Paige Latham Didora
cruising through st. paul with haskell’s
Last week I had the opportunity to volunteer for the 18th annual Haskell’s Beer and Wine Cruise down the Mississippi in St. Paul. It involved two boats, hundreds of beer and wine samples, top-notch raffle prizes, catered dinner, and a perfectly marvelous evening.
Beer vendors were both local and international. Choices included the small and new – Third Street, Brash – as well as the classics – Ommegang, Samuel Adams.
The top floor of the cruise was all beer and the lower level was wine. I didn’t actually go downstairs… I was having too much fun in beer land.
I was elated to see that Sam Adams was serving up their Harvest Pumpkin Ale, even though I admit it is a bit early for pumpkin. It is brewed with 17 pounds of fresh pumpkin per batch. It tasted bright enough for summer but had those suggestive spices that make anyone long for falling leaves.
Local breweries like Third Street, Flat Earth, and Summit were represented, and many cruise-goers expressed nostalgia about drinking Summit aboard several Haskell’s cruises for years in a row. They also shared in sampling some new and unique offerings.
By far the most unique beer offered was New Holland’s Four Witches – a black saison!
The color of this beer served to throw off my palate. Despite its blackness, the beer really is a saison with no heavy malt notes whatsoever. Substantial spiciness, herbal aroma, and general farmhouse-ness come through immediately.
Originally produced in April 2012, this is the second interation of their black saison. The “black” adds a nice degree of depth and backbone to the bright herbal notes.
A lull set in around the beer tables while dinner was served, but it quickly picked up again with people ready for more.
Central Waters has made a much-needed update to their packaging and served up two of their crowd favorites.
Across the way was Tallgrass with their 8-bit Pale Ale, Ethos IPA, Halcyon Wheat and Wild Plum Farmhouse.
We pulled back towards Harriet Island, returning just after 9pm as the sun was setting over the river. Downtown St. Paul was lit up beautifully and we filed off the boat. It was a very well-organized event that I would recommend attending in the future!