Saturday, September 29

Drink Globally, Brew Locally:
Hanover Wine, Spirits, and Brew Supply

Hanover Wine - Spirits - Brew Supply
On the west side of Highway 19, just past the sign that marks the Hanover city limits, sits the new destination for local homebrewers and craft beer lovers:  Hanover Wine, Spirits and Brew Supply. I've stopped by twice in the past two weeks -- first, to pick up some priming sugar after I started sanitizing bottles, then I realized my St. Paul Porter kit from Northern Brewer didn't come with any, and later to pick up some sanitizer, check out their beer selection and try pick up one their Brewer's Best kits to compare to Northern and Midwest Supplies. The Hanover shop has everything an extract brewer needs to get started and is certainly convenient for emergencies or last-minute brew sessions -- but after purchasing and brewing their Brewer's Best English Pale Ale kit today, I think I'll be a regular.

During my first visit, one of the partners who opened the shop assured me that they want to grow their brew supply business and could get anything that area homebrewers needed, including bulk all-grain supplies, at a reasonable price -- and would be happy to work with us on special orders. So as not to put them on the spot with other customers in the shop, I sent them an email afterward asking if they offered a 10% discount for members of AHA-registered clubs, like Midwest and Northern. Dan and Chadd quickly replied that they do; just bring your membership card. 

So on Friday, I picked up 32 ounces of Star San sanitizer, a Brewer's Best English Pale Ale Kit, and a six-pack of Furthermore Beer's limited-offer fall brew Fallen Apple. The down side? The prices are a little higher for ingredients and noticeably so for the sanitizer. The 32-oz bottle of Star San cost $22 after the club discount -- compared to the Northern and Midwest price of $16 before the club discount. The pale ale kit cost $39.99 ($35.99 after the discount), compared to $34.99 for a comparable beer kit from Northern and $27.49 from Midwest before the discount. 

On the flip side, gas and diesel ain't cheap, and neither is time spent in traffic. Drink globally, brew locally!

Brewer's Best English Pale Ale kit ingredients
The Brewer's Best kit from Hanover included the following:
  • 8 oz of Brewer's Best crushed caramel specialty grains, vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag;
  • 3.3 lbs of Muntons Light LME (liquid malt extract) in a can;
  • 2 lbs of Brewer's Best Light DME (dry malt extract), vacuum-sealed in plastic bags
  • 1 oz Brewer's Best Fuggle Bittering hops, vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag;
  • 3/4 oz Brewer's Best Tettnang Flavoring hops, vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag;
  • 1 oz of Brewer's Best/Hop Union aroma hops, vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag;
  • 1 packet DanStar Nottingham Ale Yeast;
  • Brewer's Best priming sugar;
  • a mesh grain bag;
  • thorough and clear brewing instructions, including tips and cautions for each step and a customizable hop/boil schedule;
  • and 60 Brewer's Best bottle caps.

With the exception of the crushed and vacuum-sealed specialty grains, these are, by and large, the same or similar ingredients you get from the other suppliers -- and the kit I received was completely self-contained, including yeast, priming sugar, and caps. Nothing missing; nothing extra to remember. Brewing this morning went relatively smoothly; if anything, I found it easier to get the LME out of a can than a jug, and the single packet of dry yeast, rehydrated, has already produced a more robust fermentation in the first several hours that any Wyeast "smack-pack" I've used. (Hanover does not yet stock Wyeast or White Labs yeast for homebrewers -- but I'm not sure I missed them today!)

If you're interested in tasting the results of my morning brew session, I'll be sharing samples in early November at Catholic Man Night. In the meantime, as I mentioned, I picked up Furthermore's Fallen Apple (a cream ale/hard cider concoction from Wisconsin that started out apply and underwhelming for me, but quickly rallied -- I wound up enjoying it very much!) and scoped out the other Furthermore brews and autumn seasonals. I used to always shop Westside in Albertville for craft beers and imports, then switched to the massive wall o' brew available at Cash Wise in St. Michael -- but Hanover has stuff (like Furthermore) that I have yet to see anyplace else. The best of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois brews, plus great beers from across the country and around the world -- check 'em out, and
support our local brew store!

1 comment:

  1. Received via email:

    Hi Jim!

    We really appreciate your review and support of our business. We are very excited to be supporting local brewers as well as those who are new to brewing. We are going to review our prices, and see if we are able to adjust them to be closer to Midwest and Northern. As always, should you need anything, give us a call, email, or stop on in!

    Thank You!

    Dan and Chadd
    Hanover Wine & Spirits