In early May of this year, Samantha and I went to visit a pharmacy friend of hers in Marshall. We figured as long as we were heading out there, we couldn’t pass up the chance to visit Brau Brothers Brewing Company. This brewery was formed in 2006 and has found a home in an old Runnings Farm and Fleet supply store. That means plenty of room for the brewery, as well as a taproom serving beer, soda, and food. The taproom itself contains a bright red firetruck that pays homage to their original location in Lucan as well as the namesake of Old No. 56, an American Style Light Lager. Separating the brewery from the taproom is a large wall of glass, where you can look out on the fermenters and beautiful copper finishing tanks.
Samantha’s friend Rachelle was lucky enough to score us a private tour with one of the brewers, which turned out to be quite the experience. In addition to the the standard elements of a brewery tour, we were also given the chance to taste some in process brews out of the fermenter, as well as straight out of the barrel in their aging room. That particular beer was an experimental sour ale, with some notes of sour apple. If my initial taste was any indication of the final product, it’ll definitely be one to look out for. We also took a look into their expansive refrigeration room where we got to taste a Russian Imperial Stout aged in a bottle for several years. Ivan the Great is no longer being sold, so this was a special treat. At 9.5% ABV this was boozy to the nose, thick and creamy, with a great dark chocolate bitterness. It’ll be hard to top that tour, and I was left impressed by the scale of their operation as well as their tendency to locally source as much as they can. I even found out they grow their own hops and grains!
In addition to the beers mentioned above, I got the chance to taste a variety of their other beers on tap.
- Ring Neck Braun Ale – A dark brown color, with a creamy malt texture. Nutty, earthy, and chocolatey.
- Chamomile White Cap – One of their specialty cask brews. This had a strong chamomile aroma and taste. A golden honey color, with notes of fruit, citrus, and wheat.
- Juniper Berry Sheephead – Another experimental cask brew. Reddish brown, with a mildly bitter taste and a fruity aroma.
- 3 Leaf Clover Mint Chip Irish Stout – Rounding out the cask brews, this particular beer was brewed for St. Patrick’s day. Aroma and flavor were overpowered with mint. Poured dark black with a thick lacy head.
- Moo Joos Oatmeal Milk Stout – Poured a dark black with a full head. Roasted coffee with a dark chocolate bitterness. I like my stouts a little creamier.
- Bancreagie Peated Scotch Ale – Looks like a just got a quick taste of this one. It was faintly sour.
- Barrel & Bog – A sour aroma with a crisp, tart, sour taste. This wild ale could definitely lead to something with a little more work.
- Hopsession Pale Ale – A great final beer. Easy drinking with good mouthfeel. Floral aroma with a crisp hoppy flavor.