What’s Brewing Bergseth Bros.

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As much as I don’t want to admit it, I feel that Old Man Winter is digging in its feet for the season. The temperatures seemed to drop significantly over the weekend and the snow seems to be sticking around for the season.

When the weather turns colder my beer drinking habits tend to lean to the darker, richer, and fuller bodied beers. My classic fall/winter favorites include Guinness Draught, Guinness Extra Stout, Samuel Adams Cream Stout and Summit Nitro Oatmeal Stout.

I always include a mix of these classics in with a few newer beers, such as Lagunitas Brown Shugga, Fargo Brewing Co. None More Black Imperial Stout, Rhombus Guys Brewing Into the Darkness Porter, Empyrean Long Route Peanut Butter Porter, Bell’s Double Cream Stout and Fulton Brewing Co. Proper Porter.

I could go on and on with my list – Do not hesitate to ask your Bergseth Bros. Sales representative for a list of darker beers that we carry year-round and seasonally. Below is a  video from Craftbeer.com and a great guide I found online explaining some of the more popular styles of darker beers.

A Guide to Dark Beers

Find the right beer for fall.



Between the cold days and the prolonged nights, fall and winter generally feel like a time for dark, warming beverages—hefty red wines, stiff brown spirits, and, perhaps most of all, robust dark beers. But all dark beers don’t necessarily fit that mold. “Dark beer” is an overly broad and inexact category encompassing everything from easy-drinking German Schwarzbierto bold Belgian quads. (And because of that breadth, there are plenty of dark—or darkish—beers, like DunkelsRoggenbiersEisbocks, and wee heavys, not included here.)

Some dark beers are spicy and boozy; some are sprightly and refreshing. Here’s a guide to the gamut.


Porter dates back to eighteenth-century England, where it was by and large the most popular beer, a status it maintained up until World War II when lighter ales and lagers became ubiquitous. (The name porter probably originates from its early popularity among working-class dock builders and other haulers.) The beer’s dark brown color is the result of roasted malts, which were historically unevenly malted, lending an acrid, slight smokiness to early porters. The porter category is also a hybrid style: while most are warm-fermented with ale yeasts, Baltic porters are traditionally cold-fermented with lagering strains.

Modern English Porter

Modern English porters are subdued but robust, with a dry, almost acidic finish. Like stouts, porters have morphed and transmuted into myriad sub-categories and regional styles over the centuries, but the original is a mild dark beer with roasty flavors and gentle bitterness from grassy Fuggle and Golding hops.

American Porter

American porters are not quite as soft and sweet as traditional English porters; they lean toward the rich and complex end of the spectrum. They’re usually dark brown to black in color, with a strong malt flavor and aromas of coffee, chocolate, and sometimes citrusy hops. Most are around 5-6 percent ABV and medium bodied.


Baltic Porter

Baltic porter is a spinoff style of the original English porter. It took root in England around the late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-centuries, and was initially influenced by the hefty imperial stouts commonly exported to the regions around the Baltic Sea. By the nineteenth century, Baltic porters were also being brewed in the Baltic states themselves. This marked a turning point for the style, which then went from being a warm-fermented ale to a cold-fermented lager (the fermentation style favored in the Baltic region). Today, most Baltic porters are cold-lagered; strong ale-fermented porters are considered imperial porters instead.

Imperial Porter

Imperial porters inhabit a gray area somewhere between Baltic porters and imperial stouts. The term is sometimes synonymous with Baltic porter, but since most imperial porters are American-brewed, they’re usually top-fermented with ale yeast rather than cold lagered. Imperial porters are typically between 7.5 and 9.5 percent ABV and can be barrel-aged in bourbon barrels or wine casks.


Stouts are dark, robust ales who can trace their lineage directly to porters. The term “stout porter” was initially used to describe boozy, rich porters; it was eventually shortened to just “stout.” Today, the term describes a broad category of substyles that vary from frothy, sweet, and light to rich, robust, and complex.

Dry Stout

The most popular stout in the world is Guinness, the archetypal dry stout that’s dark and silky but also quite light in body and booze—only about 4 percent by volume. Like all stouts, the black color comes from dark-roasted malts that lend bitterness and a dry, crisp finish. Dry stouts like Guinness are often poured on draft with nitrogenated gas (rather than pure carbon dioxide), which imparts a gentle sweetness and an exceedingly smooth, creamy body. One subvariety is the oyster stout, made by adding calcium-rich oyster shells during the boil. The shells’ original role was probably as a filtering mechanism (much like the “protein raft” used to clarify consommés), but it also produces a pronounced, pleasant minerality.

Milk Stout

Milk stouts—sometimes called sweet stouts—are similar to dry stouts, but made sweet by the addition of lactose, or milk sugar. The lactose imparts creaminess and sweetness but doesn’t lend any additional fermentable sugars (saccharomyces can’t process milk sugar), keeping the ABV low and the beer relatively light and chuggable. Like dry stouts, milk stouts are sometimes served on draught with nitrogenated gas.

