It's been a busy couple of months in the cellar here at Birch's on the Lake. We've recently replaced our last guest beer, and have filled all eight taps with our own house-made craft brews. There's been a lot of excitement about our beers, including a great write-up on local CBS' Tap-Talks, the Heavy Table, and a feature in Growler magazine. Since opening our doors downstairs on Oct. 2nd we've moved tons of our beer including three 10bbl batches - over 930 gallons - of our Pilsen Blonde Ale. An unfiltered Pilsner-inspired beer brewed with Czech Saaz hops, and American Ale yeast. Among our most popular styles have been the single-hop IPA series which has featured Columbus hops, as well as Sorachi Ace hops - a less used variety that imparts a wood, and orange peel flavor with a smoky bouquet reminiscent of bourbon barrel beers. The next IPA in the series will feature the well-loved Citra hop, which were graciously afforded to us by the guys over at Sisyphus brewing near Dunwoody in Minneapolis. Following the Citra IPA our next beer in the series will feature the fashionable Amarillo hop, a Pacific Northwest aromatic variety that has grown in popularity in recent harvest years. Thanks to Tom at Waconia brewing for providing the hops on this one, and for the wonderful dopplebock he sent us away with. We've had a great time exploring other local breweries, and building relationships with other local brewers.

Birch's beer made it's first appearance outside the brewery at the TonkaBrewfest in Minnetrista featuring our India Brown Ale, a hybrid style beer with a smooth balance of malt sweetness, and dry hopped aromatics. As well as our Coffee Chocolate Golden Ale - a yellow beer with big chocolate and coffee flavor - one of Brennan's favorites, and certainly a big hit at the festival. We couldn't have asked for better weather, or atmosphere for our first beer festival, and we found some real gems there that we'd recommend for anybody’s fridge. Badger Hill brought out their "Highroad", a session IPA with a floral bouquet, and citrus undertones. American Sky had a great blonde ale in their Tailgunner Gold. Citrus, and grapefruit notes throughout with a honey wheat finish that makes this blonde a great any-time beer. Wyndfall Cyder had their booth set-up just around the corner from us, and their cider selection became a fast favorite. The standout being their Apricot Cider. All of their ciders impart a champagne-like dryness, and subtlety of flavor that I tend to look for in a cider - These guys are doing some nice work.

With all the fun we've been having meeting other brewers, and drinking great beer we haven't stopped brewing up some great recipes. Just in time for Thanksgiving we put on our Pumpkin Spice Ale - a medium-bodied beer with a big nose of clove, and allspice. Shortly after we moved our Vanilla Milk Stout into the bright-tanks. We couldn't be happier with the results! This beer landed right on the money for us. Big roast flavor, lactic mouthfeel, and LOTS of vanilla - Creamy, and delicious. A great winter beer! Currently in the tanks we have an Apricot Berliner Weiss on it's way - we've followed the trend a little here, adding fruit to our sour beer in an attempt to woo more traditional beer drinkers to the sour side. As big sour beer enthusiasts we can't wait to put this one on tap. A little further down the pipeline we'll be releasing a Spiced Belgian with Lemongrass and ginger, as well as a double IPA featuring four of our favorite hop varieties. -- Whew! Big update. What a busy couple of months we've had. We'll be aiming to keep the brewers blog updated at least twice a month, or any time we put a new beer on tap, so that everyone can stay in touch with what we've got in the works here. In the mean time, come on down, and grab a pint! Cheers!