Whenever a subject gets popular it beckons discussion about being watered down, oversaturated, or stereotypical. Every time somebody says “oh, another craft brewery,” it’s said as if they’re all the same.
Bent Brewstillery, the only taproom is St. Paul’s northern border of Roseville, takes slight at that. Not only do they make a range of distinct beers from Nordic Blonde to Ol’ Guerrero, but they make gin, poitín, and have whiskey aging in barrels. They’re also the only operating “brewstillery” in the state, a combination brewery and distillery. Minnesota legal regulations prevent selling cocktails on site, but all their beers are available and their spirits can be found down the street in take-home fashion at The Cellars Wine & Spirits.
Bent’s line-up mixes classic and underrepresented beer styles, and also features one of the metro’s more diverse sour programs (the Funked Up series). More straight forward beers include Nordic Blonde, a light but flavorful amber-blonde with a definitive bread malt character and Moar IPA which takes a subtler approach to IPA, featuring an aromatic apricot element and lower alcohol content. On the unique twist angle comes Oatmeal Stout, a hearty stout with a big malt flavor that’s also aged on oak to give an earthy distinction amidst the thick oatmeal presence, and Über Lüpin Schwarz IPA, a resinous take on roasty, chocolatey German schwarzbier that finishes with a piney black IPA note.
Sours may be the trend today, but Bent was making them from the start. Their Funked Up series has over 20 total releases so far, both in the taproom and in bottles. Verity is on tap now, a smooth sipping summer beer. With an acidic first impression that softens on the tongue, it’s a two-year lactobacillus-aged wild ale. The brewery has an experimental bend, and there will always be something distinct on tap that separates them from other breweries.
In the spirits department, Gunner Ghost gin is untraditional, starting with the expected juniper flavor but finishing with a crisp citrus. The one of a kind poitín is a clear smoky spirit made using potato peels, based on a kind of Irish moonshine but given a higher quality twist.