Fulton Beer - Thunder God
Serving Temperature:52–58° F
Suggested Glassware:Snifter, Small Nonic, or Tulip
Fulton Beer’s Thunder God is an exceptional strong stout brewed with vanilla, cacao, and maple syrup sourced from Sawtooth Mountain Maple Syrup—a small, family-run business operating on Minnesota’s North Shore. Just a few hundred cases of this beer were brewed, and any allocation not heading to our Rare Beer Club members will be spread across four states in the brewery’s distribution network that get their limited-release offerings.
Thunder God pours a deep, endearing garnet-brown color, capped by light tan foam. The maple-syrup special addition shows nicely from start to finish, but maintains its restrained presence throughout, never too sweet or cloying, always working in tandem with the vanilla as a smoothing element. Rich core stout forms the foundation: generous roast, dark and milk chocolates, cocoa… Exceptional show of specialty malts, with everything seamlessly synced.
This decadent stout stays surprisingly nimble overall despite its 7.5% ABV, with a creamy and vibrant mouthfeel that’s mellowed by that Sawtooth Mountain Maple Syrup. The syrup and endearing vanilla keep everything in sync, that cacao special addition plays a secondary role subtly amplifying the core chocolate notes of the stout, and the interplay of all of these elements is so much more than just the sum of its parts. In the words of the brewery: “Is it a dessert stout? Could be. Breakfast stout? Yep. An anytime-you-want-it stout? It’s your call—so absolutely yes.” A deeply layered, beautifully built stout with a whole lot to enjoy.
We expect the expressive impacts from the vanilla and maple syrup to be most potent early on, such that we’re inclined to pop this stout on the fresher side. This one isn’t quite fully into imperial-stout territory, but that 7.5% ABV should at least provide some sturdiness if you decide to hold onto bottles for a bit. For pairings: the core combination of maple syrup, vanilla, chocolate, and roast have us inclined to angle this toward desserts. Vanilla ice cream, affogato, cookies… or brownies, should you feel like emphasizing that rich core chocolate.
The Minnesota brewing scene has been changing dramatically over the years, and we have kept a close eye on up-and-coming breweries in the region. One of the biggest changes in Minnesota was a provision enacted way back in 2011 allowing small breweries to sell pints of their own beer on-site, enabling the existence of craft taprooms and all the meet-the-brewer benefits those sorts of things tend to afford. One of our two featured breweries this month was the second brewery in the state to open a taproom after that legislation passed, and the first in the Minneapolis–St. Paul metro area. Fulton Beer’s been making huge strides since.
A little over a decade ago, the four folks behind Fulton Beer—Ryan Petz, Brian Hoffman, Peter Grande, and Jim Diley—were just starting to homebrew together in Jim’s piddly (and cold) one-car garage. Rest assured, Minnesota gets cold. But that homebrewing inlet, like so many unexpected and fiscally questionable paths into professional brewing, led them, a few years later, to start Fulton Beer together. As the story goes: Ryan and Jim were in debt from grad school, Pete and his wife were expecting, everyone else was newly or about to get married... The four had no savings, no cache of brewing connections, and no real industry experience. The circumstances, in other words, were perfect.
In the time since, we’ve been able to watch Fulton Beer grow from a small, contracting brewery into something much more established—and all in spite of the less-than-super-great chances for the whole endeavor. We could probably make some sort of awkward pinot-noir analogy here, but we’ll instead just simply say that maybe beer’s better when you’ve really got to work for it. The first keg of Fulton Beer was served at The Happy Gnome out in St. Paul; this was back in late October of 2009. The intrepid four signed a lease for their first brewery in September 2010, which became the first brewery taproom in the Twin Cities. And, having quickly exhausted that production space, they began building a second brewery in late 2013.
Today, the majority of Fulton Beer’s production takes place at their second facility: a 51,000-square-foot facility in northeast Minneapolis, about five minutes from their original location. The brewery has since been able to spend significantly more time and resources in packaging their delicious specialty beers—including this month’s featured selection, Thunder God. For the latest news, beer releases, and more from Fulton Beer, head on over to fultonbeer.com.
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