Minnesota summers are brief, and Minnesotans maximize every moment. Some may split their time between the cabin and home, running from work to the dock and everywhere in between. They need a beer versatile enough for every occasion and that travels as well as they do. In the 1700s, the British also needed a durable, versatile beer that could withstand a long journey overseas, so they fermented the India pale ale. Now, it is a great beer to pack in the cooler for cabin trips and boat rides or to serve at backyard barbecues.
IPAs, characterized by bold bitterness and an assertive flavor, are lighter and cleaner than traditional beers and lagers. The original British IPA was light, bright and strong. Traditional IPA is a leaner brew, requiring less malt and, therefore, a weaker hop to maintain its delicate balance.
Originally a beverage for the elite, akin to wine, the ale is made rich and aged over a long period of time to mellow out. Freshly picked hops are added late in the fermentation process to maintain a snappy taste. Traditional IPAs also have floral notes and a caramel finish. The trademark of American IPA is stronger hops, most of which come from the Cascade Valley in Washington, the Napa Valley of beer.
Bell’s Two Hearted Ale
Pine and grapefruit aromas greet you as you crack open this American-style IPA from Bell’s Brewery in Michigan. Two Hearted Ale floods your palate with fruity notes and a strong malted backbone. This versatile, golden ale has enough body and depth for cooler temperatures but also expresses brightness and citrus punch for warmer seasons.
Fulton Sweet Child of Vine
A Minnesota native, the complex and approachable Fulton Brewery’s Sweet Child of Vine combines earthy notes with zesty citrus on its rolling finish. Glacier and CTZ hops amply heaped in throughout the boil and in the final stages of fermentation supply the sweet, hoppy aroma that surges from the English-style IPA. Each sip carries a touch of caramel malt within the impeccable balance of Sweet Child of Vine.
Summit Brewing Co.’s Sága, a strong-hop, low-malt IPA brewed in St. Paul, is named after the Norse goddess Sága, drinking companion of the god Odin. Tropical aromas and flavors with assertive bitterness and a clean, thick body make the brew an unusual American-style IPA.
Refreshing citrus melds with thick caramel malt in Surly Brewing Co.’s Minnesota-made ale. The aroma will transport you to the tropics, with pineapple and mango notes and tinges of grapefruit and orange. Scottish Golden Promise malted grain gives the ale that rich sweetness and strong backbone that makes Furious more than just upset.