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Summit Unchained #12: 100% Organic Ale Taste-Test


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I like what Summit Brewing's Unchained series says about the company: it's committed to experimenting and developing beers outside of the mainstream. Summit has been brewing these limited-edition beers every few months since 2009, and they've just debuted #12: 100% Organic Ale.

The new brew is Minnesota's first 100% certified organic beer, a labeling which was certainly no small feat to achieve in terms of sourcing ingredients. (Apparently organic yeast is so hard to come by that brewer Gabe Smoley worked with Summit's microbiologist—who knew that breweries employed microbiologists?—to create their own organic yeast strain.) So from a philosophical/environmental standpoint, props to Summit for putting extra resources into developing this beer when it's unlikely that those costs would be recouped through any premium consumers might pay for the organic certification.

Additionally, props to Summit for creating an interesting, drinkable beer. Summit sent me a six-pack to sample and the new beer reminded me of a warm-weather version of Summit's classic EPA: There's plenty of bitter hop bite (60 IBU), but the beer also has a softer, yeast-y sweetness, almost as if EPA had been blended with a Belgian. At 4.5% AVB, it seems like something perfect for the first days of patio season, which can't get here soon enough...

100% Organic Ale launch events begin next week:

  • March 11: Release party – Butcher & The Boar beer garden, Minneapolis, 5-8 p.m.
  • March 13: Meet the brewer – Brasa St. Paul, 6-8 p.m.; Brasa St. Paul and Minneapolis will also feature Unchained 12 food pairings from 5-9 p.m.
  • March 14: “Hoppy Meals” pairings – Republic Uptown, 4-6 p.m.; Republic Seven Corners, 7-9 p.m.
  • March 15: Firkin Friday with Organic Ale cask – Grumpy’s NE, 4 p.m.
  • March 21: Meet Gabe and sample Organic Ale – Four Firkins, 6-8 p.m.
  • March 28: Flight Night at Ginger Hop featuring Organic Ale. Flights include four Summit beers total.
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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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