Within the craft beer craze, breweries have to go to great lengths to stand out and put forth their individuality.
Tin Whiskers Brewing Company in St. Paul epitomizes this well. The brewery takes quite the alternative approach to brewing beer. With electrical engineering backgrounds, the founders of Tin Whiskers employ scientific methods to manufacture creative crafts that use unconventional ingredients. We sampled Tin Whiskers’ Wheat Stone Bridge, an American Wheat Ale.
Everything about Tin Whiskers connects to the scientific backgrounds of the founders, from having circuit board flight holders to the name of the brewery itself, which is a term for the cause for a short circuit on a circuit board.
Part of the scientific appeal of Tin Whiskers is that their beer is both unfiltered and unpasteurized. The result of this is that the yeast involved in the brewing process is “alive,” meaning that even after bottling and canning, the yeast is growing and evolving, which increases the flavors of the beer. However, with their beer being brewed this way, they must be consumed quicker than most beers.
The Wheat Ale style originally comes from Germany, backed in the region’s popular Hefeweizen tradition. The beer made its way to America but the rise of prohibition ruined the style’s popularity in the states. Since the repeal of prohibition, the wheat beer style has made a comeback and has taken on its own American traits.
The American Wheat Ale tends to be more hoppy than its German counterparts. Tin Whiskers adds to the flavor by using an American Pale Malt with a White Wheat Malt to add more distinct flavors. American style wheats can tend to be more on the dry side.
Now, to the beer itself. The Wheat Stone Bridge has an inviting golden color when poured. The smell is somewhat fruity with malty overtones. Tin Whiskers incorporates honey and chamomile tea into this brew, two ingredients that normally do not make their way into beers. This was the point in our review that lead us to disagree on the beer.
Joe: I found the beer to be incredibly smooth and it left a refreshing aftertaste. Those same fruity notes that were detected in the scent can be tasted as well. The inclusion of the chamomile tea adds to the flavor complexity and more importantly provides that smoothness. I think it pairs nicely with the malty notes and makes the beer more refreshing than a normal Wheat Ale. I think this beer offers a taste that both conventional Wheat Ale drinkers will like, as well as something for those who favor something with more fruity and floral notes.
Kyle: While the beer has a nice golden hazy color and pours quite nicely, I struggled to find any good flavors in the beer. I understand that the brewery uses the unique combination of the wheat malts and the chamomile tea to set themselves apart, but I found no enjoyment in the flavor. I found it to be a very off-putting flavor combination and would not recommend the beer. I must admit that I am generally not a big wheat beer fan but this beer is worse than usual in my opinion. I do like the brewery and I look forward to trying a different beer of theirs as long as it does not involve chamomile tea and honey.
We are usually fairly close in our beer tastes, but this week we differ in our reviews of Tin Whiskers’ Wheat Stone Bridge. While we may disagree about the beer itself, we are in agreement in saying that Tin Whiskers uses a creative approach to make their beers. It is not often that electrical engineers turn into brewers and they still use their technical background to craft innovative beers. While the review may not have been wholly positive, we both enjoyed trying something new and learning about a new brewery which is what the Brew Log is all about. Give it a shot and see what you think, and remember to drink responsibly.