Castle Danger Brewery: Past Meets Present And You Get To Drink Beer
The story of beer is the story of America. Our country began as a nation of small brewers, and countless colonists brewed their own on the farm or at home. During the years after World War 2, large industrial breweries displaced most of their smaller rivals. But over the past ten years, microbreweries have exploded again, bringing a resurgence in both small-time entrepreneurship and creative flavors.
Castle Danger is a new brewery just over ten minutes from Larsmont. The big red building by the lake is definitely a place for work—the sweet-sour smells of yeast and malt waft out and trucks bring barrels out of the warehouse. In front, the taproom is a relaxed place to sample local flavors, with hardwood ceilings and exposed hanging lights. The sign hanging over the bar—a 10 foot by four foot slice of a tree emblazoned with the brewery’s logo and “dangerously good ales”—is striking, but the flavors even more so.
While some beers stay year round, most of the selections change seasonally. On a recent visit, there were several beers that stood out as notable:
Nordic (Juniper-Rye Lager, 5.5% ABV)
This was our first holiday beer, brewed in 2011. It is our take on a traditional Finnish beer called Sahti, which is brewed with juniper berries and rye. Clint took our original lager recipe and brewed it with juniper and rye to give it a great twist, which was so popular that it has become a spring seasonal.
Gentleman George Hunter (Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout, 8.7%. This beer is named after the brewer’s grandpa!)
Bourbon barrel-aged George Hunter Stout, aged for 8 months in Jack Daniel barrels. Flavors & aromas of molasses, licorice, maple, coffee & cream enhanced with bourbon, oak and vanilla. Served on nitro to add an extra creamy body.
Sommelier George Hunter (Red Wine Barrel-Aged Stout, 10.6%)
A special release of our Big Dumb Stout, Sommelier George has been aging in red and white wine barrels for six months. Aromas of raisins, dark fruit, red wine and dark roasted malts are echoed in the flavor along with hints of vanilla, oak, coffee and chocolate. Sommelier George Hunter Stout is opaque black, deep and resonate – a fine beer worth sipping on a cold winter’s night.
Summer Crush (Summer Ale, 4.7% ABV)
Summer Crush is a beer brewed just for summer. It has a pleasant lemon flavor and aroma from using Sorachi Ace hops, which is a defining characteristic of this Japanese hop variety. The malted barley lends a slightly sweet, biscuity backbone. Summer crush is a sessionable beer, and our take on a shandy without being one. Like a summer crush back in the day, or Minnesota’s short summer season, this beer won’t beer around for very long. Enjoy it while you can!
The taproom doesn’t sell food directly (except chips and salsa) but does one better—it allows outside food and has menus on hand for the many nearby restaurants that deliver to the taproom or are open for pickup. Rather than negotiate with the family for a restaurant everyone likes, you can have a bacon cheeseburger and fries while your teenager has a gluten-free vegan salad or whatever she’s into these days. This is a family-friendly taproom owned by a husband and wife team, so feel free to bring the kids.
Castle Danger taps into an old tradition, but is looking towards the future. It’s a worthwhile place to stop and get a growler as you enjoy the North Shore.
Meet the Castle Danger Brewers at Hopped Up Caribou
July 8-9, 2016 at Caribou Highlands Lodge in Lutsen
Beer lovers, meet your makers! The 2016 Hopped Up Caribou Beer Fest features homegrown brewing heroes, live music, chef-prepared barbecue and the chance to save the world… one glass at a time! Make no mistake, this is the northernmost beer festival in the state, and at an elevation of 1300 feet above sea level. Outdoor. Summer. Mountainside. Under a big top.
Learn more about the Weekend Packages