Oatmeal Stout

The addition of oats, rich in proteins and lipids, is yet another way to make a creamy-bodied stout. The style was popular in Victorian England, fell out of favor during the twentieth century, and is now somewhat common again with American brewers. In terms of sweetness and creaminess, it falls somewhere between dry and milk stouts.

American Stout

American stouts are distinguished—surprise! surprise!—by a pronounced citrus hoppiness. They’re often much roastier than dry, sweet, and oatmeal stouts, and a little heftier, too, with ABVs around 6-9 percent. Some are infused with coffee and chocolate, amplifying the roasted malt’s inherent flavors.

Export Stout

Export stouts—also known as foreign or tropical stouts—were originally hearty, high ABV stouts developed in the British Isles for export to the Caribbean and other tropical climates (the high alcohol and robust malts made them particularly well-suited for transoceanic voyages).The original was made by Guinness, first named West India Porter and later renamed the Foreign Export Stout, which dates back to the early 1800s. Export stouts are full-bodied and robust, with a more pronounced bitterness than dry and sweet stouts, and about double the ABV (around 5.5–7.5 percent).

Imperial Stout

Imperial stout is a rich, robust, and powerful beer usually clocking in between 8 and 12 percent ABV (but can sometimes go higher, up to 15–17 percent). The style originates in late eighteenth-century England where strong (>10 percent ABV) stouts were brewed and shipped to Russia and the Baltic states. Modern iterations are sharp and bitter but with a residual sweetness that can be harmonizing at best and cloying at worst. The style is closely related to—and a direct influence on—Baltic porters.

Strong Ales

Strong ales are made boozy not by fortification or distillation but by making an extremely sweet, sticky wort (unfermented beer). This results from a thick slurry of fermentable sugars—mostly from malted grain but sometimes from adjuncts like Belgian candi sugar—added to the brew kettle before the beer is fermented.

Old Ale / Stock Ale

Old ale is an historic British term for a vague category of dark strong ales (>6 percent ABV). They’re usually dark reddish-brown in appearance, with robust, warming flavors of malt and booze. As the name suggests, they’re aged for a prolonged time before being released. Historically, old ales were blended with younger, weaker beer, but now they’re most commonly bottled, sold, and consumed at full strength, with many American versions reaching well into the double-digit ABV range.


Barleywines are dark reddish-brown strong ales that originated in England in the mid-nineteenth century. The first commercial example to be called barleywine was Bass No. 1, a boozy, sweet ale meant to mimic the flavors of fortified wines. They’re nearly indistinguishable from old ales—some even argue the only difference is name—but barleywine is a much more popular term in America than old ale. They can age beautifully for many years, developing sherry-like aromas of toffee, dried fruit, and caramel. Most are well over 10 percent ABV.

Belgian-Style Dark Strong Ale (Trappist Quad)

This beer is exactly what its name implies: a dark strong ale made in a traditional Belgian style. Trappist breweries—a certified appellation that covers only monastic breweries within the Trappist order—usually call these quadrupels, or quads, following the nomenclature of SingelsDubbels, and Tripels, a reference to beers of increasing strength. But the style isn’t codified, and breweries outside the appellation may also refer to them as quads or Belgian-style strong ales. Because of proprietary yeasts and idiosyncratic brewing methods, the characteristics vary from brewery to brewery, but in general, quads are rich, malty, and boozy (>10 percent ABV), with complex aromas of dark dried fruit and spices. They’re often chewy and full-bodied, though some are effervescent, even vibrant. Most are bottle-conditioned with added sugar and yeast.

American Dark Sour Ale

Though not a codified style, dark sour ales have become increasingly popular among American breweries. Most begin stout- or porter-like before undergoing some degree of wine barrel-aging, mixed fermentation (usually with brettanomyces), and bottle conditioning. The style is divergent, but overall dark sour ales are mouth-puckeringly tart, with funky aromas and rich flavors of char, dried fruit, and tart cherries.

English Dark Mild

Dark milds are traditionally low-ABV session ales. They’re typically brewed with chocolate or black malts and are gently hopped, much milder than pale ales and IPA’s. The style dates back several centuries to at least the eighteenth century. Like many other styles, they fell out of favor during the mid-twentieth century, but are experiencing something of a resurgence thanks to the craft beer boom of the last twenty years.




What’s Brewing Bergseth Bros.

Weekly Online Newsletter 


What’s Brewing Bergseth Bros.

Weekly Online Newsletter

After the trick-or-treaters are gone and the kids are in bed, there’s a good chance you’ll have some leftover Halloween candy sitting around. But before you sink into the couch with a cold one and a handful of candy, consider pairing your beer of choice with a complementary sweet. We promise it’ll make that extra candy (and the beer) taste even better.


We’ve got you covered, below is a great video from Molly Miller paring some Halloween candy with different styles of beer, another video from Bell’s Brewery, a guide from Empyrean Brewing Company and Lastly a beer & candy pairing chart from kitchn.


Another Candy & Beer Pairing Chart from the kitchn


What’s Brewing Bergseth Bros.

