Beer Club 2015— Starting off with a Bang
Beer Club devotees at Ed’s (No Name) Bar‘s monthly tasting were treated to a visit from Bang Brewing on Tuesday. Jay and Sandy Boss Febbo, who operate their small brewery in a highly customized 1300 square foot insulated grain bin in St. Paul, sell all of their beer in the state’s capital. In their taproom, which is open twice a week, and in four lucky bars in St. Paul, you’ll find their delicious, simple, clean, and all-organic brews. Having visited their brewery twice over the summer, I got to know them a little bit and was excited to learn that they were into the idea of coming down to Winona. Considering we are not in their market, and they hadn’t been a part of a tasting like this, it was a real honor to have them in town. Once they arrived, we sat and awaited our first taste.
The first beer served, Neat (all of their beers follow a four-letter naming scheme, and all are single-hop beers), a personal favorite, started us off with authority. Neat is a single hop/single malt beer, and is hopped exclusively with Summit hops, which are tricky to use due to their potency. This beer has a clean, sharp bite, and a finish that doesn’t stick around any longer than it takes to take another sip. Its modest ABV doesn’t impede its rich flavor and high, but smooth bitterness.
The next two beers, Minn and Nice, which came in at 4.6% and 6.5% ABV respectively, were mentioned as their ingredients for their take on a black and tan. Minn features the bright Cascade hops with low bitterness and a lovely citrus punch, while Nice is an all-Chinook hopped Cascadian Dark Ale. Chinook has a great spiciness to it that works well with darker malts, and this did not disappoint. The fourth beer, Good, is a 4.2%ABV beer showcasing Liberty hops. Easy drinking and bright. Having had these four up at their taproom, I was excited to learn that there would be two more samples which I had not yet tried.
Time, which is a strong, malty brown ale using Nugget hops, was an unexpected treat. The rich yet subtle caramel flavors, hearty malt backbone, and smooth mouthfeel ensured this sample did not last long. Finally, we were treated to Loop, a session stout that was in the running for my favorite beer of the night. Small stouts can pack in a ton of flavor without being heavy or chewy, and this one nailed it. A perfectly smooth ending to a great tasting.
One of my favorite things about Bang, in addition to how fun Jay and Sandy are, and how wonderful their beers are, is how their goal is simple. They want to be the best neighborhood brewery in St. Paul. They’re not concerned with the next expansion or breaking into new markets. They simply want to make well-made beer with tons of flavor that isn’t bogged down by a ton of ingredients or adjuncts. To me, as a homebrewer, I find their beer and their story very inspiring.
A huge thanks to Jay and Sandy for sharing their creations with us. Also, thanks to Mike Munson for his work on keeping this on Bang’s busy schedule, Nate and the staff at Ed’s for a great evening. A visit to their unique and lovely taproom should be on any beer lover’s list. Bang Brewing is open from 4-10PM on Friday, and 2-8PM on Saturday, and is located at 2320 Capp Road in Saint Paul. Their beers are also available at the Ngon Bistro, The Dubliner, Amsterdam Bar, and Muddy Pig. Visit them online as well.