Our state government can be criticized for many things. But one thing they did right was to lower the entry cost of brewers and distillers to start up a business.
Once prohibitively expensive, now, artists (yes, I consider them artists) can start a small brewery or distillery and make delicious, locally made products.
One such artist had a transformative experience in 2001, when he tried his first Belgian Tripel. Kevin Welch had never tasted anything like it before.
“I couldn’t believe how many unique flavors there were,” he recalled. “They were all intricately balanced and kept evolving. I’d never tasted anything like that, and ever since then, I’ve been obsessed with Belgian beer.”
The concept of Boom Island Brewing was born, even though Welch may not have known it at the time.
The Belgian Tripel experience must have crept into Welch’s mind more than once. Eventually, he decided to do something about it. While enjoying a good tripel may be easy, producing one isn’t.
Welch decided to travel to Belgium to learn all he could. He visited 13 breweries and was allowed to brew side-by-side with the masters. While many brewers have done something similar, Welch had the brilliant idea to bring home souvenirs: Nine strains of yeast, directly from the source breweries, came back with him. These became the pillars that his brewery is built upon.
These strains give his beer the elusive authentic flavor you typically only find in the great beers from Belgium. Thanks to Welch’s foresight, we can experience these authentic flavors from a brewery right here in Minnesota.
Boom Island Brewery, in Minneapolis, is a small brewery with great beer and great family ties. Welch works on the art of beer-making while his wife, Qiuxia, supervises the business side of things. Qiuxia’s family even came from China to help with construction and fill in as needed during the early years. Now, Boom Island is a thriving brewery making awesome Belgian-styled beers.
Following the Belgian tradition, all Boom Island beers are naturally carbonated and bottle conditioned. Live yeast is added just before the beer is bottled, resulting in a fresher tasting beer with flavors that continue to evolve over time.
- Boom Island Brimstone.
Of course I have to start with the style that started it all. With a delicate balance of spicy esters, layers of light fruit notes, and a higher alcohol level than traditional beers, this is a classic Belgian-style Tripel. It finishes moderately dry with slight hop bitterness. It’s 9.5 percent ABV. Available in 750 ml bottles and draught.
- Boom Island Throprock.
The assertive hop bitterness of this Belgian-style IPA is balanced by a clear malty backbone. It finishes with the flowery, citrus flavor of West Coast hops. Its deceptive 8 percent ABV is achieved through a special Belgian fermentation process. Available in 750 ml bottles and draught.
- Boom Island Witness.
With its light, hazy blond color and fluffy white head, this is a classic Belgian-style Witbier. Slight tartness opens into a refreshing smoothness, with faint floral notes that linger on the back. Available in 11.2-ounce four-pack bottles & draught.