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Fantasy Draft 2015


It’s the end of the year and I have not yet done my Fantasy Draft for 2015! Fantasy Beers, that is.

Since today is Thirsty Thursday and New Year’s Eve, I found it rather appropriate.

And so it goes… My six-pack pick of beers that I’ve loved in 2015.

And just as a reminder, these are not necessarily the best beers I’ve had this year. Some may be, but others might have just surprised me or stood out as unique! Plus, I have a few rules…


Rules for Fantasy Draft:

1) No repeat beers from previous years. (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, Central Waters, I can only include one.


Fantasy Draft 2015


Hibiscus Sour – Fair State LÄCTOBÄC: Two (MN)

This was the year of sours for me! I hadn’t understood them when they first became wildly popular, but I’m learning to enjoy them more and IMG_4074more. Fair State is a local brewery that I have not yet visited, nor had I had any of their beers before encountering the Hibiscus Sour at Stanley’s NE. It had all of the sour flavor with a nice infusion of hibiscus. The thing is that Fair State Brewing not only seems to be known for sours, but they change it up with a new one in this “LÄCTOBÄC” series of lactobacillus-soured beers. So who knows if we’ll ever see it again. I had number two. At the time of this writing, Fair State’s website shows that they are on number Eight: Salted Watermelon Gose.




Yes, you read that description in the photo correctly. First, I’d like to announce that the Indeed Rum King should have gone in a Draft long ago. But this stout is a little something extra special. When it comes to barrel-aged beers, Indeed does them right over and over again. I mean, that gorgeous night in September we also had a Barrel-Aged Door County Cherry Sour. Seriously.


Central Waters Call Me Old Fashioned (WI)

Visiting Central Waters was a pilgrimage of sorts for me this year. It really pains me that rule #2 is forcing me to choose between this beer and the Headless Heron Barrel-Aged Pumpkin Spice Ale.


Central Waters knows how to make bourbon barrel beers! I ultimately chose the Call Me Old Fashioned because it screams “Wisconsin!” and I’ve only had it twice. It’s something special because you probably have not had an American Red/Amber Ale aged in whiskey barrels with oranges and maraschino cherries. Have you? Plus, it’s never been bottled. It’s not even listed on CW’s website. Will we see it again? I don’t know. But I do know that in the late fall, I can find the Headless Heron at the liquor store down the street. So I’m glad I got to enjoy The Old Fashioned in case it isn’t released again.


Not Your Father’s Root Beer (IL)

The first time I saw this stuff advertised, we were at a local sports bar. I looked across the room and on the wall a poster read “NOT YOUR FATHER’S ROOT BEER Beer” in big, bold lettering. I thought to myself, “But what is it!?”

I understood that this was a hard root beer, but I was confused that the tagline “Not Your Father’s Root Beer” was easy to read, without a trace of the name of the beverage anywhere.NYFRB

But that is the name, silly!

This stuff is scary. It is nostalgic – very reminiscent of that root beer from your childhood. That’s all well and good; but it barely, if at all, tastes alcoholic. I love it. But I fear drinking too much of it. I’ve never had more than one in an evening. But generally, if drinking a sweet soda, I rarely would have more than one of those either.



Shock Top Twisted Pretzel Wheat (MO)

I fully admit that I will put beers that are created by breweries that mass produce in my draft lineup. Sam Adams Cherry Wheat has been on my list in years past. But the interesting thing about this beer is that I don’t even like Shock Top beers. I encountered this one at a St. Paul Saints game about two years ago {before the new stadium}. It was German night and they had a few specialty beers on tap.Twisted-Pretzel-Wheat-6-Pack

Pretzels and beer are an age-old common pairing, so how could this version not work.

I fell in love with it that night. But knowing it was a Limited Edition, I thought I’d never see it again. That was until I saw it advertised on my iBotta app this fall, offering a rebate on it. I hadn’t even ever thought of searching for it in a store! And sure enough, a trip to Total Wine yielded me a 12-pack. I once again remembered why I loved it so. I never even eat pretzels with beer. But this one just works. It’s one of my dad’s new favorites, too, since I’ve introduced him! Even my husband, who is not a fan of wheat beers, whole-heartedly admits that this one is stellar.


Castle Danger Sommelier George Hunter Stout (MN)

Our visit to the North Shore on a brewery tour, introduced us to Castle Danger, beers from which are just starting to make its way down to the Twin Cities.


Castle Danger really knows how to barrel-age their beers as well. {See a theme here?!} But they also make them unique. They’ll often start with their basic (but the taste is anything but!) George the Hunter Stout. A bourbon-barrel aged George will produce Gentleman George Hunter. However, what was even more exciting was the Sommelier George Hunter is George aged in Napa Valley red wine barrels! And it tastes fabulous.

