Founders Brewing Company: Dankwood (2018)

Founders Brewing Company: Dankwood

Hops: Chinook, Mosaic, Simcoe

Malts: Caramalt, Roasted Barley

ABV: 12.2%

IBU: 65

Availability: May to June

@untappd says: 3.93/5

There’s a big slab of dank on the Windowsill today!

I can’t stress it enough. I love Founders Brewing Company’s barrel-aged series. The brewery currently has over 20,000 filled barrels waiting to be released. They’re stored in former mines below the streets of Grand Rapids, as well as at an off-site storage facility named the Barrel House, which boasts more than two-square acres of refrigerated space… wowsers! The Dankwood was this year’s third BA release—after KBS and Backwoods Bastard and followed by Barrel Runner and the soon-to-be-released Curmudgeon’s Better Half. It did not disappoint.

Unlike some of the other barrel-aged releases for this year, the Dankwood is all-new for 2018. Founders took their beloved—and previously Windowsilled—ReDANKulous red IPA and stuck it in bourbon barrels. The result is a somewhat sweet, malty, boozy and complex bottle of deliciousness I really enjoyed. Also, I dropped the bottle from the top shelf of my fridge onto my tile floor, and it didn’t break. So… dank!

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Collective Arts Brewing: Lunch Money

Collective Arts Brewing: Lunch Money

Hops: German Magnum, Centennial

ABV: 4.8%

IBU: 18

Available: Year-round

@untappd says: 3.46/5

Let’s discuss some Ontario Politics on the Windowsill today!

When conservative Doug Ford—yes, the brother of the embarrassing former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, who is no longer with us—won the election in April, he promised to lower the price of beer. This month, Buck-A-Beer was made official, and the price of beer went down, as promised. However, certain socially beneficial programs (like the basic income pilot program) began disappearing under the new conservative regime. Although paying $1 for beer might seem like a cool thing, the new policy is controversial. Many of Ontario’s craft breweries have decided not to participate—they can’t afford to sell their beer that cheap—and alcohol experts warn that lowering the price will lead to lots of terrible things, like hospitalizations, deaths, domestic violence, sexual assaults, etc.

Where do I stand? I think if the government is using sleight of hand to take away a programs that might benefit society by promising cheaper beer—and other superficial benefits—it’s is bad news. I stand with breweries like Collective Arts. I’d rather pay more for local, quality beer than support a program like this. I believe that you’re only as strong as your weakest link, and making that link stronger makes the whole chain stronger. I do, however, hope that the Ontario-based breweries not participating in Buck-A-Beer will find a way to donate money to organizations that will continue to benefit their province’s people. You can keep your $1 beers, Mr. Ford.

Today’s Windowsill beer is, appropriately enough, the Lunch Money—an American (Canadian?) blonde ale from Collective Arts Brewing. There’s not much to this brew. It’s an easy-drinking blonde ale brewed with German Magnum and Centennial hops. It’s crisp, refreshing and nice. Nothing special, but the Lunch Money is still definitely worth more than a dollar.

Check out a video of the label, and Collective Arts’ stance on Buck-A-Beer on my Instagram, now!

Thomas Hooker Brewery: Ode to Blumpy

Thomas Hooker Brewery: Ode to Blumpy

Hops: Mosaic, Huell Melon

ABV: 7.0%

IBU: N/A

Availability: Rotating

@untappd says: 4.01/5

Let’s pay homage to all brewery pets on the Windowsill today!

Every good brewery needs an official mascot. More often than not, dogs get the nod for this position, but not at Bloomfield, CT’s Thomas Hooker Brewery. Blumpkin (yep, that was her full given name) aka Blumpy the cat was the official mascot of the brewery for eight years. Unfortunately, a year and a couple of weeks ago, she passed away. The folks at Hooker decided to preserve her memory the only way they knew how—with a beer. The Ode to Blumpy was released a short time later.

You know the owners of a brewery known for solid beers weren’t going to skimp when it came to honoring their beloved pet. The Ode to Blumpy is an unfiltered IPA brewed with tons of Mosaic and Huell Melon hops. The citrus aroma got me salivating, and the flavor followed suit perfectly. Very light on the bitterness for such a hoppy beer, too. As Hooker says in the official description, it’s got a “remarkably unique character, just like its namesake.” Hope Blumpy is still running around a brewery in heaven. RIP!

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Toppling Goliath Brewing Company: Pseudo Sue

Toppling Goliath Brewing Company: Pseudo Sue

Hops: Citra

ABV: 6.8%

IBU: 50

Availability: Year-round

@untappd says: 4.21/5

Is Jurassic Park happening on the Windowsill today?

