The Art of Aging Bottles of Boom: Resist Temptation


Over the last several months I’ve heard a number of people admit that they don’t possess the will power to age their bottles of Boom Island beer for any length of time.  They just can’t resist the lure, and allure, of those beautiful 750ml bottles of ambrosia.  To make the task even more difficult, the taproom has bottles available of Yule 2014, Yule 2015, Triple Brett and Cuvée de Boom in corked and caged 750’s.  All of these beers are special, limited and not readily available anywhere else in town.


© Heather Hanson Photography LLC

My sales pitch, which many of you have heard, goes something like: “Buy a couple bottles (of the Yule for example). Drink one when you get home and put the other in your cellar or basement and bust it out on Christmas Eve.  It continues to ferment in the bottle and gets more complex and delicious with each passing month.  Don’t feel compelled to share it with your family and friends when they show interest.”

Most chuckle and think it’s a good idea but some still can’t resist the temptation.  The bottles never make it to that special occasion.  Here is the idea of the day:  Buy a couple bottles.  When you get home force yourself to wrap them in any form of giftwrap you have on hand.  Next dig out your holiday decorations and bury the wrapped bottles in the bottom of a box and cover it with other boxes.  Out of sight, out of mind.

When the holiday boxes come out down the line, the bottles will emerge.  Drink them then stop by the taproom or your favorite store and buy some bottles of the Yule 2016.  After the holiday, put the bottles in the boxes and put them away for the year.  Put it out of your mind.  Next Christmas you have one-year-old bottles waiting for you, much to your surprise and delight.  Drink them up or use as a prepaid gift option.

Way to go.  You are now a pillar of self-control.

© Heather Hanson Photography LLC




NYE Pre-Party with Cuvée de Boom

Dec. 31 4-9PM

Get yourself properly prepared for your New Year’s Eve countdown parties.cuvee_largeHave plans already for New Year’s Eve?  Keep them.  Just come to Boom Island first for a bracing glass of Cuvée de Boom!

  • Cuvee de Boom tapping at 4PM. Cuvée de Boom is a delicious mix of 45% Pinot Grigio grapes and 55% of a Belgian Blond ale.  At 10% ABV, and 0 IBU’s, dry champagne-beer, without all those bubbles that tickle your nose.  Cuvée de Boom will not appear again until Boom Days 2016 in July.  
  • Happy Hour 4-6PM. Only $3 for full pours of non taproom exclusive beers.  First glass of Cuvée for happy hour price to anyone wearing a Cuvée de Boom t-shirt.
  • Since we close at 9PM, we will help you usher in 2016 in style and get some glow sticks, noise makers and party hats, so you will be prepared at your next destination when the ball drops at midnight.
  • $10 Growler 4-9PM.

From the Brewer: 2015 Yule


It is about tradition… not style.

Christmas beer is a long standing tradition among breweries large and small in that wonderfully quirky little country. A tradition that is, rather than a style, in a country where beer is taken as seriously as its fine cuisine.

In the town of Essen near Antwerp in the North, there is even a special beer festival held annually specifically to showcase the beers brewed for the holiday season. In 2014, over 190 holiday beers were represented at that festival. As I mentioned before, this type of beer is a tradition rather than a style. Some are dark, some are blond. ABV can range from 7% to well above 10%. One interesting side fact…the famous Trappist brewery Chimay once brewed a Christmas beer. After its initial release, it was in such demand that the monastery decided to make it available year round so they gave it a new name so today we know it as Grand Reserve (the one with the Blue Label).

Although the tradition of the holiday brew does not dictate any necessary recipe guidelines, there are some general tendencies. The majority tend to be higher in alcohol. They tend to be darker. Many have holiday type spices and some have fruit.

In effort to showcase the tradition, our Yule has many of these qualities. It is rich and dark. I have always used holiday spices, but very lightly so. To acknowledge the fact that there is a wide spectrum of interpretation in recipe formulation, I have changed the fruit from year to year. Our first Yule was in 2012 and was made with tart cherries. In 2013 I used Italian plums and 2014 was fermented with black current which gave a nicely tart edge to the big, dark and bold 13% ABV beer.

