Friday, July 9, 2010
Lift Bridge Minnesota Tan
Lift Bridge Beer's bottled products started with the popular Farm Girl Saison. After some established success, they released Cross Cut Pale Ale in 6-packs as well. Their third, most recent release in 4-packs is a limited specialty brew called Minnesota Tan.
According to Lift Bridge, Minnesota Tan is a Belgian Tripel made with lingonberries. It weighs in at 8.5% ABV. I've never seen a lingonberry, let alone tasted or smelled one, so I did a little research to learn about this fruit. They are red berries that are a close relative of common cranberries, but have a unique flavor. Also, they are very tart and most commonly consumed in conjunction with sugar (jams, juice, syrup), which keeps the sour flavor from becoming overwhelming.
Why the name Minnesota Tan? Well, the brewery states that the lingonberries give the beer a slight pink tint, like a Minnesota "tan." Clever name for a summer beer in this state, don't you think?
I pour the 12 ounce bottle into my goblet. A 1-finger white head makes an appearance before falling fast into multiple thin, tiny patches and a ring of foam around the glass. The body is cloudy and golden in color with numerous bubbles flying to the top of the liquid. I'm not sure that I see the pink that Lift Bridge claims, but, to be fair, they do say it is a "slight" tint.
The slight aroma of brown sugar is followed by the smell of acidic fruit, like tart cherries or cranberries. There may also be a bit of spice, but it's hard to liken it to something.
The brief taste of sweet caramel disappears quickly. Apricots and then sour cherries become the dominate flavors. Then it transitions into a gently bitter and decently dry finish.
There is a medium-light mouthfeel with pleasant carbonation that cleanses the tongue. There is a noticeable alcohol warmth which was not present in the smell or taste. There isn't any lacing to speak of.
This is a wonderfully tasty and unique beer that combines the characteristics of a tripel and a sour beer, minus the funk. It is sweet, then fruity and tart before finishing dry and warm. It is very pleasing and almost too easy to drink. Definitely give this beer a try while the weather is still warm.