Ghost Runners Brewery, Vancouver WA This last week on Friday night (Oct. 2nd) we stopped by the Ghost Runners Brewery in Vancouver WA on our way to drop off some friends. I’ve had a few chances to sample their beers over the past couple of years as they have been producing and distributing in the local area and was excited to check them out. We were really happy that they finally opened up a tap-room at their production facility off of NE Minnehaha in an industrial area of Vancouver, the local brewing scene is growing with a strong showing of brewers that have a clue.

The brewery is located along the 2nd row of the building complex, not visible from the street. They have a 10 barrel system with a couple of storage tanks inside behind the bar area. If you ask one of the interns or bartenders, they will show you around and explain their setup. I’m really glad that they opened up the opportunity to visit their production site and try their beers on site. I would highly recommend visiting them if you’re in town and have a few extra minutes in the evening to give them a try.

The main room isn’t exclusively for adults, it also has a couch to sit on, and a mini-pool table to play with. There were a number of ‘families’ there with pre-teens to teen-age kids running around, which is fine considering that they just opened to the public and they need all the business they can get. They don’t have any food on site other than a few snacks in bags (chips, nuts, etc.), so eat before you go.

As you can see from the samplers, they had eight beers available that night plus a guest cider draft. We didn’t try the cider as we were just looking to try their own beers. They don’t distribute all of what they brew, so most of their beers are on-site one-offs. In talking with the bartender and interns, they are continually working on the recipes, refining the flavor profiles, so I applaud them for making both good, and unique beers that aren’t clones or just ‘in the middle’. The reviews go left to right on the trays shown. Overall it was a great experience, and I plan on going back quarterly to try their new seasonal and one-offs. The top beers for me were the nitro draft of the Boston Irish Red and the Relay IPA.

Ghost Runners Brewery
4216 NE Minnehaha St #108
Vancouver, WA 98661
Phone:(360) 989-3912

Relay IPA
Ghost Runners • IPA • IBU: 90 • ABV: 7.2% • 16 SRM
Nice mid-red amber colored draft, slight head that dropped quickly, little to no lacing on the rim. The nose is bit sweet malt with a strong herbal and floral hop presence. There is a lot of hop resin and floral notes on the front mouth with a definite dry backing and solid mouth-feel from the malt build.
Duathlon Black IPA
Ghost Runners • Black IPA / Cascadian Dark Ale • IBU: 70 • ABV: 6% • 40 SRM
Nice solid black/brown draft, tan one finger foamy head, solid lacing around the rim with each sip. The nose is a bit burned wood, charcoal, oily and resin bitters. The front mouth is like the nose, straight forward solid bodied, chewy, slight burned coffee and wood-chip hops and toffee sweetness on the back.
Performance RyePA
Ghost Runners • IPA • IBU: 40 • ABV: 6.4% • 14 SRM
Mid-orange draft, solid white head with nice frothy retention, some lacing as sipped. The nose is a bit sweet and hop forward with hits of floral and fresh cut pine. The malt build is really pronounced on the front and mid mouth-feel, with an almost chewy approach. Solid hop balanced with hits of resin, forest floor, and a strong bread crusty back.
Ghost Runners • IPA • IBU: 95 • ABV: 6.4% • 16 SRM
Darker-orange with slight red highlights on this draft with a softer white foamy head, some retention and lacing on the rim. The nose is a bit citrus, pine, resins and a dry to sweet approach. The front mouth is a bit of citrus pith, dried fruit, sweet breads on the mid. Back is dry with a bit of pine and hop resins. Lingers well with a dry hop vibe.
Turkey Trot Winter Ale
Ghost Runners • Winter Ale • IBU: 40 • ABV: 7% • 35 SRM
Dark brown with hints of red on the rim, slight off-white bubbly head little retention, left some spidery lacing. The nose is spicy, oaky, and slightly sweet. The front mouth is a bit strong-alcohol forward with a strong spiced flavor profile. Hops are secondary to the solid sweet breads and full-malt body. The spices are also present on the mid-back with hints of raw oak barrels.
Boston Irish Red Ale (nitro)
Ghost Runners • Irish Red Ale • IBU: 40 • ABV: 6.8% • 25 SRM
Solid mid-red and amber hue with a really active nitro foamy head. Took about 4 minutes for the beer to settle once poured. The nose is sweet, slight sharp hop notes from the burned sugars. The front to mid mouth is super cream, solid-full bodied, chewy, sweet and slight sharp acidic notes from the hop build. The overall take is that this red on nitro is a great representation of an American Red, with all the sweet caramel, solid grains, and slight spices on the back. Wonderfully round and lingers sweet on the tongue.
Boston Irish Red Ale
Ghost Runners • Irish Red Ale • IBU: 40 • ABV: 6.8% • 25 SRM
Dark-red draft with a slight off-white foamy head that holds great retention to the end. The front mouth is sweet, bread crust, toasted grains, slight dry pine notes. The mid to back is full-bodied, solid with a lot of sweet malts and secondary hops. Finished sweet.
Strong Leg Stout
Ghost Runners • Russian Imperial Stout • IBU: 30 • ABV: 9.6% • 40+ SRM
Solid black draft, tan foamy head with really strong retention, rims the glass with lacing with each sip. The nose is burned wood, slight burned sugars, complex alcoholic hits. The front mouth is smooth, bitter from the burned grain build and slight pine based hops. The really nice complexity of the grains gives this cellar-aged stout a full body and really great mouth-feel.

