Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I'd Push This Stone Uphill--Sisyphus Brewing Review

In the past 3 weeks I've made it to nearly 20 breweries and distilleries!  I'm going to chip away at them in the order we visited.  Keep in mind that I'm reviewing based purely on my (and my wife's) experience on a certain day and that your results may vary.  I tend to wait until a brewery has been open for 6-12 months before reviewing, unless my visit is above par and deserves a write up.  I try not to be a jerk but pride myself in being honest.  I've been a homebrewer for nearly 26 years, a BJCP National ranked judge, and have been to hundreds of breweries over the years.  Here is the second in the series...

Sisyphus Brewing

Named for the Greek myth of Sisyphus who had to roll a huge rock up a hill for all eternity, the owners seem to understand what a never-ending process running a brewery will be!  They have a remarkable description HERE that is well worth reading...when you're done reading my blog of course!  The owners aim to brew a ton of different small batch beers so that you'll find something completely different every time you come in.

Located in the Dunwoody neighborhood near the Walker and The Basilica in Minneapolis, this small (2 barrels!) brewery was easy to park near on a Sunday afternoon.  The building is a bit older and nondescript from the outside, and the taproom has a tiny chalkboard sign outside and a decal on the glass door to lure you inside.  Stealth brewery!

There is a long bar along one wall with a barrel and hop mosaic on the wall behind it.  The current tap list is on a monitor behind the bar as well.  A sizable seating area and two shuffleboard tables take up the rest of the taproom. Despite somewhat low ceilings and being on the ground floor, the place seemed light and airy.  You can't really see the brewery from the taproom, but that's OK.  Unusual artwork hangs on some of the walls and a cool huge mural made of bottle caps occupies a wall near the restrooms at the back of the place.

As per my usual routine I ordered the sampler so that my wife (Sj) and I could try most of the beers they had on tap.  They came out in fancy logo'd chalice glasses in a sturdy wooden tray--A for presentation guys!  I'll just give a quick recap of the beers taken from my Untappd notes.  You may not be able to find them on your visit...

1) Belgian Blonde--After coming from Boom Island and tasting their whole line-up, this was the best Belgian ale of the day!  Crisp pilsner malt, bright European hops, and restrained Belgian yeast esters all combined to transport me back to the fresh blonde ales of Belgium!  This is a style that isn't exported to us in America because it doesn't age well, and I can't think of many American examples that get it right. Solid 4.25 of 5.

2) Kentucky Common--An obscure and nearly extinct style that I've only had a few times.  This hits the right notes of a dark cream ale with some corn flavors present.  3.5

3) West Coast IPA--Very nice hop aroma.  A bit too bitter and astringent, which makes me wonder about the water chemistry they are doing.  3.5

4) The First Beer We Named--All Citra!  My favorite combo of tropical fruit and catbox! 4

5) Imperial Brown--A bit harsh and bitter at the end, but the front is very nice.  3.75

6) Coffee Stout--Very bitter and astringent. Coffee tends to accentuate those characters, I might work on increasing the malt presence in the base beer.  3

Overall, many of the beers were a bit on the astringent side but all were clean and fresh tasting.  No infections or crazy fermentation temperature flaws that I often see in new breweries.  I would compare them favorably to Insight Brewing, as they have some similar flavor profiles to their beers.  I'm impressed with the quality for a small brewery and felt they deserved some free press!  I'd love to go back in a while and see what new things are on tap, and to check out their consistency.  The taproom was well lit, comfortable, and relaxed. Our server was quick and efficient.  A great taproom experience!

Has anyone else been to Sisyphus?  Tell me what you think!

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