I love a good collaboration brew, and today’s beer is no different. However, the interesting part of this collaboration is that it’s not between two breweries. For this dino-inspired brew, Iowa’s Toppling Goliath Brewing Company—one of the best craft breweries in the country—collaborated with Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History. In 2016, Toppling Goliath was looking to distribute their beers to the Windy City, but ran into a legal snag with their Pseudo Sue and King Sue pale ales—they were named after the museum’s famous Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton, Sue, and that name and likeness were trademarked. Instead of waging a legal battle against the brewery, the museum reached out, and the two entities decided to form a partnership. The beers got a new label shouting out the Field, and a big release was planned at the museum. The rest, as they say, is history. Natural history.

Now let’s chat about the actual Pseudo Sue, because it’s amazing. This was my first beer from Toppling Giant, and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a pale ale brewed with only Citra hops. It has a delicate body, with just enough bitterness to create a really lovely finish. One sniff is all it took, and the “ferocious” aromas of citrus and mango make it refreshing and oh so crisp. Believe the hype behind this Iowa brewery. They’re definitely doing the T-Rex proud!

Head over to Instagram to check this one out. Make sure you follow Beers on Windowsills for more great craft beer!

Mikkeller Brewing San Diego: Staff Magician

Mikkeller Brewing San Diego: Staff Magician

Hops: Mosaic, Citra, Nugget

ABV: 5.5%

IBU: N/A

Availability: Rotating

@untappd says: 3.77/5

Got some skillful magic on the Windowsill today!

Last time I had A Mikkeller on the sill, we talked about Mikkeller’s new San Diego location. This time, let’s talk about their even newer New York brewery. It’s located in Queens, New York, smack dab in the middle of Citi Field. While there’s no good reason to go see the Mets play these days (sorry, Mets fans), you should definitely take the time to go check out Mikkeller. It includes a 10,000 square foot brewery and restaurant, with a 20 bbl brewhouse and a lot of single batch fermenters. They have canning line too, as well as 60 taps. Plenty of beer to enjoy there, or to take home with you! The best part? It’s open year round! Even when the Mets aren’t playing, you can go have some good beer!

Today’s brew actually didn’t come from Mikkeller NYC The Staff Magician was brewed in the San Diego facility, and my good friend @crisaura got it to my Windowsill. It’s a hazy New England Pale Ale brewed with Mosaic, Citra and Nugget hops. At only 5.5% ABV, it’s also very sessionable. I actually drank this one in the shower, which is the Windowsill you see in the photo! Like just about everything else I’ve tried from Mikkeller, the Staff Magician was pretty solid, and I love the can art by @keithashore!

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Fair State Brewing Cooperative: IPA

Fair State Brewing Cooperative: IPA

Hops: Horizon, Chinook, Crystal, Cascade, Simcoe, Centennial

ABV: 6.2%

IBU: 60

Availability: Year-round

@untappd says: 3.78/5

Let’s foster some cooperation on the Windowsill today!

I love a good brewing Co-op, so I was excited to discover a new one this past weekend: Fair State Brewing Cooperative. So what exactly is a brewing co-op? According to CrafttBeer.com, co-op refers to “an organization that is owned by its members, rather than outside shareholders.” You pay your membership dues, and you have a say in how the business is run and, most importantly, a share in its profits. The first ever Cooperatively owned brewery was Austin, Texas’ Black Star Brewing, which opened up in 2010 and inspired President & CEO Evan Sallee to start Fair State in Minnesota with 250 members on board in 2014.

Today’s Windowsill brew, just named IPA, is a dry pale ale brewed with malted wheat and six types of hops: Horizon, Chinook, Crystal, Cascade, Simcoe and Centennial. One thing I love about brewing cooperatives, is that their brews often seem like a cooperative effort, too. Lots of hops in this one, but not a lot of bitterness. Floral aromas and nice, dry finish made for a pretty tasty beer. Looking forward to tasting something else from Fair State.

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Rock Art Brewery: A River Runs Gruit

Rock Art Brewery: A River Runs Gruit

ABV: 5.2%

IBU: 0

Availability: Rotating

@untappd says: 3.66/5

I am Gruit on the Windowsill today!

When I first saw this beer at Rock Art Brewery in Morrisville, VT, I thought to myself; what the hell is a gruit ale? Well, luckily, American Craft Beer had the answer for me. The word gruit, or grut, is German for herb. A gruit is any brew that uses an herbal mixture for flavoring or bittering instead of hops. Back in the day, gruits dominated the beer market, but around the 15th or 16th centuries, their popularity ended. Why? For one, German beer purity laws—they passed in 1516 and stated that beers could only contain water, barley and hops—made it a no no (or “nein nein”) to make anything resembling a gruit. It’s also believed that religious conservatism helped bury the style, as many of the herbs used back then were aphrodisiacs. Can’t have a bunch of horny drunks running around now, can we? Thankfully, microbreweries started popularizing the style again in the 1990s.