2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: The Saint Louis Brewery, Schlafly Bottleworks, St. Louis, MO (June 29, Brewery Stop #14)

2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: The Saint Louis Brewery, Schlafly Bottleworks, St. Louis, MO (June 29, Brewery Stop #14) The 14th brewery that we visited on the cross-country beer discovery tour (click to read about the whole trip) was Schlafly Bottleworks in St. Louis MO. After a great KC BBQ lunch, we hit the road and headed to St. Louis. There was a little bit of traffic out of KC, and a whole bunch of traffic trying to get into St. Louis which pushed out travel time to over 5hrs. We ended up getting off the freeway and taking some side-roads into the SW part of town as their rush hour freeway traffic is horrible. The Schlafly Bottleworks location isn’t hard to find, just be ready to drive a bit through residential areas to get there. Note, that there are two locations, we went to the production facility to meet up with one of Gary’s former students that lives in the area in the suburbs and not the main downtown restaurant and bar.

I had never heard of Schlafly before our trip, it was selected by Devin and I’m glad he picked it out for us to stop at. They have a pretty broad range of beers available in bottle (distributed) as well as a great selection of beer at the brewery (one-off’s). If it wasn’t so incredibly hot when we got there after 4 hours of driving, we would have sat outside on the big patio (as you can see from the pictures), but since we wanted to relax we ended up inside in the restaurant. The production facility is pretty big, large swag room with tons of stuff to buy, bottles/cases/kegs to go, side rooms with windows to look at their kettles and production, and a huge patio and restaurant to enjoy.

The overall vibe of the location is pretty corporate. There’s lots of flashy design stuff and swag around in the restaurant which I enjoyed seeing an effort being made to step up their image, and the great thing is that their beers were not that bad. We ordered a full range of tasters and some food to eat while we sipped. The restaurant was a little bit busy so it took a while for the food to show up, but the beers made it to the table pretty quickly.

Out of the 12 beers we sampled, there were a couple of stand-outs and the overall takeaway was a bit of ‘middle of the road’ to ‘standard’ in flavor and approach. Again, I had to remind myself to remember the audience in the mid-west, and remember that it’s ok to produce a solid line of beers, and not always push the envelope like they do on the west coast. The outstanding ones we sampled were the Kolsch, Dry Hopped Marzen, and Eighty Shilling. They did have an interesting range of IPAs as well, but they tended to have a similar flavor profile and mouth-feel.

The beer reviews start with the 6 standards on the placemat, and we then had 6 additional seasonal’s as shown in the pictures below (the 12th was a full pint not pictured). So, if you are ever in St. Louis, and can make it to one of their locations, it’s definitely worth stopping and trying their one-off’s and seasonal’s. Or try to find them in bottles around the mid-west. They do a decent job on the standards and they tend to be a bit better than some of the other mid-west beers we’ve tried. I would recommend the sessionable “standard IPA” that’s available in cans, or the seasonal Marzen.

The Saint Louis Brewery, Schlafly Bottleworks
7260 Southwest Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63143
Phone:(314) 241-2337

