The Heavy Table Hot Five: Dec. 19-25

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Each Friday afternoon, this list will track five of the best things Heavy Table’s writers, editors, and photographers have recently bitten or sipped. Have a suggestion for the Hot Five? Email editor@heavytable.com.

Joshua Page / Heavy Table

Joshua Page / Heavy Table

1-new - oneArctic Char roll at Kyatchi

Kyatchi’s Arctic char roll features shiso leaf, pickled gourd, inari, avocado, and fresh lemon juice. It’s an awesome blend of flavors and textures: sweet, savory, velvety, crunchy. It’s simple; it’s complex; it’s delicious.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Contributed by Joshua Page]

 

Liz Scholz / Heavy Table

Liz Scholz / Heavy Table

2-new - twoMandarina Kellerpils (Lager) at Fair State Brewing Cooperative

The Mandarina Kellerpils from Fair State Brewing Cooperative is an experimental lager in that it’s dry-hopped with citrus-forward notes. Heavier mouthfeel than your average lager, this variation on the Pilse (which was also released this week) has bright hop notes throughout, and especially in the finish.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Contributed by Liz Scholz]
Ted Held / Heavy Table

Ted Held / Heavy Table

3-new - threePanettone at Patisserie 46

Available only during the holiday season, each orange-spiked brioche is baked in its own 6″ paper dish. Ringed with chocolate and topped with streusel, toasted almonds, and powdered sugar, it’s the perfect treat for a wintery weekend brunch.
[Last Week on the Hot Five: #1 | Contributed by Ted Held]
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

4-new fourThe Mother Board at Gyst Fermentation Bar

The team over at Gyst Fermentation Bar is curating some tremendous meat, cheese, pickled veggies, chocolate, and more. To get an of-the-moment sample of their craft, order the Mother Board for $45 (or the half Mother for $22.50, which is perfect for a table of two). Among the flavors are artisan cheeses from around the country (and world), meats (likely including something from Red Table Meat Company).
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Contributed by James Norton]
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

5-new -fiveCacao Bender by Surly Brewing Company

Surly’s ever-changing Bender flavoring program hit a high note with this year’s release of Cacao Bender, which features vanilla beans, cacao nibs, and coffee. It’s a smooth, subtle, rich way to celebrate the opening of the brewery’s new destination complex.
[Debuting on the Hot Five | Contributed by Becca Dilley]


Farms in the Lens: Redhead Creamery

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

About the Farms in the Lens series: Much of what we write within these pages is focused on the restaurants of Minneapolis and St. Paul. But much of what we eat at those tables comes from farms around the state. With underwriting from Clancey’s Meats and Fish, we’ve set out to document a half dozen of these farms, focusing on the relationship between humans and animals.

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Redhead Creamery is run by Alise Sjostrom and her husband Lucas alongside her parents’ dairy farm, Jer-Lindy Farms. It was founded this year with assistance from a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $41,495 — more than $6,000 beyond its initial goal.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

The founders of Jer-Lindy Farms are Jerry and Linda Jennissen. They grew up on dairy farms and met at a calf show when they were children.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Many years later, they married. They started their own farm (in Brooten, Minn.) in 1983.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

“It is amazing to be on a farm that my parents basically built from scratch,” says Alise.



A Quick Guide to the Beer at Surly’s Destination Taproom

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Today marks the opening of the Surly Beer Hall at 520 Malcolm Avenue SE, Minneapolis. The “destination brewery” (think “brewery + taproom + restaurant + event space”) is sparkling in anticipation of the crowds … except perhaps for the stainless steel bar tops, which are already scratched, and the eager yet bleary-eyed staff, who are continuously tidying and mopping up after the barrage of media visitors. The German beer-garden-style long wooden tables are ready to be sat at, and the smoker’s outpost is ready to be utilized. Don’t forget to wear your black.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Food and beer will be served in the massive beer hall. An upstairs area, where the restaurant will eventually be, will for now serve as overflow space in which to mill about, beer in hand. The menu itself (see below), while quite robust for a beer hall, is still a bit of a wild card. Some of the items have already been modified or replaced in the lead-up to the opening. The complexity of dishes like scallops with cippolini, guanciale ragu, farro, and sumac cracklins might result in a stuttering start.