That brings us up to this year, 2015 Yule. The story begins with a word or two on cellaring. Most beer is intended to be consumed fresh. Filtered and artificially carbonated beers are very vulnerable to oxidation, which is exposed to the liquid at bottling time. I am a passionate advocate for one particular element in the Belgian tradition of brewing and that is 100% natural, re-fermentation in the bottle. This means that at bottling time, a little bit of fermentable sugar is added to the beer allowing the yeast in the unfiltered beer to undergo a final fermentation in the bottle, once the bottle is sealed. Belgian brewers refer to it as “Living Beer”. The advantage is that this process consumes the oxygen in the headspace of the bottle making beer inside very shelf-stable.  The beer is now able to mature just like fine wine and without risk of oxidation.

All that being said, earlier this year we opened a bottle of our very first Yule which was more than 3 years old. Its flavor development over time was incredible. With cellaring in mind, we brewed this year’s Yule about four months ago and allowed it to mature a slight bit ahead of time for you. I also went back to that original recipe which used tart cherries. We made a bit more this time than we did on that first batch, now 4 years ago so you can grab an extra bottle or two and lay it down for years to come. Happy Holidays and Happy Yule!


Yule will be available at the Friday, Nov. 6th taproom release party at 6PM. Join us at 2014 Washington Ave N., Minneapolis, MN 55411.

2015 Yule Release Party

Stellar in the Cellar: Belgian Strong Ale Fermented with Tart Cherries


For the fourth year running, Boom Island Brewing Company is pleased announce the release of its Yule, the dark Belgian strong holiday ale fermented with tart cherries, with subtle nuances of holiday spices.

There seems to be two major camps when it comes to celebrating the holidays. The first follow the department store model and decorate and start counting down the days weeks before Halloween has arrived. The other group is less sentimental and can’t be bothered to get into the spirit until a few days before the holiday.

Boom Island Brewing Company falls somewhere in between the two camps: the taproom Yule Release Party is scheduled for Friday, November 6th and will be sold in stores throughout the region starting the week of November 9. Yule 2015, fermented with tart cherries will be available on tap and in 750 ml bottles for the holiday season while supplies last. Pours from an oak cask, as well as bottles of the 2014 Yule, which was fermented with black currant, will also be available for purchase during this event.

As an added bonus, the Bill Patten Trio will be playing a set at 7pm and the New Bohemia food truck will be on site as well.

Cellaring craft beer has become more in vogue, and Yule is a perfect candidate for aging. As it ages and ferments the beer becomes more complex and special, worthy of any special occasion.

YULE 2015: 11.5% ABV Dark Belgian Strong Holiday Ale
COLOR: Deep Mahogany with a Sandy Brown Colored Head
FLAVOR: Tart Cherry with Subtle Holiday Spice, Fruity and Sour

YULE 2014: 13% ABV Dark Belgian Holiday Ale, Aged One Full Year
COLOR: Deep Mahogany with an Espresso Colored Head
FLAVOR: Black Currant with Holiday Spice, Rich and Tart

© Heather Hanson Photography LLC
© Heather Hanson Photography LLC

So grab bottles to share, gift, and enjoy for yourself!

From the Brewer: Oude Funk

Straight from the source!

©Heather Hanson Photography LLC
Kevin Welch, Co-Owner & Head Brewer                                              ©Heather Hanson Photography LLC

Oude Funk, definitely the high point of my brewing career so far. This is a beer which got its start even before the brewery got its. In the tradition of the great Lambic breweries of Belgium, this beer is an authentic example with only the exception of a koelschip. The beer is fermented with two different cocktails of microbes. One was acquired from Pajottenland region one of our trips to Belgium just prior to opening the brewery. The other was the result of a spontaneous fermentation that occurred from the air of southwest Minneapolis where we used to reside just before opening Boom Island. The Belgian microbial mix was used to inoculate the first barrel that we acquired and it became home to a 60 gallon batch of turbid mashed wort for the next 2 years. The first real challenge we came across was when we experienced our first expansion, which included a move. The entire move was planned around how to deal with the liquid in that barrel. We had just acquired several more used wine barrels and placed them strategically in our new brewery just two blocks down the street. On the final day of the move, I tasted the spontaneously fermented two-year old beer. It exceeded my expectations in complexity and maturity. It was everything one could hope for in a straight unblended old lambic. The barrel was carefully drained into four kegs bunged up and moved into place in the new brewery. The delightfully sour beer was then used to inoculate the newly acquired, used (but clean) wine barrels. The following day the antiquated technique of turbid mashing was once again in action around the brewery. The old beer was reunited with itself in a single barrel and new wort filled the rest. This beer proceeded to undergo the same fermentation process as the first vintage with very consistent results. One of the barrels had a slightly slower rate of maturity but given just a couple of months more, it followed with very similar flavor development. One year later, juggle a few more barrels and repeat process. (oh yes…try not to sample to much…very limited quantities.)