Pale Ale
Schlafly Bottleworks • American Pale Ale (APA) • IBU: 25 • ABV: 4.4% • 13.5 SRM
HOPS: East Kent Goldings, Northdown, Pilgrim (UK)
GRAINS : Pale, Caramel
YEAST: London Ale
Solid golden hue, bright white foamy head with nice retention on the rim. The nose is light, sweet, slight bread, slight dry pine hops. Front mouth is a little bit sharp with grassy and mid to back malts that hold the bitters in place. The back and after have a nice rounded mouth-feel and lingering grassy to pine resin bitters.
Schlafly Bottleworks • Hefeweizen • IBU: 16 • ABV: 4.4% • 6 SRM
HOPS: Tettnang (US), Marynka (PL)
GRAINS : Pale, Wheat, Munich
YEAST: American Ale
Nice cloudy soft yellow hue, bright foamy head that left big bubbly lacing. The nose is slight lemon, yeast, coriander and hints of bread. The front mouth has nice carbonation, mid-bodied mouth-feel, lemons, slight bitters from the citrus rind, hints of dry hopping on the after-taste.
Schlafly Bottleworks • Kölsch • IBU: 25 • ABV: 4.8% • 6 SRM
HOPS: Hallertau Tradition, Perle (DE)
GRAINS : Pale, Wheat, Munich, Carapils ®
YEAST: Köln Brewery Yeast Strain
Shiny bright yellow, clean and crisp, smaller frothy head left minimal lacing. The nose is sharp, grassy hops, slight yeast. The front mouth is effervescent, fully carbonated, hits of lemon zest, citrus rind, grassy to resin hops. Mid to back is a little yeasty with a thin back. Slight bitters linger.
Dry Hopped APA
Schlafly Bottleworks • American Pale Ale • IBU: 50 • ABV: 5.9% • 10 SRM
HOPS: Cascade, Chinook (US)
GRAINS : Pale, Caramel
YEAST: American Ale
Unfiltered slightly cloudy orange-golden hue, nice solid white, small bubbly head. The nose is a bit floral (dried) and fruit (grapefruit) hops. The front mouth is a sharper IPA like hop forward profile with slight fresh grass, dried leaves, solid floral and citrus notes. The mid-bodied and fully carbonated draft gives a nice mouth-feel with slight dry bread backing.
Raspberry Hefeweizen
Schlafly Bottleworks • Hefeweizen • IBU: 16 • ABV: 4.1% • 7.5 SRM
HOPS: Tettnang (US), Marynka (PL)
GRAINS : Pale, Wheat, Munich
YEAST: American Ale
Unfiltered and hazy pink to orange hue, frothy off-white/pink head with some large bubbly lacing. The nose is sweet and yeasty with some chalky vibe. The front to mid mouth is a little sharp fruit tart and bitterness with a nice lingering yeast and malt back to hold it together. This is a bit sweeter than most fruit heffe’s that I’ve had.
Oatmeal Stout
Schlafly Bottleworks • Stout • IBU: 40 • ABV: 5.7% • 40+ SRM
HOPS: Northdown (UK), Marynka (PL)
GRAINS : Pale, Caramel, Roasted Barley, Oat Flakes
YEAST: American Ale
Super dark brown draft, tan colored, small foamy head with great retention and spidery lacing on the rim. The nose is pretty sharp with burned cacao and coffee hints, backed by sweet oats. The front to mid mouth is chewy, full-bodied, low carbonation, and clean. The mid to back has a lot of burned malts, raw cacao and ground coffee hints. Slight metallic to acidic sharper end.
Schlafly Bottleworks • American India Pale Ale (IPA) • IBU: 30 • ABV: 5% • 10 SRM
HOPS: Amarillo, Bullion (US), Magnum (PL)
GRAINS: Pale, Caramel, Carapils ®
YEAST: American Ale
Straw yellow, clear draft with a shallow head that dropped to a sheen on the rim. The nose is a little softer and has some grassy hops, citrus and floral notes. The front to mid is a bit rounded and smoother than their other IPAs, with a nice level of malts and hints of raw barley holding the bitters in check. The mid to back have a nice mix of fresh grassy and aromatic dried leafy hops. Definitely sessionable.
80/- (Eighty Shilling)
Schlafly Bottleworks • Scottish Export Ale • IBU: 21 • ABV: 4% • 30 SRM
Darker clear amber draft with a slight off-white frothy head with decent retention. The nose is soft, sweet, slight spice, slight wet-hop profiles. The front to mid is a bit round, full bodied malt build, slight hop bitters (hop florals), and sweet breads on the back.
Yakima Wheat Ale
Schlafly Bottleworks • American Pale Wheat Ale • IBU: 25 • ABV: 5% • 5 SRM
HOPS: Marynka (PL), Challenger, Mosaic (US)
GRAINS : Pale, Wheat, Caramel
YEAST: American Ale
Bright yellow, slight hazy hued with a solid white head. The nose is really strong with barley and wheat grains and hits of a dry yeastiness. The front to mid mouth is slightly dry, clean, sharp hops of citrus pith, solid grains and sweet breads on the back. Fully carbonated, nice milled grain profile.
Grapefruit IPA
Schlafly Bottleworks • American IPA • IBU: 50 • ABV: 5.9% • 16 SRM
Mid-orange and amber hazy draft with a solid white head that dropped to a sheen on the glass. The nose is distinctly fruit rind bitters and slight sweet cracker malts. The front mouth is sharp fruit bitters and slight hop resins. The mid to back is mildly carbonated, mid-bodied, really nice mix of citrus flavors.
Dry-Hopped Farmhouse Ale
Schlafly Bottleworks • Saison / Farmhouse Ale • IBU: 30 • ABV: 6.9% • 5 SRM
HOPS: Centennial, Mosaic (US)
GRAINS: Europils, Cara 8, White Wheat Malt
YEAST: Belgian
Bright yellow, clear, solid white two finger head that had great retention and clingy lacing. The nose is a bit of fruit hops, slight wild / farmhouse yeast funk. The front mouth is a bit dry, higher carbonation, Belgian yeast forward, lots of citrus pith and bitters, unique range of bitterness with the subtle spice from the Belgian funky yeast profile.
Dry Hopped Märzen
Schlafly Bottleworks • Oktoberfest/Festbier/Märzen • IBU: 25 • ABV: 5.2% • 16 SRM
Mid-red amber clear draft, minimal head, little lacing. The nose is full sweet malts and some mild earthy and spice hop notes. The front mouth is sweet, smooth, low-carbonation. The mid to back is a little bit chewy with the solid malt build, the hops are really secondary and this is a great example of German Oktoberfest style beer.

