Not so long ago, we raved about the Fair State-Fulton-Oakhold collaboration beer Frontenac, hailing it as an example of how the Upper Midwest is in the process of developing a native, richly complex beer culture parallel to (and perfectly competitive with) wine culture in other parts of the world.
Here’s another link to add to that complex chain: the new Cherry Dust installment of Indeed’s remarkable Wooden Soul collection of barrel-aged sour beers.
This is not an easy beer, starting from the artful formality of its Frank Lloyd Wrightian label. This isn’t Coors Light or Premium; it’s about as complicated as a beer can get without being unfriendly. The two major flavor components of Cherry Dust are a lightly puckering astringency and a mellow but notable barnyard funk. Both of these elements support and play off of one another, and they’re both elevated by an intense carbonation that lifts, aerates, and moderates the beer’s challenging edges. The cherry aspect of Cherry Dust is tart, natural, and understated. There’s nothing aggressively sweet or cherry Popsicle about this beer.
At 5.4 percent ABV, this is a beer that you can sip effortlessly if its taste happens to be your thing; at a recent party we brought this to, we found a 3-to-3 split (along gender lines, oddly), with men digging it and women passing it up after a tentative sip or two.
This is a beer that would pair wonderfully with funkier, softer cheeses (Good Thunder or Bent River, perhaps?), and as part of a “Holy Smokes, Minnesota Beer These Days Is Amazeballs!” tasting, it would fit in just fine. Whether you’ve got room in your life for this level of complexity, however, is entirely up to you.