The Local Craft Spirits Holiday Cocktail Laboratory

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

The Upper Midwestern distilling scene is surging with a joyous volatility. Local spirits are following in the footsteps of craft beer — every month seems to bring a new opening, a new release, and a new announcement of a distillery to come.

We wanted to try to get our heads (and palates) around some of what was going on, and so we reached out to a group of local craft distillers with a simple question: Would you support our efforts to gather together a great deal of local alcohol, drink it, and then mix it, and then drink it some more? They said yes and underwrote this story.

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

11 Wells, Du Nord Spirits, Far North Spirits, and Vikre each supplied a couple bottles of spirits in addition to their financial support. We also went out and bought a number of bottles from other distilleries to supplement our bar. We don’t claim that this tasting represents everything going on in the scene — it doesn’t — but it’s a nice wide swath. Future cocktail laboratories will weave in flavors from other local spirits, so please stay tuned.

cocktail-lab-underwriters-logosOur tasting and cocktail creation team was headed by bartender Adam Gorski of La Belle Vie (below, center); Heavy Table / Growler writer John Garland (bottom right) brought additional firepower to the table. Writers James Norton (bottom left) and Maja Ingeman (top right) tossed in their two cents and drinks ideas, as did photographer Becca Dilley (top left). Photographer Katie Cannon documented the process.

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Our team tasted all twelve spirits in the bar straight and assembled tasting notes. After that, all hell broke loose. We mixed with fruit, with bitters, with juice, with other spirits, with soda, and with whatever else we could get our hands on. A lot of what we mixed got poured directly into a bucket, but some of it was salvageable, so salvage we did.

We’re pleased to present you with two fruits of our besotted evening together. The first is a collection of tasting notes from the dozen local spirits we sampled. The second is a collection of seven original cocktail recipes by Adam Gorski (who created four of them), John Garland (two), and James Norton (one).

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

The logistics of our event — five people, twelve spirits, unlimited sipping, sampling, and mixing — were such that we wanted to make sure everyone got to and from our cocktail lab safely and responsibly. We reached out to Uber, and they arranged rides for our team members. We’re grateful for that. It made the whole night as smooth as a craft vodka.

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Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

And without further ado, a massive taste of local spirits.

TASTING NOTES

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

11 Wells Spirits | Maelstrom Agricole Rum
The classic sugar-cane juice base of this Caribbean-by-way-of-Minnesota spirit gives it a cheerful vanilla-caramel character, without the grassy and / or vegetal notes that sometimes creep into this style of rum. Maelstrom Agricole would perform admirably in just about any classic Tiki drink. One of our tasters praised it for “an almost wasabi-like nasal burn (in a good way).”

11 Wells Spirits | Rye
The arcane and dizzyingly detailed numbers on the side of each bottle of 11 Wells prototype rye refer to everything from the char level to the cooperage to the yeast type to the mash bill of the spirit. The depth of knowledge conveyed is impressive; it also looks wicked cool. We dug this “mellow,” “tannic,” “soapy,” “gentle,” spirit, which also boasted a bit of low-key apple character. A longer aging period might pump up the intensity a bit.



On the Discovery of Pork Shoulder Porchetta

Becca Dilley / Minnesota Lunch

Becca Dilley / Minnesota Lunch

Congratulations to Melissa Clark of the New York Times for personally discovering that you can make a simpler variant of Italian porchetta using a pork shoulder. It is exciting to hear that this dish is now enjoyed exclusively in a small section of Brownstone Brooklyn. She may be pleased and mortified in equal proportions to hear that time-traveling Italian immigrants from Minnesota’s Iron Range have stolen her recipe and turned it into a widely-known staple of North Country cuisine since the early part of the 20th Century.