Editor’s note: this is the third installment in the monthly What’ll You Have? series. The second one ran last month.
You know what I’ve been drinking frequently in recent days (responsibly and in variable moderation, of course)? Sweet Child of Vine IPA from Fulton Brewing in Minneapolis, which is a lovely, balanced India pale ale. It is slightly sweet at times, but as Fulton’s website denotes, ‘Sweet Child has a serious malt backbone to stand up to all those hops’. That malt element definitely takes the edge off and establishes the greatness of this particular beer. Fulton Brewing came about as a result of four guys brewing in a Minneapolis garage and hoping for big things. They started homebrewing in 2006 and by 2009 they had a contract to brew their beer at Sand Creek Brewing Company in Black River Falls, Wisconsin. By 2011, they were able to open the first brewery in downtown Minneapolis (at least the first one anyone can remember), in the Warehouse District. Part of their success in the new location is attributed to the so-called ‘Surly bill’, named after another Minnesota beermaker, Surly Brewing Company. The ‘Surly bill’ changed the antiquated Minnesota liquor laws that prevented brewers from selling their beer on brewery premises. These developments have paved the way for a new tide of craft brewing in Minnesota.
Sweet Child of Vine appears to only currently be available in the Twin Cities area. Fulton has four staple beers and then creates experimental or limited-edition beers as well. If nothing else, Brewers fans can try it out when the Brew Crew takes on the Twins in late May. If you’ve never visited Target Field, make sure to come on over. Fulton’s brewery and tap room is basically across the street from Target Field. Sweet Child of Vine is just an exceptionally sessionable, wonderfully tasty IPA, and it’s really the simplicity and elegance of its components that shine through. It’s got a sort of crimson color to it and is neither too light nor too heavy. It’s almost like an introductory IPA, but an exceedingly good one at that. I have also had Fulton’s Blonde, which is too mild for my taste, and their Russian Imperial Stout, which is very good. For me, Fulton’s backbone is Sweet Child and if it weren’t for that beautiful IPA, there’d be something missing in the Minneapolis beer scene. Hopefully Wisconsin-based IPA-lovers will get a chance to try it out soon.