Weekly Online Newsletter

What’s Brewing Bergseth Bros

Weekly Online Newsletter Vol. 201

Guided by geeky imagination, influenced by sub-pop culture and never satisfied with the status quo, B. Nektar aims to bring a modern twist on mead as well as diversify craft mead, cider and beer.

B. Nektar Meadery was founded in 2006 by Brad and Kerri Dahlhofer, with the help of their good friend Paul Zimmerman. Brad has been an avid homebrewer since 1998, making beers, meads, ciders and wine for his own enjoyment. When Brad and Kerri got married in 2005, he made a mead to toast with at their wedding and received great reviews from the guests. Jokingly, he said that he’d someday open a meadery. Paul, a long-time friend and fellow homebrewer, soon began making meads along with Brad in the Dahlhofers’ basement. Their meads quickly began winning awards at homebrewing competitions.

In the summer of 2006, Kerri was laid-off from her job. While sipping a glass of vanilla cinnamon mead made by Brad, she thought, “Why not try to sell this?” It was then that the three decided to take their mead making to the next level. In the spring of 2008, Brad too fell victim to layoffs, and the three worked night and day to prepare for their opening. After nearly two years since its inception, B. Nektar finally opened it’s doors on August 2, 2008 (National Mead Day).

B. Nektar’s session meads and hard ciders are now shaping the craft revolution.  To say it’s been a long road from the home-brewing days would be a tremendous understatement but B. Nektar continues to increase their production capacity and is currently the largest meadery in the U.S.A.

B. Nektar was the first meadery to join the ranks on the top 100 best breweries in the world by Ratebeer.com, and has remained there since 2013.

Proud of this story as they may be, they put a lot of effort into not taking themselves too seriously.


What’s Brewing Bergseth Bros.

Weekly Online Newsletter Vol.200

As the leaves change, so does the beer selections in the aisle and tap handles. It’s a good thing. Not only do seasonal brews offer new flavors from your regular beers, they also ensure you’re getting the freshest beer possible. So crack open one, or a few, of our favorite fall beers.

Today, I am going to showcase two of our seasonal fall offerings from Bell’s Brewery; Octoberfest and Best Brown Ale. Both of these beers are reminiscent of the traditional fall foliage colors – deep ruby to brown, golden hues and with some red tones. The beers taste does not disappoint either with a malty/toasty back bone, yet sessionable, lending a nice transition before winter beers hit the market.


What’s Brewing Bergseth Bros.

Online Weekly Newsletter Vol. 199


What’s Brewing Bergseth Bros.

Weekly Online Newsletter Vol.198

Since 1860, August Schell Brewing Company has been perfecting German Craft Beers. Their Oktoberfest is a shining example of their perfection!


BEER STYLE: Marzen, Oktoberfest


CHARACTERISTICS: Brewed with the perfect balance of Pale, Munich, and Cara Pils malt with Liberty and Perle hops to create a rich, smooth taste.

With its bright copper-orange color, it is quite symbolic of the autumnal shift of the season.  A slightly higher strength, and warm malt body make it the perfect companion for the crisp fall weather in Minnesota.  The use of Munich and Vienna malts give the beer its toasty malt backbone, and melanoidin-rich flavor and aroma.  It has a soft malt sweetness, pleasant mouthfeel and a slight spiciness.  Hop character is subdued, as the malt takes center stage with this beer.

Another new exciting sampler pack from August Schell Brewing Company – Harvest Brews Seasonal Sampler


What’s Brewing Bergseth Bros

Weekly Newsletter Vol.197

It’s hard to think about but cool fall weather is just around the corner. I look forward to Bison tailgating and NFL Sunday’s with a Märzen style beer more than the weather.  As the leaves turn amber to copper color so does the beer in my glass. This color of beer is reminiscent of traditional styles of Okotberfest Beer or Märzen style.

We have several brands of Oktoberfest beers to choose from, traditional Paulaner Marzen to the number one selling Craft Beer Oktoberfest in the world, Samuel Adams. I’ve attached a list below that contains the multitude of Oktoberfest & Pumpkin beers that we have available this fall.

Below is a description of this style of beer courtesy of Beeradvocate.com

Märzen / Oktoberfest

Before refrigeration, it was nearly impossible to brew beer in the summer due to the hot weather and bacterial infections. Brewing ended with the coming of spring, and began again in the fall. Most were brewed in March (Märzen). These brews were kept in cold storage over the spring and summer months, or brewed at a higher gravity, so they’d keep. Märzenbier is full-bodied, rich, toasty, typically dark copper in color with a medium to high alcohol content.

The common Munich Oktoberfest beer served at Wies’n (the location at which Munich celebrates its Oktoberfest) contains roughly 5.0-6.0% alcohol by volume, is dark/copper in color, has a mild hop profile and is typically labeled as a Bavarian Märzenbier in style.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 4.0-7.0%  

Below is our 2019 offerings of Oktoberfest & Pumpkin Beers

What’s Brewing Bergseth Bros.

Weekly Online Newsletter Vol.196