Pint Report: Witch Hunt Minneapolis & Arbeiter Brewing Collaboration: Brocken Bock

The lovely humans at Arbeiter Brewing Company and Witch Hunt Minneapolis collaborated on a beer and it taps Friday, April 30th. This is another in a long line of wonderful collaborations that Witch Hunt Minneapolis has done, but it is their first lager. It makes sense that they chose to partner with Arbeiter Brewing Company in Minneapolis because the brew team there knows how to brew fantastic lagers. Garth Blomberg, Co-Founder of Arbeiter was kind enough to set aside a crowler for me to sample to help get the word out. So, here are some of my thoughts on this beer.

There’s No Place Like Home

First and foremost, I love that these two special organizations have partnered up to make a beer. Since Arbeiter opened its doors in January, it has become somewhat of a home away from home for me. I love the way I feel when I walk in the door. No, they don’t all yell, “Dan!!” when I walk in like an episode of Cheers. The reason I feel welcome there is just because I see so much diversity in their staff and their patronage and that makes me feel comfortable. As a person of color, myself, it is quite rare when I don’t feel like “the only” in most places. One of the things that Arbeiter puts above all else is being inclusive and providing space for everyone to just be.

Not unlike Arbeiter’s core values, Witch Hunt Minneapolis seeks to advocate for marginalized genders and queer folx in all areas of craft beer. They do a wonderful job of providing education and access to the craft industry for many under-represented people. So, when I heard several months ago that a collaboration was happening, I got really excited.

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of . . . Witches!

This beer is a maibock, a spring seasonal that, when done well, should be a harmonious union of malt and hops. The Brocken Bock is indeed that. The name of the beer comes from German folklore and is in reference to Walpurgis Night. Walpurgis Night is a celebration of the blending of Germanic and Multi-Religious customs. Walpurgis Night happens on the evening of April 30th (tonight) and marks the meeting of witches on Brocken mountain. Brocken mountain is the highest of the Harz Mountains in north central Germany.

So, I you are hard-pressed to find a mountain in Minnesota, but I can tell you that some rad witches will be hanging out at Arbeiter today to celebrate the tapping of this delicious collaboration.

Beer Is Art

As if the inspiration for the beer is not enough, the artwork on the label is fantastic. You probably recognize the whimsical and cartoonish essence of the label from the epic mural that envelopes the wall of the Arbeiter taproom. Well, it is the fantastic work of FOLA (Shade Pratt). I love how the colors evoke a playfulness and youthful energy. This same energy is very much a part of spring.

Not Your Bock, But Maibock

The beer was brewed using a decoction mash. I can’t explain it well, but Aaron Herman, the head brewer at Arbeiter, can give you a master’s course on the topic. All I know is that there is alchemy involved that results in an impeccably satisfying malt character in the beer. Also, since my day job is working at a middle school, I giggle in my head every time I hear the word decoction. The beer has a wonderful bready and sweet caramel aroma that is truncated with a bit of herbal hoppy notes. The flavor is malt-forward with notes of toasted bread and light caramel. It drinks crisp and there is a slight effervescence that probably gets its excitement from witches reveling on a German mountaintop. However, be mindful of the 6.9% ABV that will bewitch you are you aren’t careful.

This beer is going to go fast, so make sure you get yours before it is gone. Just like springtime in Minnesota, if you wait more than a week, you might miss it! Prost!

Dan Beaubien has been involved with Beerploma since 2014 although his passion for craft beer dates back to 2006 when he started traveling for beer.  Dan mostly covers craft beer events, festivals, brewery openings/releases, and beer reviews. Dan has a soft spot in his heart for authentic British Style ales, IPAs, and all things barrel-aged.  If you have any questions or comments about this article feel free to email Dan at dan.beaubien@beerploma.com .