Over the past few months, a good number of breweries have come into the Minnesota Market. A few of those new microbreweries are from Chicago – one of my most favoritist places on earth. So, move over, Goose Island… it’s time to meet the neighbors.
Minnesotans, I present to you Off Color Brewing and their trio of atypical beers! I have been raving about them among my fellow beer lovers for about a month. With a pencil-drawn mouse as a mascot and styles like Kottbusser, I was immediately sucked in. I never turn down tasting a beer that makes me hit the books.
The brewery is a meeting of the minds: John Laffler, formerly of Goose Island’s Barrel-Aging program, and Two Brothers’ Dave Bleitner. The two are passionate about brewing beers they like, without being constrained by styles, especially not American ones. They told The Chicago Tribune of their hopes to pursue German, Swedish, and Finnish styles. (Finish beer? Yeah, you got me. No idea.)
The label is a mouse in a squirrel costume sneaking up on a fermenter. It’s a slightly bright beer with pleasant spicing and a perfect amount of tart.
The beer that affirmed my love affair with Off Color, though, is the Apex Predator. With the most adorable label of a lion who ate a mouse, there is no way to not adore this Farmhouse Ale. I enjoy the restrained funkiness and all-around drinkability of this one. Caramelized sugar is used along with the grain and the dry-hopping enhances the dry and clean finish.
And finally, for the curve ball, check out the Scurry – an obsolete German style of beer called Kottbusser. Scurry is fermented low and slow with honey and molasses. A historic style that is similar to an Alt, Kottbusser was only brewed in specific areas as it did not adhere to the German Purity Law in that the recipe included oats, molasses and honey. The beer originated in Cottbus, a city southeast of Berlin.
Scurry is quite dark, with very mild molasses notes and restrained sweetness. The mix of malt adds a very layered complexity and the German hops add an earthy, bitter balance throughout the taste.
If you haven’t given Off Color a try, I seriously recommend all three of these! Troublesome, Apex Predator, and Scurry all stand alone as solid beers but they also make a good trio, pleasing all kinds of palates.