Fitger’s Brewhouse - Framboise

Any chance I get to hit Duluth, I’ll take.  It doesn’t happen very often, especially with the overwhelming number of events and things going on around town lately.  But when Prof announced a show at Pizza Luce (they had Hopslam on tap!!), the other half and I knew it would be a great little getaway.  Well, she did the arm pulling, but it didn’t take too much.

In any case, the gem of Duluth, without a question, is Fitger’s Brewhouse.  My first taste of anything they did (I know, I slept on them for way, way too long) was at the Autumn Brew Review this past fall.  It was an Apricot Wheat, and it was love at first quaff.  Luckily, Yaisha is incredibly giving, and she graciously agreed to make a stop there before we went to the show.  I could do an entire posting on this wonderful brewpub, but I’ll keep it focused on a very special beer — their Framboise (pronounced fram-bwah).

The aroma predominantly carries the barnyard funk, typical of the Brettanomyces yeast (which makes a sour beer taste “sour” or tart), but I did pick up a hint of honey as well.  The raspberry quality was subtle, nowhere near being buried, but it was there.  The color is a very deep shade of a reddish amber and had just a hint of foam capping it off.

But the taste…  Absolutely incredible.  Despite the tart qualities, it also has a very bright character that I wasn’t expecting out of a Framboise.  The three-year aging time has done wonders for mellowing it out and making it into a very smooth mixture of bitter and tart with fruity sweet.  The 6.4% ABV is well-hidden, seemingly nonexistent.

As my lady put it, Fitger’s Framboise is “like a delicious fruity soda pop mixed with wine and a sour cherry on top.”

Even though we got to try nearly every beer they had on tap (it’s worth noting that their chili-infused ale, the Wildfire, had me sweating like R. Kelly at the Kid’s Choice Awards, and I can handle heat), this one is easily the highlight.  I can honestly say that, while completely different than the head brewer’s brother’s Town Hall Brewery, Fitger’s beers are the best in state, if not the entire upper Midwest region, has to offer.

Now if only I didn’t live two hours away…