2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: Boulevard Brewing Company, Kansas City, MO (June 29, Brewery Stop #13)

2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: Boulevard Brewing Company, Kansas City, MO (June 29, Brewery Stop #13) The 13th brewery visited on our cross-country beer discovery tour (click to read about the whole trip) was Boulevard Brewing Company in Kansas City MO. This well known brewery is one of the oldest and largest micro-breweries in the mid-west and we were really looking forward to visiting the location. We left Lincoln on Sunday morning and headded south to KC. The trip wasn’t too bad, just about three hours with a bit of traffic and construction detours in KC itself. We timed it just right and got there as they opened on Monday before lunch.

The brewery complex is located just south-west of the KC MO downtown area and is quite large as you can see. The main facility has a small-ish taproom next to their swag/sales area that has both stuff with their logo on it, lots of bottles, growlers, hats, local goods, t-shirts, etc. for sale. The taproom has 10 or so tables and a bar you can stand at. Typically people use this area for pre-post brewery tour sampling as it turns out, but we just wanted to do the tasting. You can see some of their production area from the taproom through the large windows along the west wall.

For a Monday morning (pre-lunch), it was surprisingly busy. There was a number of visitors and vacationers there to do the brewery tour and such, we chatted briefly with a few couples when we were up at the bar ordering our samples and found most were like us, traveling across parts of the US sampling beers. The chalkboard next to the bar has their beer offerings for that day, and as it turns out you can get most if not everything they distribute as well as a few one-off’s.

We sampled 12 of their beers and found a few of them to be pretty good, and a few misses. The reviews go right to left on the trays. The best part about this visit, was the discussion we had with the bartender and the people visiting the brewery like us about the scene and their beers. While the were good for the most part, the environment seemed a little bit on the ‘corporate’ vibe with the volume of people that were coming in and out, herding people for the brewery tours. It’s definitely worth a visit if you got time and in the area, especially if you’re going out for BBQ after drinking.

Boulevard Brewing Company
2501 Southwest Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
Phone:(816) 474-7095

Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
Boulevard Brewing Co. • Saison/Farmhouse Ale • IBU: 38 • ABV: 8.5% • 6 SRM
Malt: Pale Malt, Malted Wheat
Adjuncts: Corn Flakes
Hops: Magnum, Bravo, Amarillo
Golden and slight cloudy draft, full and bubbly one finger white head with good retention and tons of lacing on the rim. Nose is really yeasty and stronger phenolics present. The front mouth is fruity and smooth with some sharper lemon-grass hops on the mid-back. The malts and grains show up on the back to support this big beer. Lingering yeast funk on the back.
Ginger-Lemon Radler
Boulevard Brewing Co. • Fruit / Vegetable Beer • IBU: 12 • ABV: 4.1% • 3 SRM
Cloudy and off-yellow hue, flat head, no retention and little lacing. The nose is weak, really shallow sugars and hints of lemon zest. The front to mid mouth is all sweet lemon aid and little ginger to speak of, or hops, or malts. There is a hit of spice on the mid to back, with some almost acidic dry finishing characteristics to it.
Hibiscus Gose
Boulevard Brewing Co. • Gose • IBU: 11 • ABV: 4.2% • 12 SRM
Orange-coppery color, clear draft with a thin head that dropped to a sheen. The nose is slightly acidic and yeasty with coriander spices. The front mouth is juicy, acidic, thin, lemon and sharper hit of spice again. The yeast is present from front to back. The malts are on the back with the slight dry finish.
The Calling
Boulevard Brewing Co. • Imperial India Pale Ale • IBU: 75 • ABV: 8.5% • 8 SRM
Clean golden hue, slight head that dropped quickly, no lacing. The nose is hop florals, citrus rind/pith, and some sweet hints. The front mouth is sharp, dry-hopping profile with a range of fruit, citrus, and herbal hop profiles dancing around. The citrus hops come out strongest on the mid-back, with a dry finishing and lingering piney hop resin. This is more of a east coast style IPA than west coast.
Red I.P.A.
Boulevard Brewing Co. • American IPA • IBU: 75 • ABV: 5.8% • 25 SRM
Malt Bill: Pale, Munich, Amber, Cara 120, Cara 300, Chocolate Malt
Kettle/Whirlpool Hops: Chinook, Simcoe, Equinox, Exp 6300
Dry Hopping: Simcoe, Amarillo, Citra
Dark amber/red hue, no head or lacing to speak of. The nose is super malty and dry biscuits with sweet toffee notes. The front mouth is super hoppy and dry with hints of pine cones, dried leaves, earthy acidic notes. Mouth-feel is full, but left me with an oily like resin coating.
Single-Wide I.P.A.
Boulevard Brewing Co. • American India Pale Ale • IBU: 57 • ABV: 5.7% • 14 SRM
Malt: Pale Malt, Amber 50, Malted Wheat, Munich, Cara 50
Hops: Zeus, Bravo, Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe, Citra
Darker straw yellow/orange draft with minimal head and lacing. Nose is sharp with grassy yeast like a pilsner, tons of hop fruitiness follows. The front mouth is floral, dried hops and resiny. The mid to back is pretty strong with acidic grapefruit hop resins and metallic/earthy back notes. The malt is really secondary on this one.
Heavy Lifting I.P.A.
Boulevard Brewing Co. • American India Pale Ale • IBU: 80 • ABV: 6.2% • 14 SRM
Coppery orange hue, slight head that left some lacing, but not much. The nose is floral and citrus hops, slight dried fruit. The front mouth is dried and tropical fruits, slight oily hops. The mid to back mouth-feel is full bodied, mid-carbonated, stronger citrus pith, slight sweet notes on the back.
Unfiltered Wheat
Boulevard Brewing Co. • American Pale Wheat Ale • IBU: 14 • ABV: 4.4% • 6 SRM
Malt: Pale Malt, Unmalted Wheat, Malted Wheat
Hops: Bravo, Zeus, Summit
Bright cloudy yellow sunshine with white foamy head that had ok retention, leaving large bubbly lacing on the rim. The nose is lemon zesty, dried yeast, and some crackery breads. The front mouth is fully carbonated, lemon rind bitters, slight yeast presence, some hits sweet honey and other fruits on the mid-back like banana and apples. Subtle dry lemon on the after-taste.
KC Pils
Boulevard Brewing Co. • Premium American Lager • IBU: 16 • ABV: 4.8% • 6 SRM
Malt: Pale Malt, Pilsner, Munich, Cara 50
Hops: Perle, Magnum, Saaz
Nice golden hue, full head that dropped to a mild rim on the glass. The nose is a little bit sharp with lemon grass but fades off quickly. The front mouth is a bit effervescent with full carbonation and a grassy, dry-hopped presence on the palette. The beer is a little thinner than the others we tried with a thin cracker grain back. Had a nice lingering dry hop lemon-grass bitterness on the back.
Pale Ale
Boulevard Brewing Co. • American Pale Ale • IBU: 30 • ABV: 5.4% • 14 SRM
Malt: Pale Malt, Munich, Cara 50, Cara 120
Hops: Zeus, Magnum, Simcoe, Styrian Golding, Cascade
Mid-amber hue, slight off-white head that had some retention and little lacing. The nose is somewhat sweet-breads, caramel, hints of fall-spices. The front mouth is a little bit dry up front, fresh cut grassy bitters, slight acidic hit on the back. The sugars linger to the back and leave a sweet, caramel after taste.
80-Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer
Boulevard Brewing Co. • American Pale Wheat Ale • IBU: 20 • ABV: 5.5% • 4 SRM
Cloudy and lighter yellow hues on the draft, slight white head that dropped with some minimal spidery lacing. The nose is thin, lemony, yeast with hits of coriander, banana sweet breads. The front mouth is a bit thin, over-carbonated, malts are dried and cracker like. The mid to back is full bodied, the dried citrus and grassy hops are expressed more on the back.
Pop-Up Session I.P.A.
Boulevard Brewing Co. • American India Pale Ale • IBU: 40 • ABV: 4.3% • 5 SRM
Clear bright yellow draft with little to no head. Nose is pine/grapefruits and citrus pith. The front mouth is effervescent with dry acidic bitters, lemon peel, and grapefruit to pine resins. The acidic attack continues to the mid-back, downing out the malts, with a drop off of the citrus and lingers to a sharp, dry hop resin/pine.

