This week we bring you the final Brew Log of the year. We have enjoyed having the chance to share some new beers with you and hope that you have gained a deeper appreciation for craft beer.
With our final review we are highlighting the brewery and the beer that is widely revered in Minnesota as starting the craft beer movement in the state: The Summit Brewing Company Extra Pale Ale.
Mark Stutrud started Summit in 1986 out of his love for beer and named the brewery after the iconic St. Paul street. Craft brewing was not a movement during the 1980s and Summit became pioneers of creating new beers. The Extra Pale Ale was one of the two beers that were first produced by Summit. In 1988, Summit experimented with brewing a blonde ale, the first of its kind in Minnesota.
After growing in popularity, Summit purchased copper brewing materials from a brewery in Bavaria in 1995. This harkens back to Summit’s desire to be more in touch with the foundation of German style beer. In 1996, Summit broke ground on their current brewhouse, a parcel of land that they bought for just $1. The land was the site of an old Texaco refinery site and the soil had some levels of contamination. Summit bought the land but had to clean up the soil, which they did. As a result, the Summit brewery was the first brewery built from the ground up since prohibition.
Now to the beer itself, the Extra Pale Ale. This beer won the 2010 World Beer Cup gold medal in the Classic English-Style Pale Ale category. This beer has been referenced among many Minnesotan brewery circles as being the beer that inspired future breweries. The Extra Pale Ale pours with a deep golden color. It has a nice citrusy aroma with mild malty notes. It has a remarkably smooth taste with a malty aftertaste as well. This beer can be described as a slightly more malty version of an India Pale Ale (IPA). There are notes of hops when first sipped and it lingers throughout.
Overall, from start to finish this is an extremely tasty, smooth and enjoyable beer.
Pale Ales have a rich history that can be traced back to England in the 1640s. Before that time, English brewers used wood and peat fires to roast malt that gave off a smoky flavor and dark color. In the 1640s they began to use coke to roast their malts. Coke is a fossil fuel that can be derived from coal just as charcoal can be created from wood. The use of coke in the roasting process led to a lighter variety of malt coining the term ‘pale ale.’ The use of this roasted malt and the generous addition of hops helped English beers survive the trip to English colonies such as India. These strong hoppy beers became very popular and have taken off since then.
Overall, this is a very drinkable ale that doesn’t lack in flavor. You get the best of a brown ale crossed with an IPA and this makes for a beer that is easy to pick up time and time again. The Extra Pale Ale is one of Summit’s flagship beers and can easily be found at a local bar or liquor store. You may even find it at our local Brother Willie’s Pub.
Thanks to everyone who has enjoyed the Brew Log with us. We appreciated having the opportunity to share our love of beer with you and we hoped that you learned something along the way. Sláinte and cheers to all.