Monday, January 11, 2016

Bad Weather Brewing...Get Your Umbrellas!

On a recent trip this past fall/early winter to St. Paul, my wife (Sj) and I finally got to stop into Bad Weather Brewing's new Taproom and brewery.  Bad Weather got their start brewing in Lucid's facility along with Badger Hill and finally had enough money and popularity to move into their own space.  I've been attracted to Bad Weather's label art since the beginning, but have had a couple of less than stellar experiences with the beers early on in their career.  This was a great time to give them a second chance.

Sj posing front of the brewery and food truck
Located in St. Paul, the brewery is in a very large warehouse-type space.  They have a big patio for outdoor seating, serviced frequently by food trucks.  Inside is a very long bar across from the main entrance, with plenty of seating and a large helpful Star Wars clone trooper on watch from behind.  The space is wide open and filled with tables, getting very loud even on this Sunday afternoon, but they did have some sound damping material up on the ceiling to help alleviate that.  Colorful murals line the walls bringing a jab of vibrant colors to the otherwise industrial place.  Sj and I found an isolated table in a back corner nestled in behind one of the vintage video game consoles (TMNT Turtles in Time how I miss plugging endless rows of quarters into you...)  They had a section of bar set up as an ordering station so we didn't have to wade through people to get our beers--something I appreciate in a busy taproom.

We ended up getting two samplers so we could try a larger number of their beers, but even then we didn't get all of them!  Samplers came out on branded wooden boards in pretty chalice taster glasses, giving us a rainbow of beers to choose from.  Here is a quick rundown on my tasters with my scores.  My personal scale is 3 I'll drink, 4 I'll search out, 5 I'll hoard.

1) Windvane--this is the flagship Red IPA.  I've hated this beer in the past.  Today I noted a good hop bite to it, but with a malty sweet taste and body.  I'd consider this a West Coast hoppy amber.  Pretty good. 3.5

2) The Hopcromancer--IPA.  More hop aroma than the Windvane.  Not bad.  Mid-range for the style and well balanced.  3.5

3) S.M.A.S.H Ale--this is likely a single malt single hop beer, but I'm not sure what hop was showcased.  I got some buttered toffee in it that threw me off.  2.75

4) Browncoat--India Brown Ale.  Who knew these guys were such geeks?  Love the Firefly reference and the beer!  Borders on a porter but more American hops.  Again good balance. 4

5) Blonde Belle--Belgian Blonde.  Light, lots of Belgian fruity esters.  A bit sweet on the finish. Better than Boom Island's. Very drinkable.  3.75

6) Galactic Tide--Rye Porter.  Decent beer.  Spicy rye malt zip.  Malty, but a balance comes from the roast.  3.75

7) Cauld Weather--Scottish Wee Heavy.  One of my favorite styles that I am frequently disappointed in. This one is no disappointment!  Darker than most, but malty, balanced, mild alcohol warming.  Sublime.  Steel Toe has competition now.  4.5

8) Scarecrow's Friend--Harvest ale with pumpkin, wild rice, maize, and spices.  Perfume-like, reminds me of lavender.  A somewhat muddled mix of spices, but still decent overall.  3.5

9) Tippin' It Down--ESB with Earl Grey Tea.  Very much like Summit's recent Make It So, but not quite as well balanced.  I get a hint of butter, soap, and then ends fairly bitter.  This is still better than when I tried it at ABR (I dumped it quick there and couldn't get the taste off my tongue fast enough).  3

Overall I was pleasantly surprised with several of the beers. They still had a few that fell short for me, but the majority were above average and many were unique.  I give extra credit for quick service and lots of beers to choose from.  The core line-up seems to have improved greatly and the brewers are experimenting with lots of different styles and specialty ingredients.  Based on this visit, I would go back to Bad Weather often if I didn't live so far away!  I also love the art style of the brewery (and beers), placing them in my top two for branding.  I would have liked more time to hang out here--and play some video games--but we had dinner plans in St. Paul with friends and had to go.

Love the geeky sci-fi art!

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