In a rare incursion into the Twin Cities Metro, I was able to briefly visit the brand new Excelsior Brewing Company brewery on Saturday afternoon. I had been dying to get there for some time, especially since they had promised me a free t-shirt in response to some pre-opening Twitter interaction back in, oh, late May I think, and I am one of those people who will drive an hour and half to get a free t-shirt.
But far more than that, I wanted to be able to set foot in at least one of the glorious spate of new breweries setting up shop in Minnesota in 2012. This is a very exciting time to be a beer lover in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. I’m not sure what has been more frustrating: watching this abundance develop from far away in Canada’s Capital throughout the past fall and winter, or watching it from 100 miles away this spring and summer. It’s probably for the best, though: if I was still living in Saint Paul I would be a beer-chasin’ fool right now, and that’s probably not what my family needs of me.
But back to Excelsior. As I mentioned, I was only able to manage a very short visit, long enough to collect my t-shirt (thank you very much! I wear it proudly with my kilt!) and enjoy a small sample of their inaugural brew, Bring Jumper. The story that was being told when we were there is that they had planned to brew a sessionable American Pale Ale, but their brand new brewing system was far more efficient than expected, and a monster 8%ABV beer had come out instead. I just have this to say about Bridge Jumper: if it was truly as unplanned as legend would have it, I certainly hope is is reproducible, because I LOVED it. I can find a ton of beers that smack me in the face with a bushel of hops, but Bridge Jumper smacked me with a big malty hand instead, and that is all too rare a treat. Bravo, Excelsior Brewing team, and I look forward to trying all your efforts, I hope for many years to come. And next time I visit, I’ll make sure to give myself time to enjoy a full pint of something. And I’ll be sporting my new shirt, too.