Coming over to my house?

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


And just in case you are curious, here are my picks from previous years:

Fantasy Draft 2013
Fantasy Draft 2014

What was your favorite new-to-you beer this year?

Happy New Beer Year!

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. 😉


Fantasy Draft Friday


This post was inspired by Paige at Alcohol by Volume who recently curated a six-pack for the Four Firkins, a beer store here in the Twin Cities where you can find one of the widest selections. At the end of her fantasy draft post, after listing the six beers she selected, she asks the question:

And if you could chose six beers to represent yourself, what would you choose?

This really got me thinking… There was no way I could list six beers off the top of my head. I needed to give it more thought. I’m not sure that I could pick six beers that represented me. I would probably just end up picking six beers I like right now. And we all know that our tastes change.

For example, for me, 2012 was the year of the IPA. I was a hophead. But I sipped a lot less of those in 2013. I probably wouldn’t put one of those in my six-pack now.

Instead, I decided to create a six-pack of beers that represent this past year.

Fantasy Draft 2013

Indeed LSD Honey Ale (MN)

This beer doesn’t have great ratings over at Beer Advocate, but I love it. It’s an ale brewed with lavender, sunflower honey and dates – LSD. The lavender is evident, some may even think overpowering. But those people don’t like lavender. I do. It reminds me of Provence. And I’m a francophile. It’s a no-brainer.


018Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat (MA)

Ahhh… This is what summers are made of! Or at least the week or so we spend in Michigan in the summer. It just makes me happy. And while I am busy feeling like a kid again, I can take the afternoon and and sip one of these like an adult. Well, with a cherry on top bottom.


Southern Tier Pumking AleSouthern Tier Pumking Ale (NY)

In the fall, I almost get annoyed with all of the pumpkin-this and pumpkin-that all over the blogisphere. I just want everyone to stop the pumpkin-ing of everything already! But this year, I realized, that I really do like pumpkin-flavored foodstuffs, especially this beer. In 2012, it sold out so early everywhere that we only got to enjoy it once. But in 2013, we found Pumking at Stone Tap as early as August! Then, in fear that it would sell out soon, we sipped it every time we found it available including at Devil’s Advocate, Groveland Tap and The Lowry {long overdue Restaurant Impression coming next week!}


FultonFulton The Libertine Imperial Red Ale (MN)

I never thought I’d ever dig a red ale. And while I did discover it beforehand, we took our first trip to the Fulton Brewery in November. And while I love Fulton’s Worthy Adversary just as much, if not more, the Imperial Red Ale was a unique find for me. And the name is perfect for the beer. From their website:

A Declaration of Brewing Independence. A libertine is someone living free of society’s restraints. Similarly, The Libertine doesn’t constrain itself with preconceived notions of what a beer style should be. Loaded with malts that include the UK’s premium Maris Otter and Caramel 60, and topped off with Rye to impart a distinct reddish hue, the Libertine is a malt-dominated red ale like none you’ve ever had before. It boasts a rich, indulgent body without being overly sweet. Conventional classifications fail The Libertine, but who really wants to play by the rules anyway?”


photo 1O’So Night Train Oatmeal Porter (WI)

Since my husband and I praised this beer the first time my dad had us try it, he seemed to always make sure there was some of it on hand when we came into town. We can’t get it in Minnesota and even in Wisconsin, it can be hard to find. And every descriptor on that bottle works. So good. O’so good.


086Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin Bourbon Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout (CA)

2013 whas the year of the Bourbon Barrel Beers for me. So which one to choose? I’ve been a fan of the bourbon barrel-aged brown ale from Wisconsin Tyranena’s Rocky’s Revenge for years from the first time I sipped it on a dock in Hayward, Wisconsin. I’ve even discovered and kicked back plenty of bottles and glasses of the smooth and lovely Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout from Michigan. On my birthday this past year, I almost passed up an Old Rasputin Imperial Stout, until I learned that the “XV” was aged in bourbon barrels! But the I selected the Firestone Walker Velvet Merkin as part of my six-pack because sipping it at the PUBlic House in Temecula was the start to our late afternoon / early evening of a wonderful craft brewery crawl where I came to love Bourbon Barrel Beers even more. I really hope our local breweries jump on this band wagon soon!


So there you have it, my friends, my fantasy draft for 2013. I’m not even sure if you can get all of these in Minnesota or where you live. But by now, you know that I love to travel. So the fact that some of these beers were tasted on vacation do represent me and where I’ve traveled in 2013, too.

What beer(s) represent(s) your 2013?