Sunday, February 20, 2011

Brewery Review: Galena Brewing Company - Galena, IL

The rational for being all the way out in Galena goes something like this: My mother currently has a prospective house out there and had been recently making a couple trips out to check in to it. She found the brewery and brought back several bottles for me to try during fall break. Then, About 4 weeks ago we had an indoor track meet at Dubuque University. Being as it was so close, I finished my race and we took off to check it out. I got a brewery tour and had lunch. Unfortunately it left little time to actually get some notes down. Fast forward 4 weeks, and I finally made it over here again (after another track meet at DU) to get the notes I needed on the beer. My apology to Sean.

Farmer's Cream Ale - Pale straw color with a lurking haze. Some pungency at the finish, a bit grainy. Tastes predominantly of hay or straw. Not creamy in the respect of a Wexford, but a bubbly texture that progressively strengthens on into the back of the throat in a rush of froth
Fevre River Hefeweizen - Slightly more yellowed than the cream ale. Sweet clove spicing with a very strong banana character. Honeyed. Wheat citrus and grainy. I find it quite similar to Two Brother's Ebel Weiss
Miner's Treasure Amber - Amber color. Darker and no visible head. Mild caramel and toasted malt. More sweet and very complex. Some elements of toffee complemented with pumpernickel spice and breadiness.
Annabelle's IPA - Lighter in color than above. Maintain foam ring and has a chill haze look.  Grapefruit, pine aroma.  Still grainy.  Citrus, not tropical but mostly juniper.  Still strong toasty malt presence.  Caramel resin flavor with a dry grassy finish. Slightly soapy flavor detected. 
Uly's Dark Oatmeal Stout - Black/brown color.  Still some light gets through on the edges.  Roasty and smooth.  Notes of dark chocolate.  Sweet flavor.  Hop presence noted in the finish.  Similar to the hops in the IPA.  Lighter side of a stout
DunkelweizenBock - Hazy brown, bronze color.  Bubbly head.  Lagered and crisp but smooth and sweet.  Fermented with a Belgian/Saison yeast.  Bubbly mouthfeel.  Carmeled malt.
Yuletide - Brown/coppered color with a ruby tint.  Smooth sweet start phenols and the alcohol blossoms at the finish.  Aroma is smooth, smells of dark fruit.  Some spicing at the finish reminiscent of ginger and nutmeg.
Cherry Saison - Creamy filmed head. Amber Ruby color. Crisp and Belgium smelling. Tart midtaste ends on a crisp spicy note that both complement themselves perfectly. Cherries are anything but dominating, leaving a true Belgian flavor to the beer. Very refreshing.

The Brewery is located along Galena's famous shopping street, though more to the South/east end. Upon entry you are welcomed by a small gift shop to the left and ahead stands the mash/kettle and lauter tun behind the bar, almost thrown-like. The one room brewpub is enormously spacy with wooden floors, tables and chairs. Rafters remain prominant, but complement the setting. The fermenters also are part of the appearance standing in the corner behind windows. The bar takes center. I found the brewpub to be less homely and more sports bar oriented. There are TVs making it an ideal location for watching games (if you go for that). A chalkboard menu lets you know the ever rotating seasonal beer menu (of which they have several going at a time, a definite plus). Food is good, but a poor eatery for vegetarians who are limited to a few tapas, a soup or two, and their flat bread option. On my two visits I first ordered the Flatbread with sun dried tomato's and mushrooms which was decent, but the crust was extremely buttery. This second time I got the Carrot soup, which was actually fantastic, creamy and flavorful. Tasting flights are a little on the expensive side, requiring up to 11$ for a sample of 7, but still balanced by their 4 Oz glasses. The brewpub can be noisy at times, and gets especially busy on Saturday afternoons. Nevertheless one of the best perks is the hourly brewery tours given by Sean Carter (brewer) who does a great 30 minute tour, complete with general logistics and the science of the complete process of making beer. They also have several beers in bottles and fully labeled to be purchased from the brewery and I suspect, in the local area.
Check them out:

Brewery Review: 44/50

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