A River Runs Gruit is a cleverly named—great shout out to the classic novel, and eventual Brad Pitt film—is an ale brewed with herbs, chamomile, rose hips, elderberry and lavender. The lavender and chamomile stood out the most for me. Overall, this brew was a very weird experience. Thankfully, I like weird. I love that this ancient style, which seemingly has endless possibilities for herb combinations and flavorings, is making its comeback. This one was very flowery and tasty, once I got through the hop-less weirdness of it all. I dug it!

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Two Roads Brewing Company and Lawson’s Finest Liquids: Typecast Farmhouse IPA

Lawson's Finest Liquids and Two Roads Brewing Company: Typecast Farmhouse IPA

Hops: Wye Challenger, Cascade, Centennial

Special Ingredients: Vermont White Cedar, Connecticut Balsam Fir Tips

ABV: 6.5%

IBU: N/A

Availability: Limited

@untappd says: 3.7/5

We have a really atypical collaboration on the Windowsill today!

I love a good collaboration brew, so you know I was excited to find out that one of my favorite local breweries, Two Roads Brewing Company, and one of Vermont’s finest breweries, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, had come together to create a very unique Farmhouse IPA—the Typecast. For those of you know know Lawson’s story, it shouldn’t be a surprise that these two made a beer together. They already make a lot of beers together. If you’ve ever had any Lawson’s in a can, know that it was actually brewed at Two Roads. The two have had a solid contract brewing relationship for a while now.

Now onto the brew. A farmhouse IPA? Sounds wild, right? What is it? It starts out as a farmhouse ale (aka saison), and then it’s dry-hopped to perfection. One extra cool thing about this beer is that it uses all local ingredients. It uses Cascade and Wye Challenger hops grown in Connecticut, as well as Centennial hops grown in Vermont. The Typecast also includes Vermont white cedar and CT balsam fir tips in the boil. Overall, this brew wasn’t really for me, but it’s definitely an eclectic style, with some pretty good flavors that you might like. Cheers!

Check this one out on Instagram, now. Make sure to like this post and follow my page!

Alvarado Street Brewery: Kettle Cooler

Alvarado Street Brewery: Kettle Cooler

ABV: 5.0%

IBU: “Low”

Availability: Rotating

@untappd says: 3.88/5

There’s nothing cooler than today’s Windowsill beer!

How do you make a kettle sour? No, this isn’t an old timey joke, and there’s no corny punchline, this is a quick how to lesson! According to the Home Brewers Association, you can make a kettle sour in five easy steps. •1. Mash, lauter and sparge as you would for any beer. •2. Conduct a brief, 10-15 minute boil for sanitation, and then cool the wort to 100 degrees Farenheit. •3. Pitch a culture of pure lactobacillus into the kettle and cover. Allow the lacto to sour the wort over the next couple of days, using a heater to maintain the temperature. •4. When the wort has reached the desired level of sourness, return the kettle to the heat and boil for 60 to 90 minutes, adding hops to your heart’s content. •5. After the boil, chill and ferment with standard brewer’s yeast.

That’s it! Now go out and try it!

Today’s Windowsill brew is a kettle sour from Monterey, CA’s Alvarado Street Brewery, which came to me courtesy of my good buddy, @beer_shark. It’s called a Kettle Cooler, and is a rotating release from the brewery. It’s inspired by Cactus Cooler soda, with added heaps of mandarin orange, pineapple puree and vanilla beans to Alvarado’s regular kettle sour ale. I’ve never had Cactus Cooler, but if it’s as tart, fruity and refreshing as the Kettle Cooler, I’m all in for one!

Check this one out on Instagram, now. Don’t forget to like it, and follow Beers on Windowsills!

Tröegs Independent Brewing: Nimble Giant

Tröegs Independent Brewing: Nimble Giant

Hops: Simcoe, Mosaic, Azacca

ABV: 9.0%

IBU: 69

Availability: Every June

@untappd says: 4.13/5

After 16 months, we’ve finally found the Giant on the Windowsill today!

You know what I love about Hershey PA’s Tröegs Independent Brewing? No, it’s not the umlaut (although… it kind of is); it’s the fact that they pride themselves in supporting their community. They view the brewery as only one part of the Tröegs community, and they support local vendors, producers and causes they believe in. This means they sometimes hold tree planting events, or 5K races, and they try to use locally sourced hops and ingredients wherever possible. Keep that going!

The Nimble Giant is one of Tröegs’ most famous, and anticipated, yearly releases. It has dropped into cans and kegs every June since 2016, but this was my first time trying it. Let me tell you, this double IPA was worth the wait. It’s brewed with three top notch hops, Simcoe, Mosaic and Azacca. That’s only part of Tröegs’ “ingredients + people + process” beer-making formula. The people part comes from the innovative hopping technique they developed for this brew. They dubbed it Hop Cyclone, and it ensures that the hop oils get to every drop of beer in those tanks. The process? Tröegs found a small window of time during fermentation that optimizes the dry-hop additions. The Nimble Giant is truly a giant at 9% ABV, but the flavor profile from the hops and techniques shows how nimble Tröegs can be. Amazing!