The real fun happened when blending day arrived. Three vintages of spontaneously fermented, barrel aged sour beer produced from a turbid mash. Why the long explanation instead of just saying “Lambic”? Also pointing out that by blending these three vintages, then allowing them to referment in the bottle a la Méthode Champenoise would turn it into an Oude Geueze type Lambic.

Actually the use of the term, Lambic, is regulated in the European Union just like the term “Champagne”. Considering that much of my personal inspiration comes from our visits to one particular Lambic brewery whose head is a strong advocate for limiting the usage of the term, I prefer to keep those friends rather than dishonor the tradition that they and generations before have struggled so diligently to preserve.

© Heather Hanson Photography LLC
© Heather Hanson Photography LLC

As a result, I have always seen this beer is an homage to that ancient tradition rather than an effort to imitate it. It is for sure spontaneously fermented. A turbid mash was executed and it was brewed with old oxidized hops. Absolutely, it was aged in old wine barrels of 1, 2, and 3 year old vintages then blended. It was refermented in the bottle creating natural carbonation, just like every single beer we bottle. It is Oude, (which simply means old in Dutch). And it is Funky.

This Friday, October 2nd 2015 at 6pm, we present to you: “Oude Funk”


See what Growler Magazine has to say about Oude Funk in their recent article on the release, here.

Join us at the Taproom: 2014 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN

Meet Christian

Meet Christian, our new-ish brewer (since June)! In charge of crafting the delicious Belgian-style beer alongside head-brewer and co-owner, Kevin. In a short period of time he’s stepped into the role of brewer naturally and added another fun-loving personality to our team.

Photo © Heather Hanson Photography LLC
Photo © Heather Hanson Photography LLC
“The first time I had a Boom Island beer I was hanging out with some friends grilling, one of which brought a bottle of Brimstone. I was intrigued first by the bottle and presentation. Large, heavy bottle. Cork and cage and all. Buddy popped the cork on the bottle and out came this beautifully clear effervescent beer which paired wonderfully with the food and friends at the time. Didn’t hurt that it was almost 10% ABV as well!”
Christian spent a couple of years working at Northern Brewer, which fostered his love for the art and science of making beer. He also spent time working at Lucid Brewing working on their packing line, furthering his skills and adoration for the craft beer industry.
His current favorite at the taproom is Witness — “It’s just so refreshing!” Other favorites include Edmund Fitzgerald from Great Lakes and Bent Paddles’ Venture Pils.
“I love seeing the regulars coming in as well as those who are discovering not only Boom Island beer but possible Belgian-style beer for the first time. Jim does a great job making the taproom a fun friendly place to drink beer,” he remarks about his taproom experience.
At the end of the day, he says his real joy in working at Boom Island Brewing is simply making beer!

RUN.ROW.DRINK. – August 22


Some people sleep until noon on Saturdays, then eat a pile of donuts. Then there is a segment of the population that sets the alarm, seizes the day, and celebrates an active summer.  We are looking for the latter group to run a 5k starting at Boom Island Brewing.

This unconventional “triathlon” is hosted by Boom Island Brewing with Studio ME and opens 9am at the brewery Saturday, August 22. Start the adventure with a 5K run from the brewery to the rowing stations at Studio ME (located next to Tugs on St. Anthony Main). Contestants will row 150-300 meters, based on a dice roll, before continuing back to the brewery for the third installment of sport: drinking. Each runner will receive a beer, but feel free to stay for the entertainment and company.

$30 gets you registered with a T-shirt and a beer! Sign up now.

© Heather Hanson Photography LLC
© Heather Hanson Photography LLC

You’ve worked hard this summer.  Join us for a run, a row and beautiful beer.  You owe it to yourself.

© Heather Hanson Photography LLC
© Heather Hanson Photography LLC

Special machines allow participants to move a circular paddle through water to simulate rowing. Here, this skilled team of models demonstrates how fun and easy it is! No previous experience is necessary to enjoy this unconventional brew run!

This is the route runner's will take for the event.
This is the route runner’s will take for the event.

The Boom Island Brewery and taproom are located at:
2014 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis, MN