On a recent excursion into the northern burbs, I visited Alloy Brewing Company in Coon Rapids, MN. They opened their doors last June and I figured it was time for me to see what the beers were like. A few weeks back, I tried their Pewter Porter at the Winter Beer Dabbler and really liked the flavor. The porter and great conversation with my friend Shaun, who works in the taproom, were all the motivation I needed to make the trip up.
The brewery occupies the space that used to house a Jiffy Lube. The taproom space is open with lots of natural light. I am looking forward to coming back in the summer when the doors are open and there is fresh air to enhance my experience. My friend, Tim, joined me for this venture and we grabbed two seats at the bar. Despite the fact that is was a Saturday, we hit them when they were having the lull between the afternoon and evening. This was good because it gave us an opportunity to chat with Shaun and Rob, the head brewer.
Other than the porter, I haven’t ever tried anything from Alloy and I asked Shaun to come up with 6 tasters for us to try. I was happy to see that there was a nice mix of styles and ranges of ABV to pick from. We were on our way back to St. Paul from Lupulin Brewing Company’s Big Beer Week, so keeping things in a low gear was essential or we would have to stay the night and sleep on grain bags. Shaun was more than happy to pick 6 of their 10 offerings to fill up a flight for us.
Hell’s Bellows Helles 5.1%ABV 17 IBU
A clean and crisp lager with a nice bready malt character. A subtle earthy hop presence makes this beer balanced and easy to quaff. A very good representation of the style.
Vitro Vienna Lager 5.4% ABV 21 IBU
Good caramel malt flavor. Was hoping for a bit more roast in the malt and as a result, there isn’t a crispness or bite that I have come to expect from this style. That being said, the beer is tasty and clean.
Iron Arm Belgian Golden Ale 8.8% ABV 23 IBU
Great color in this beer. Yeast esters come out in the flavor and aroma in the form of pleasing spicy notes of coriander and sweet notes of vanilla. The astringency in the finish made this my least favorite beer that we had.
Iron Kilt Wee Heavy 8.5% ABV 24 IBU
A perfect beer for today’s weather. Nice and malty. Not a ton of peat or smoke, but rather big caramel and toasty notes from the malt. Mouthfeel is medium and the sweetness lingers on your tongue just a bit. It only gets better as it warms up.
As much as I enjoyed this outdoors at the Winter Beer Dabbler, I like it even more while sitting comfortably indoors. Definitely more of an English Porter with the big roasty aromas and flavors from the malt. Not super thick, which is another nod to the older forms of the English Porters. This is something I would gladly enjoy over and over again.
Barn Burner Farmhouse Ale 7.6% ABV 30 IBU
This one is kind of a blend of a few styles. Think a darker than normal Saison with just a bit more funk. I like that the Brett doesn’t overwhelm the beer so that you can still taste the malt. Tim is not a huge fan of Saisons, but he did like the way this beer came together. I also liked it due to synchronicity between the brett and the malt.
As we finished up our flight, more people kept streaming in and it was clear that the evening rush was upon them. Amidst sipping our way through the flights, Rob, the head brewer, chatted with us and it was nice to hear about his passion for beer. He commented on how people have really embraced Alloy and they seem to be a nice addition to the brewery landscape of that area.
I was impressed with the beers that I had at Alloy. I had heard mixed things about their beers and was happy to see that they seem to have things dialed in. As the MN beer scene matures, there is no room for a brewery that cannot serve well-made and consistent beers. Is it ok for a brewery to have some growing pains? Yes. Is it acceptable for a brewery to just serve subpar beer without understanding anything about quality and consistency and be ok with it? No. Alloy Brewing is constantly seeking to improve and my trip is evidence that they are moving in the right direction.
Alloy Brewing Company: 2700 Coon Rapids BLVD. Northwest, Coon Rapids, MN 55433