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For years I have been railing against the prevalence of hop fanatics in the brewing industry, and because of that generally steer clear of the proliferation of craft India pale ales and pale ales. The exception is when they are specifically labeled “British-style.” The Brits know how to brew great pale ales.
However, every once in a while I ignore myself. That was the case with this week’s beer, which was a delightful surprise to the palate. The aroma was like a blast from a big pine forest, so I braced for a hop punch in the face with my first sip. Instead I got a fruity, malty and gorgeous slug of really tasty beer.
I immediately went back for another taste and enjoyed the long-lingering flavor blast. Double yum!
This amazing American pale ale is called Stubborn Duluth from the West end Duluth brewery Ursa Minor. I was completely seduced by this exciting 5.5 percent pale ale. But what about that name? What does it mean?
The crowler that contained it included this charming explainer: “We are proud to be from the Minnesota Northland. Our summers are short, our winters are long. To thrive up here on the shores of the great Lake Superior, you’ve got to be tough and a little stubborn. We don’t complain. We love it! We have the best people, the best views, the best beer, the best biking and hiking trails, the best sunrises, the deepest history, the best outdoor playground and the most incredible communities. “We brewed his beer for you Northlanders. Cheers!”
UMB calls what they make “comfort beer.” I’d say that’s right on. Because of the time of the year, it also seemed appropriate to try Feely’s Breakfast, an Irish-style 5.7 percent stout brewed with plenty of roasted barley for that coffee-like presence that allows for the breakfast stout name. And it’s another case of shooting and scoring.
In short, there appears to be nothing minor about Ursa Minor.