Northbound Smokehouse's Bridge Hanger offers a break from light summer beers

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If you're looking for a break from the light beers of summer barbecues, look no further than Bridge Hanger, a Belgian dark strong ale from Northbound Smokehouse Brewpub in Minneapolis. The beer is part of a limited batch but head brewer Jamie Robinson expects to have it on tap at least through the week, with a return later in the fall and winter in an aged version.

See also:
Beer of the Week: Northbound Smokehouse's doppelbock

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Loren Green

Bridge Hanger is an aromatic beer with hints of cinnamon, coriander, and roasted malts. It's a clear pour, filtered and brown in color. The roasted malts give the beer a sweeter impression than a golden Belgian ale, but like the golden, spice is a driving force behind this beer. It's light in body and smooth and soft on the mouth with a deceptively high alcohol content.

"The beer is very flavorful," Robinson says. "You get a spiciness from the yeast, rich sweetness from a Chilean specialty malt, and it finishes with a little heat from the 9.3% ABV. It almost has to be treated like a wine, so probably the best menu item to pair with it is the Smokehouse Platter with the smoked fish and cheese."

As the beer is set to return in fall and winter, which seems more suited to its style, we asked Robinson why Northbound Smokehouse was featuring the beer in August.

"I don't think this beer fits summer that well, but it is a nice break from all of the light summer offerings," he says. "This beer was brewed for two reasons: One, I wanted to brew a saison, and it's more cost effective to use a special yeast at least twice; two, I think this beer has a chance to win a medal at the Great American Beer Festival, and the entries are due near the end of this month."

Bridge Hanger is available only at Northbound Smokehouse Brewpub. When the beer re-appears later this year, Robinson expects the alcohol heat to reduce while the malts and yeasts balance a bit more.

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