2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: Modern Monks Brewery, Lincoln NE (June 28, Brewery Stop #12)

2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: Modern Monks Brewery, Lincoln NE (June 28, Brewery Stop #12) The 12th brewery we stopped at on the cross-country beer discovery tour (click to read about the whole trip) was Modern Monks Brewery at Misty’s Steakhouse in downtown Lincoln NE. After a great Sunday of beer discovery and hanging out with the family, we went to dinner at one of Lincoln’s oldest steakhouses, Misty’s. I had never been to their downtown location, which as it turns out, has a brewery inside, called Modern Monks. I wasn’t able to get a lot of pictures as we got there as the dinner crowd was picking up and it got dark in the area.

It’s suggested to get reservations as they do fill up quickly. There’s a brewery production area behind some larger windows on the north side of the restaurant area. They have a small bar and some seating at the front of the restaurant as well, but we got sat way in the back so we didn’t get much of a chance to check out the scene up front. They have six regular beers on draft at all of their restaurant locations, and one or two seasonals depending on the time of year and location. I did see that they do can a couple of their beers and do regional distribution when we stopped at one of the local bottle shops the night before.

As you can see, the food is quite delicious (especially the steak), and they do offer tasters of their beer in a six sampler tray of their beers. The overall vibe of the restaurant is quite upscale for Lincoln. There are however, no rules against bringing little kids to dinner, and we suffered through a few crying kids the entire dinner. We were not terribly impressed with the beers unfortunately. The tasters disappeared quickly and I ended up ordering a pint of the Alt as it was drinkable. I again appologize for the lack of pictures, it was somewhat of a special dinner with my dad and step-mom, so we didn’t do much gabbing about the beer as we usually did on the trip.

