Maybe I’m deviating a bit from my “Marta Drinks MN” motto for a moment as I’m writing today about beer from Millstream Brewing out of Amana, Iowa. But, I was drinking it at Grumpy’s NE, so I was, in some way, still drinking MN. I’m betting Pat would back me up on this.
Having made fast friends with the guys at Clear River (our distributor), I’ve heard a lot about unique beers and other beer events happening in the area. While out with one of the reps last week, I overheard that a special firkin of a Peanut Butter and Jelly Back Road Stout from Millstream was going to be served that Friday at Grumpy’s. As it turned out, Millstream owner Theresa was going to be visiting town and Grumpy’s NE had agreed to feature several Millstream taps as the beers of the night for Friday. Making a mental note, I planned to visit Grumpy’s that Friday to try a few Millstream beers, especially this PB&J stout.
At 4pm on Friday, I headed up University to meet with Clear River and Theresa at Grumpy’s. Having this PB&J stout in my head for several days, I immediately ordered a pour, very eager to find out what it tasted like. The Back Road Stout is a regular offering from Millstream, and this was a dressed-up version for the occasion.
This beer did not disappoint. I was greated with smooth chocolate notes and a perfect hint of peanut butter, very well balanced, but what surprised me the most was the prominent raspberry flavor. For me, the raspberry really completed the beer and made it taste very much like peanut butter with raspberry jelly. With enticing flavors and a very smooth body, I had to remind myself to savor the beer, and not down it in one gulp.
The next beer after the PB&J Back Road Stout was one that I was somewhat apprehensive about, but after hearing reports from the guys, I decided to go with it. Millstream makes a witbier called John’s White Ale, but this one had been aged on Jack Daniels whiskey barrels and was cleverly named John Meets Jack. I wasn’t entirely convinced that a witbier aged on whiskey barrels would taste very good, but Theresa insisted. “We just decided to give it a try and see what happens,” she said. “And it turned out really good!”
She was right. The added dimension of whiskey gave this beer a nice boozy quality while still retaining the lighter flavors typical of a witbier, all combined in an incredibly smooth texture. Like the PB&J, this is a beer that could’ve disappeared fast. I never would have imagined that a whiskey barrel-aged witbier could taste so good, and now it’s the only thing I want to drink. Of the two beers, I think I have to say this one was my favorite… but it’s a really tough call.
It was a great evening of good beer, friends and making new friends – Theresa was a delight to talk to! If you happen to be down in Iowa, plan a detour over to Millstream and see what they’re all about. You won’t be disappointed.
Post Script – to round out my weekend, I then enjoyed a bottle of the infamous Ride the Wendigo by Clownshoes that I’d had over at The Happy Gnome along with the Chokolat by Southern Tier, both split in the good company of another craft beer fanatic. It was a beer-filled Saturday to follow Friday, but hey, that’s what weekends are for.