The inaugural First Tuesday Beer Club meeting last month at Acadia went so well, we decided to do it again.

For the March gathering, our ragtag ensemble of fellow craft beer appreciators descended upon the Muddy Pig in St. Paul, a great neighborhood watering hole that has been host to several of my more memorable drinking excursions of late.

Unlike the first go-round, I decided to take it a little easier considering I was 1) driving, and 2) had a busy work day ahead of me on Wednesday. So I kept it to a handful of craft beers, one local and a couple from the coasts. Here’s the rundown:

Lift Bridge Farm Girl Saison
I’ve been remiss in not trying this one yet, the flagship offering from our very own Lift Bridge Brewery in Stillwater (contract brewed by Flat Earth, I believe). For a Belgian saison, this one was very unique…at first blush I wasn’t sure if I’d mistakenly been served a tall glass of opaque orange juice, as it looked nothing like most other saisons I’ve had (or brewed myself). Tons of suspended yeast, almost like a hefeweizen. It smelled fantastic. Aggressively yeast-forward with a nice layering of cloves, light esters and a distinct horse blanket quality (did they use Brett?). Taste was bready and light, but not effervescent which I look forward to in this style. Carbonation a bit lacking, giving it a rather flat and watery mouthfeel. But overall, a pretty decent beer and one that I’d definitely try again. Look forward to some more offerings from these guys.

Rating: B+    

Eel River Triple Exultation
If Lift Bridge’s saison was my warm-up appetizer into the evening, tipping back a glass of Triple Exultation from Eel River in California was like skipping the main course and heading right for the dessert tray. Very nice amber coloring in the pour with only the slightest film of bubbles skimming the top of this Old Ale. A candy sweet aroma hits you right away, hinting at toffee, dark fruits and maybe even sherry. The taste was just like the nose, bordering on cloying in its malty, chewy sweetness. At nearly 10% ABV, it’s a hefty beer, and in combination with its nearly overpowering sugaryness, one that I was glad to share with a couple other friends at the table.  

Rating: B-     

Southern Tier Oak-Aged Cuvee Series Two
Mmm…now this is a nice beer. My love of all things casked has been long documented (most recently with my brewing of the port barrel-aged Belgian Brown Ale), so when I saw Southern Tier’s Oak-Aged Cuvee Series Two on the beer list, I had to order. Served in a snifter with a beautiful ruby red coloring and thin, khaki head. The nose was pure oaky goodness with a nice interplay of vanilla and dark fruits. Not sure where they get their casks, but they certainly could have been bourbon barrels. Taste was fantastic, with more of the oaked flavoring permeating throughout. Really reminded me in a big way of Allagash Curieux, minus the Belgian qualities. Mouthfeel and drinkability were great. And I didn’t even mind the slight heat from the 11% ABV that started creeping up on the back of my throat with each small sip. I have a bottle of this in my beer cellar, and I’m very excited to try this in another year or two.

Rating: A