Modern Monks Brewery @ Misty’s Steakhouse
200 N. 11th St.
Lincoln, NE 68508
(402) 476-7766

Modern Monks • Kölsch • IBU: ?? • ABV: ?? • 4 SRM
Bright clear yellow hue, small white head that dropped quickly, leaving minimal lacing on the rim. The nose is a little bit grassy hops, little bit cracker malts, and a hit of sweetness. The front mouth is slightly sweet, dry citrus hops, rounded with the malt backing. The back is a bit dry and citrus hoppy.
Monkadelic American Pale Ale
Modern Monks • American Pale Ale (APA) • IBU: ?? • ABV: 4.2% • 12 SRM
Slight muddy/cloudy draft, mid-dark copper colored, super frothy white head with good retention. There is a sweet malt and metallic note on the nose that is weird (almost wild yeast like). The front and mid mouth are over-carbonated, a little bit sweet, malty-forward, slight yeasty sharp bitters on the mid to back. More like a Belgium style IPA than APA with the amount of citrus and grapefruit hops that show up on the mid to back mouth.
Stonehenge Orange Wheat
Modern Monks • American Pale Wheat Ale • IBU: 16 • ABV: 4.7% • 8 SRM
Slight cloudy and mid-yellow hue draft with a shallow foamy white head. The nose is a little orange peel, some unfiltered yeast, slight spice like corriander (hefe style). The front mouth is a little bit dry, good full bodied, mid-carbonation, decent shallow hint of orange peel/rind with the spice on the back.
Modern Monks • Altbier • IBU: 34 • ABV: 4.6% • 30 SRM
Darker amber draft with a minimal head that dropped to a sheen with no lacing. The nose is sweet, toasted grains and breaddy malts. There is a slight hint of crisp hops on the front mouth with a strong-malt presence. The full-bodied and mild carbonated beer has a decent balance of malts and hops on the mid-back to hold it together.
Fried Tuck Robust Porter
Modern Monks • American Porter • IBU: ?? • ABV: 4.2% • 40+ SRM
Dark black and brown edging, full tan frothy head that dissipated quickly, leaving a lot of sticky lacing on the rim. Nose is pretty roasted and burned coffee with some hits of sweet milk and some back solid woody notes. The front mouth is pretty thick, full bodied, cocoa-beans, burned coffee on the mid. The mid-back is not as carbonated as I’d like in a porter, but this beer does have a solid mouth-feel. The back does go down smooth, creamy milk-chocolate like.
Modern Monks • Extra Special / Strong Bitter • IBU: ?? • ABV: ?? • 26 SRM
Dark amber-red hue, small off-white head that didn’t last but a moment, little to no lacing. The nose is a bit sweet and bready with a dry hop present. The front to mid mouth is a bit over-sweetened and burned toffee on the mid. The back has a shallow dry hop resin with the slight metallic after-taste.

2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: Ploughshare Brewing Company, Lincoln NE (June 28, Brewery Stop #11)

2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: Ploughshare Brewing Company, Lincoln NE (June 28, Brewery Stop #11) The 11th brewery to be visited during the cross-country beer discovery tour (click to read about the whole trip) was Ploughshare Brewing Company in downtown Lincoln NE just a few blocks from the UNL campus. This was one of the first true surprises during the road trip, we had no idea it existed until earlier that day when we started looking at what was open in town for breweries and this new brewery came up. We had no idea what their beers were like, but we were pleasantly surprised and truly glad we stopped by before going to dinner that night.

The brewery has a large main area and bar to sit at. They don’t have much in the way of food (or didn’t at that time), but they did have 10 distinct and great beers to sample from. The server was excited to hear that we were new to their beers, and made sure to answer any questions we had about them. They did mention that they were getting ready to ramp up production and keg so they can start distributing around the area. We didn’t have any problems getting a spot at the bar, and most of the customers there were new to the business and doing tasters like us.

So, be it that it’s been a few months since the visit, I’d go out of my way if I was back in Lincoln to find their beer on draft. They do an outstanding job for a new brewery in the consistency and quality of the beer they produce. I was amazed at the enthusiasm and interest in talking about their beers when we ordered and explained why we were there. They actually knew what the difference between IBU and ABV (which we found some servers don’t know across the country – I know, I don’t get it?). I applaud them for trying to bring the craft brewing culture to Lincoln and only wish them success and growth with their efforts.

The beers we reviewed ranged from Saison, Reds, IPAs, Pales, and Stouts. There were a number of standouts from the offerings, including the Pivo Bubina Helles Bock, Tailgate Red, and the Robber’s Pilser just to name a few. I’ve reviewed the range below, left to right in the pictures. Overall, if I’m ever back in Lincoln, I’m going to make every effort to seek them out and share them with my friends and family back there.

