Tag Archives: headless heron

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!


My Favorite Beer on TAP!


A couple of week’s ago, our friend Monkey notified us that my favorite beer was now back in stores. We picked some up right away!


Central Waters Brewer’s Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout

Then we found out that there was a Central Waters Tap Takeover at the Adam’s Street Pub in Green Bay, where we were headed to see family for the holidays.

But alas, when we arrived at the pub at around noon on December 26th, it was closed and we had to lunch elsewhere.

After lunch with the boys at the Green Bay Distillery and watching White Christmas on DVR {followed by which may have included a late afternoon nap}, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back downtown to Adams Street Pub for some Central Waters beer.


Yes, you read that correctly. There was a tap takeover by my favorite brewery; I was only about ten miles away; and I was considering doing “the usual” instead.

But it was dark and I was still groggy from my nap. (Poor me!) I asked Rob what he wanted to do. Going up the road to Townline for a bite to eat sounded so much easier to both of us.

But I gave it more thought, weighed the options, listed pros and cons…


  • One of us would have to drive. (Tough to think about when you have access to your limited edition favorite beer!)


  • We’d get to try the Call Me Old Fashioned, a unique limited release beer that I probably would never get to try again.
  • We go to Townline almost every time we are in Green Bay, usually out of convenience. And while they do have a lot of beers on tap, there is generally only one that we are sort of willing to drink.
  • It would be something new, not the same-old, same-old.
  • We thought there might be a band playing.

I came to my senses. The pros outweighed the cons. And the con was a stupid one. Nothing said we had to get stupid drunk. I’d rather have a couple of my favorite beers and enjoy them! So we headed back to Adams Street Pub.

And I was happy to find that *all* of the tap takeover beers remained on tap!


 Just look at those beautiful heron taps lining the bar!


I had to start with the Call Me Old Fashioned. It’s very limited and a beer that just screams Wisconsin!” Anyone who has grown up in Wisconsin and moved away eventually comes back and drinks an Old Fashioned with family when visiting, even if they never really drank them before.

Everyone has an idea of how a a true Old Fashioned should be made. But there are several variations. When in a Wisconsin tavern, you should order them this way:

  • Brandy-Old Fashioned-Sweet
  • Whiskey-Old Fashioned-Sour {The way my mom likes them!}
    And so on…

Old Fashioned Mix can be found in stores in Wisconsin, but you can also make it yourself. {Although, I don’t know anyone who does that.} They are often garnished with maraschino cherries {and sometimes olives}. Customizable to your tastes, I’d say.

Here is a Central Waters’ beer with an Old Fashioned twist:

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Central Waters Call Me Old Fashioned – American Red/Amber Ale aged in whiskey barrels with oranges and maraschino cherries

 Oh boy was that yummy.

Did it taste Old-Fashion-y? I’m not quite sure. But I liked it. A lot. But I also like barrel-aged beers. So there’s that. I loved the concept of this one. And the name.

Because I was driving, I allowed myself only one more beer. It was going to have to be my fave… I had finally had the opportunity to have it on tap!


And I was not disappointed. I savored Every. Single. Drop. Rob went with the Headless Heron Barrel Aged Pumpkin Spice Ale. I totally forgot how wonderful this beer is!

From Beer Advocate:

Generously spiced with nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves, this barrel-aged pumpkin spice ale overflows with dark fruit, dried fruit, and hints of bourbon.

One sip and I tasted all of those spices and was whisked back to fall. Mmmmm…

Our main purpose for visiting Adams Street Pub was to sample the Central Waters beers. However, because the ones we chose were high in alcohol, it was necessary to get some food in our tummies, too.

While on beer #1, Rob ordered us these:

Pub Cheese - House-Made 3yr Cheddar Sauce served with Pretzel Bites (Cup-$5, Bowl-$9)

Pub Cheese – House-Made 3yr Cheddar Sauce served with Pretzel Bites (Cup-$5, Bowl-$9)

I have to say that this cup of Pub Cheese was one of the best appetizer values I’ve seen. I normally don’t care for cheese “sauces” because they make me think of something that comes out of can. But I did like this one. What I liked even more were the pretzel bites! Think of one of those big, soft pretzels, but in little one-inch portions. Now think of them tasting even better. The last big pretzel I had at Lambeau Field was overly salty. These were utter perfection. Each bite had that slightly crisp outer pretzel crust with a warm, doughy inside.

I wouldn’t let them go to waste. When Rob was finished, I ate Every. Single. Last. One. For that reason, I was getting full.

I had originally decided, once and for all, to get the Friday Fish Fry. But I was way, too full for that now. Besides, the portions were huge!


I had also been considering building my own burger with 3yr cheddar, garlic ailoi on a pretzel bun…

FullSizeRender (2)

But that, too, seemed like too much food. Instead, Rob suggested that we split the Breakfast Burger, substituting fries with cheese curds. Splitting something sounded like a great idea to me!

Breakfast Burger - Pretzel Bun, Nueske's Bacon, House-Made 3yr Cheddar Sauce, Garlic Aioli, Tomato Jam, Fried Egg - $9 (substitute Cheese Curds for fries +$2)

Breakfast Burger – Pretzel Bun, Nueske’s Bacon, House-Made 3yr Cheddar Sauce, Garlic Aioli, Tomato Jam, Fried Egg – $9 (substitute Cheese Curds for fries +$2)

Only, as Rob was placing the order, he also decided to order this:

Gourmet Grilled Cheese - Renard's Cheddar Cheese, Nueske's Bacon &Tomato Jam

Gourmet Grilled Cheese – Renard’s Cheddar Cheese, Nueske’s Bacon & Tomato Jam

His plan? We would each take a half of a sandwich and he’d eat the onion rings, since I’m not a huge fan. So. Much. Food!

Almost everything about the Breakfast Burger and Gourmet Grilled Cheese was heaven.

First: You had me at Pretzel Bun, dear burger. Then, when Rob split it in half, the runny yolk spilled out. I was in love! I passed my bacon pieces over to him and delighted in the juiciness of the burger.

The grilled cheese was nice and melty and perfectly buttered and grilled. You are asking how one could mess up a grilled cheese? While I’d agree, I’ve also had bad ones. And that’s just wrong.

But there is one thing that I did not like about these two sandwiches. And it might surprise you.

It was the tomato jam.

All of the tomato jams I have had in the past were savory. This one was sweet. It could have been strawberry jam, for all I could tell. It was overpowering. I had to scrape it off. It it weren’t for the tomato jam, this would have been a practically perfect pub meal.

And for the record, Adams Street Pub does have a lot of beer and whiskey options!


Thank you @CWBrewing and @AdamsStreetPub for putting on the Tap Takeover. Thank you very much. Now, to convince my husband to whisk me away to Amherst, Wisconsin next September for a little birthday at the brewery. 😉

Have you had tomato jam?

Was it sweet or savory?

Did it work with what you were eating?