Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Olvalde The Auroch's Horn
I'm always happy to hear about a new brewery opening in Minnesota. Many questions immediately come to mind when I hear news like that: Where is the brewery? Who is the head brewer? What kind of beers do they produce? Are they hiring beer geeks like me? It also makes me very excited about the future of our craft beer culture in this state. I think someday we might even compare to great beer states like Oregon and Colorado. That would be pretty cool...
We recently had some brand new local breweries pop up including Harriet, Pour Decisions, Castle Danger, and Olvalde. Not to mention the already existing brewing companies that have been contract brewing and now started the setup of their own brewing space and equipment, like Lift Bridge and Fulton. Yep, things are looking bright for Minnesota craft brewing.
Today, I'm focusing on a beer from one of those brand-spankin' new breweries: Olvalde Farm and Brewing Company. They are a small operation located on a family farm in Rollingstone, MN. Their goal is to create ales "that honor ancient brewing traditions and culture." I like the sound of that.
The first (and only, for right now) beer that Olvalde has bottled is The Auroch's Horn. This brew is based on a very old style made with barley, wheat, and honey. It is unfiltered, refermented in the bottle, and weighs in with big 10% ABV.
Why did they name the beer The Auroch's Horn? That's a fun bit of trivia. The aurochs were a species of huge wild cattle that lived in Europe, Asia, and northern Africa until they officially became extinct in 1627. Their horns were often hollowed out and used as drinkware for the ales of that time. Pretty cool, huh?
I pour from the 750 ml bottle into my oversized wine glass. Yep, I said wine glass. Don't fret, my friends, I haven't gone crazy. It's actually appropriate for this style. The fast building off-white coarse head peaks at 3 fingers high, then slowly fades to a sticky, soapy-looking film. The body is a nice orange-ish gold color.
Some pleasant aromas make their presence known. The sweet smells of honey and ripe apricot combine beautifully with herbal spice and a slight musty quality. There is also the definite scent of alcohol.
This is tasty stuff. The flavor matches the aroma almost identically. The honey starts it off and and mixes with stone fruit, black pepper, bittering herbs, booziness, and a little metallic twang as it carries all the way through to the finish.
The brew's moderate thickness and some prickly carbonation make for a wonderful mouthfeel. A nice dry, crisp finish is accompanied by a building warmth after each sip. Some pretty lacing is left on my glass as the liquid disappears.
I'm a big fan of Belgian beer styles and now I'm a big fan of Olvalde. I'm proud that this lovely creation was crafted in Minnesota. It has a wonderful combination of sweet fruit, spice, and some constructive bitterness that makes me want to drink a lot more of this brew. I can't wait to see what Olvalde Farm and Brewing Company will create next. Definitely go out to buy yourself this beer and help me support this new brewery.