Brewer’s Reserve beers that I’d like to try… Well, if they are available. I could become a stalker. Anyone want to join me?


Coming over to my house?

Pick up any one of these beers and you’ll win me over. 😉


Summer Lovin’


I’ve been neglecting this poor little blog lately. But, for me, it’s okay. I’m trying to soak up every last drop of summer, despite the fact that it’s only begun. You’ll find the evidence in some of my #100HappyDays photos:

Oh how green it is when I go for a quick run!

photo 3

Monday night Couples’ Golf League {aka croquet golf}.

photo 2

Taking advantage of some hammock time after work:

photo 1

Then looking over and seeing our beautiful green yard with our handsome Bugaboo…

And enjoying a Central Waters Satin Solitude Imperial Stout on the back deck…

photo 4

Those of us who live in Minnesota love to spend as many daylight hours in the summer outside, as noted in this article. #1 explains it all! I am making an effort more than ever this year. Here’s why.

It’s the first year that I ever really realized that…


Isn’t that silly!? And if you live in the Twin Cities and can’t figure out what to do with your time, you’ll find some excellent ideas here. Or just spend some time sitting out on these patios.

What’s one of the most simplistic, yet satisfying ways that you enjoy summer?




Happy Wine Wednesday!

Barleywine, however, is not a wine at all!

So should I say…

“Happy Barleywine Wednesday?”

So what is it then?

Because barleywine isn’t made from grapes, but grain, it is actually a beer. It’s a type of ale that was supposedly developed in England a couple of hundred years ago to replace the beloved claret wine that the English could not import from the French during war. This style of beer amped up the alcohol percentage closer to that of wine, giving it its name.

I love the description of the Southern Tier Barleywine on this menu at the Happy Gnome:

Barleywine - Gnome Desc

Ha ha. Yeah, you probably wouldn’t want to drink more than one. Maybe, two? This beer is all about quality over quantity, people.

Like most ales, English and American versions of barleywine are usually pretty distinct. Rob and I enjoyed the two styles side-by-side at The Gnome recently:


There is an unmistakeable difference in flavor! Because I’m not great with descriptors when it comes to beer, I thought the English Meantime Barleywine tasted more, well… English. But that’s probably because I’ve been drinking more American craft brews for some time now. It’s been a while since I’ve had any English ales. It brought me “back” to those times when I had.

Barleywine descriptions

But I’ll have to disagree with The Gnome’s description of the English barleywine. Yes, English barleywines are the more classic, balanced style. However, I don’t think American craft breweries are trying to emulate them. Generally speaking, I find that American barleywines, like American ales, tend to be more hopped up. Maybe things are changing?

No matter what, the alcohol is there – usually 8% – 15%. You won’t miss that. Today, we find many more Imperial and Double style beers that are also high in alcohol. Does this make them barleywines? No, not necessarily. Barleywine is more a style of beer, from which other high-alcohol beers may have evolved.

Still, generally speaking, many barleywines can be cellared and aged like wine! You’ll find a lot more complexity in a barleywine than you will in your typical ale.

Speaking of cellaring and beer evolution, one of my favorite barleywines puts its vintage year on the bottle, just like you’d find on that of a wine bottle.

CW - BBB Vintage

Okay, you have probably guessed by now that my favorite barleywine is aged in Bourbon barrels. But I’m kind of obsessed with the bourbon-barrel style right now. Who makes this beer, do you ask?

CW - BB Barleywine

It’s Central Waters Brewing Company out of Amherst, WI. This baby isn’t easy to find, nor cheap. But it’s sooooooo worth it. Remember, quality over quantity people.

I don’t drink barleywine very often…

But when I do…

It’s the Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Barleywine


Now, I’m just wondering if I can hold on to one to see if it really does get better with age:

 CW - Better with Age

Have you had a barleywine?

If so, what did you think?

Do you have a favorite?