Ploughshare Brewing Company
1630 P St.
Lincoln, NE 68508
Phone: (402)742-0420


Farm Boy
Ploughshare Brewing Co. • Cream Ale • IBU: 18 • ABV: 4.8% • 4 SRM
Clear golden draft with a shallow white head that dropped quickly, leaving minimal lacing on the rim. The nose is a little bit malty sweet, and wet-grass hops. The front to mid is mid-bodied to thin, slight sharp hop resins sneak in with the malty rounded mid-back. Low carbonation and a good mix on the balance between malts and hops.
Farm Boy Lemon Shandy – Cask
Ploughshare Brewing Co. • Cream Ale • IBU: 12 • ABV: 3.6% • 2 SRM
Bright yellow hued draft with a super foamy two finger white head with great retention and lacing. The nose is bit lemon zest, sweet sugars, slight hop bitters from the citrus rind notes. The front mouth is shallow and thin with sweet sugary notes. This cask draft (mixed with lemonade) does sing on the mid, as it drys the mouth out. The lemon profile covers any hints of hops or yeast. This is a thinner adult-coolaid.
Helga Honey Wheat
Ploughshare Brewing Co. • American Pale Wheat Ale • IBU: 38 • ABV: 5.5% • 3 SRM
Hops: Mt. Hood, Saaz
Clear sunny yellow draft, two finger solid white foamy head that left tons of lacing on the rim. The nose expresses some grass-hoppy notes, subtle yeast and malty (bread) backing. The front mouth is complex and fully carbonated with crisp hop bitters and followed with wheaty yeast notes. The balance with the malts and wheat grains does play well with the sharper hop profile of this beer. The back and after have a lingering sweet-wheat grain note.
Robber’s Pils
Ploughshare Brewing Co. • Pre-Prohibition Pilsner • IBU: 28 • ABV: 5.6% • 18 SRM
Malts: Domestic 6-row barley, corn grits
Hops: Strisselspalt and Tettnanger hops
Take on the modern Czeck Pilsner, a bit darker copper color, bright white foamy (big bubbles) head with decent retention and spidery lacing. The nose is a bit of toasted grains and and sweet corn (vegetal). The hops come in on the front and mid mouth with a dry lemon-grass like bitterness. The sweeter malts allow for the rounded, full-body beer to hold it’s own against the aggressive hops.
St. Monica’s
Ploughshare Brewing Co. • Irish Dry Stout • IBU: 30 • ABV: 4.7% • 40+ SRM
Solid black body, two finger off-white/tan foamy head with solid retention and beautiful lacing on the rim. The nose is hits of dry cocao and coffee bitters. The front mouth is smooth, creamy, solid with slight dry cacao bitters, toasted grain notes, slight sweet breads. The mid-back mouth is super solid and ends with a slight dry hit. Excellent take on the dry Irish stout.
Bouton D’or Dandelion Saison
Ploughshare Brewing Co. • Saison / Farmhouse Ale • IBU: 27 • ABV: 6.3% • 5 SRM
Note: Brewed with 67 pounds of fresh-picked dandelions
Cloudy soft yellow draft, thin white head that dropped quickly, minimal lacing on rim. The front nose is spicy funky yeast, slight raw vegetal hits. The front mouth is yeast forward, some bitters and spices (coriander/pepper) on the mid, and a really strong dandelion/flower profile that is different than any beer I’ve had before. You know it’s fresh, you can tell it’s earthy and weed-like. Back and after taste are slightly bitter with floral hops and yeast funk.
Buckboard Pale Ale
Ploughshare Brewing Co. • English Pale Ale • IBU: 35 • ABV: 5% • 14 SRM
Mid-copper draft, foamy white head with nice retention, some lacing as we sipped. The nose expresses both toasted grains (bread crust) and slight notes of hop oils. The front to mid mouth feel is medicum-bodied, fully carbonated, sharper dry hop floral, backed with a solid malt body. The mid-back to after-taste has a decent longer hop-oil linger with some bread backing.
Pivo Bublina
Ploughshare Brewing Co. • Helles / Bock • IBU: 25 • ABV: 7.1% • 14 SRM
Orangy-copper hue, beautiful solid white foamy head with full retention till the end, and lots of lacing. The nose is a bit sweet, slight yeast, hints of hop flowers. The front is dryer like a Pilsner but sweet with a solid malt (cracker) backing. The mid to back is full bodied, fully-carbonated, slight dry hopped vibe which hides the slightly higher ABV well. Another great example of this German style beer!
Tailgate Red
Ploughshare Brewing Co. • Irish Red Ale • IBU: 22 • ABV: 5% • 30 SRM
Deep red-hued draft with a bright white shallow foamy head. Nose is sweet, malty, solid with no bitters. The front mouth is full-bodied, lingering sweet malt and roasted grain notes, hops are really secondary, but do show up on the mid-back mouth and after-taste. This is a solid variation on a IRA style, slight dry backing and sweet from front to back, almost like an ESB with less bitterness.
Ploughshare Brewing Co. • IPA • IBU: 68 • ABV: 7.2% • 20 SRM
Slight darker-orange coppery draft with a two finger head, dropped with nice spidery lacing. The nose has a sharp hop resin bite with dry tropical and citrus notes. The front to mid mouth is solid, mid-carbonation, sweet malts are on the back, supporting the sharper hop bitters. The resin lingers on the back and drys out nicely to a citrus pith.

2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: Granite City Food & Brewery, Lincoln NE (June 28, Brewery Stop #10)

2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: Granite City Food & Brewery, Lincoln NE (June 28, Brewery Stop #10) The 10th brewery we stopped at during the beer discovery tour (click here to read about the whole trip)was Granite City Food & Brewery in Lincoln NE. We slept in a little bit (as it was a Sunday) and decided to go out for lunch to Granite City out by the mall. This is a corporate chain in the mid-west that can be found in most major cities. It’s sort of like the “Appleby’s of Breweries” as the food is ‘ok’ and the beer is drinkable but not outstanding.

