Sunday, March 25, 2012

OR vs MN Battle: Farmhouse and Pils

Ever since The Commons opened their doors and had Urban Farmhouse Ale on tap we've wondered how closely it compares to Stillwater, MN-based Lift Bridge Brewing Co.'s Farm Girl. The Commons' version certainly reminded our taste buds of Farm Girl. But as anyone who has a fond memory of a beer, memory is a fickle thing. Possibly considerably more fickle if a few more of the strong brain cells have died off in the intervening time instead of the weak ones we were trying to kill.

Knowing that Farm Girl was available in 12 oz bottles, we set out to obtain some via the kindness of a friend back in the land of 10,000 lakes. Earlier this week two bottles of Farm Girl arrived (along with a host of other goodies that I may or may not tease you with at some later time). With the first hurdle behind us, a trip to The Commons was in order to obtain a "sample." And it just so happened that there was a bottle release happening this weekend, which required a visit making for perfect timing.

In addition to a desire to compare the farmhouse ales, The Commons also recently put on tap a Pils, one of Mag's favorite session styles. As luck (or requesting) would have it, one of his favorite examples of the style, Schell's Pils, was also in that beer box. With a bottle of Lift Bridge Farm Girl, a bottle of Schell's Pils and a Ball jar each of The Commons Urban Farmhouse Ale and Pils in hand, it was time to commence the battle.

Round #1: Farmhouse
The two beers were strikingly similar in appearance with The Commons' version giving off a bit more banana aroma. Upon tasting the Lift Bridge version was a bit sweeter with slightly more carbonation, and a tad maltier or maybe simply a tad more subtle. Either way we agreed, with neither of us being bit farmhouse fans, that Farm Girl was more drinkable.

Round #2: Pils
Here the appearance was more distinctive, with the Schell's version being crystal clear and The Commons' version taking on a slightly cloudy tinge. We agreed that The Commons Pils had a bit of honey flavor but when it came down to which we preferred it was a split decision. Mag stood by his "man", preferring Schell's and I favored The Commons as I found it to be more full flavored.

If nothing else, it was an interesting experiment, at least for the two of us. Should you have the opportunity to compare a familiar beer with a "new" beer of the same style, I'd highly encourage it. If in fact you've conducted a similar experiment I'd love to hear what beers you compared and what the results were.

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