We got there about 11am, forgetting that they actually do a Sunday brunch, but we were going to do some tasting so eggs with beer, not a good call. We decided to sit up at the bar and chat up the bartender to see what he thought about their beers and the local scene. He was happy to pour us the full lineup, and give us his opinions of them, which surprisingly wasn’t that great considering that there isn’t a lot of choices in Lincoln when it comes to locally made beer.

The food we ordered came out pretty quick and wasn’t bad. We sipped on the eight tasters while enjoying the quiet bar setting. The lineup included one seasonal beer which was a Belgian Golden. I have heard that Granite City makes their wort in a centralized location and ships it to each of their locations for aging, which is an interesting model for a brewery to use. I suppose it cuts down on the production costs and complexity, but it still doesn’t prevent their beers from going bad if the local brewer is clueless.

So, if you’re out and about in the mid-west, and are needing an ‘ok’ beer and ‘ok’ food, look to see if there’s a Granit City nearby and give them a try. While we were not impressed with any of their beers, I had to remind the guys that you gotta ‘remember your audience’ and understand that the locals going to a restaurant like this aren’t here for the beer, but the food. They have to stay ‘middle of the road’ in order to keep the masses happy. The reviews go back to front, left to right.

Granite City Food & Brewery
6150 O St.
Lincoln, NE 68510
Phone: (402)466-1900

The Northern
Granite City Food & Brewery • American Pale Lager • IBU: ?? • ABV: 4.5% • 4 SRM
Lite golden color, solid white head that dropped quickly to a scheen, no lacing to speak of. The nose is slightly floral hops and citrus rind. The body is watered down, somewhat thin, and the flavors drop out quickly. There is a little bit of citrus bitterness on the back.
The Bennie
Granite City Food & Brewery • Bock • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5.5% • 28 SRM
This is a darker amber colored draft, solid two finger off-white foamy head with decent retention and clingy characters. The nose is sweet and malty forward. The front mouth is sweet, toasted grains, lots of malts and few bitters or hops present. The mid-bodied beer has a sweet lingering flavor that does hold it’s own.
The Duke
Granite City Food & Brewery • English Pale Ale • IBU: 59 • ABV: 5.2% • 16 SRM
Cloudy copper colored draft with a nice frothy head and a good deal of spidery and clumpy lacing. Nose is caramel, biscuit, and a little bit of dried hops. The mouth-feel is solid, decent amount of carbonation, speaks to a bit of bread/malt/cracker flavors, some sweeter sugars/caramel on the mid/back. Flavors linger on the back and after-taste.
Batch 1000
Granite City Food & Brewery • Imperial / Double IPA • IBU: 76 • ABV: 8.5% • 20 SRM
Cloudy amber/reddish hue draft, minimal white head that dropped off completely and left small bubbly lacing on the rim. The nose is a little bit citrus, sweet, and hot (alcohol). The front mouth has a little bit of citrus, hop oils/astringents, and heat from the alcohol. The mid to back mouth-feel is somewhat lighter in feel, low carbonation, stronger alcohol feel yet.
Two Pull
Granite City Food & Brewery • Black & Tan • IBU: ?? • ABV: ??% • 18 SRM
Blend of Northern Light and Brother Benedict Bock, clear reddish/brown colored, slight egg-shell tan head, foam has nice retention, some lacing. The nose is a bit of grains, sweet malts, burned sugars/caramel, and hints of floral hops. The front mouth is light hop oils, a hint of yeast, lighter and thin bodied. The mid to back have mild carbonation and a mid-body, hints of floral hops and lots of sweet malts. The back has nothing but sweet malts and slight watery vibe.
Blue Berrian
Granite City Food & Brewery • Fruit / Vegetable Beer • IBU: ?? • ABV: 4.2% • 16 SRM
This amber draft has a slight white head that holds against the rim (clingy retention). The nose is sweet, slight wheat/grain notes. The fruit is expressed after a stronger hit of metallic acidity on the front. The mid to back is a lot of malt profiles and secondary fruit. Full bodied, lots of carbonation, but the metallic tastes is present to the back.
Gold Fever (seasonal)
Granite City Food & Brewery • Belgian Strong Pale Ale • IBU: ?? • ABV: 8.5% • 10 SRM
Softer orange/yellow hues, slight white head that laid down quickly to a sheen on the top with some bubbly lacing. The nose is dried fruit and yeast with a hit of spice. The front and mid mouth are a bit hot from the ABV, slight sweet malts and dried fruits come through. There are low hops throughout and the after taste is a little thin, old-dried fruit, fuzzy.
Broad Axe Stout
Granite City Food & Brewery • Irish Dry Stout • IBU: ?? • ABV: 5% • 40+ SRM
Draft pours an opaque black and solid tan head, beautiful retention and tons of lacing. The front nose is a lot of roasted malts, caramels, dried bitter chocolates, and hints of coffee. The front to mid mouth are full bodied, smoother, chocolates, bitter coffee, roasted grains. The mid to back have a lot of lingering bitters with a solid burned bread taste.