Lakes & Legends' new Brewers Reserve label is about experimenting with flavors

The second beer in the series comes out Thursday.

Lakes & Legends is getting creative with its new series of beers.

It's called the Brewers Reserve label, and it's a series of beers where they can experiment with different flavors, Lakes & Legends owner Ethan Applen told to GoMN, adding they have plans to release a new beer under this label every month.

There are two parts to the Brewers Reserve label – there's the barrel-aged beers and beers made with locally-grown ingredients. Here are all the details.

Barrel-aged beers

Barrel aging has become pretty popular with breweries around the country lately, with brewers using a wide variety of alcohol barrels to give beers added flavors, including what was in the barrel before – and sometimes a woody taste from the actual barrel.

That's what Lakes & Legends is doing with its first few beers under its Brewers Reserve label. The brewery started barrel aging soon after it opened a little more than a year ago. And it released its first beer in the series in January.

That was the Harmony Farm saison aged for 10 months in sauvignon blanc barrels, which gave the beer a much more wine-y flavor (thanks to the tannins and characteristics of the wine that was left over in the barrels) than the Harmony Farm saison that isn't aged in barrels. (You can try both beers in the taproom and do this comparison – as long as the beers haven't sold out.)

The second barrel-aged beer is Marigold golden strong ale aged in cabernet barrels, which will be available on tap and in 750 milliliter bottles in the Minneapolis taproom starting Thursday. The barrel-aged version of this beer has more subtle differences when compared to the original, with a little added bitterness and oaky flavor.

In the next few months, Lakes & Legends plans to release two more barrel-aged beers as part of this series: a milk chocolate porter aged in rum barrels, with some added coconut, and a dark chocolate stout aged in whiskey barrels, with some added coffee and cocoa nibs.

Applen says they're playing around with a few different types of barrels, including tequila, rye, whiskey, bourbon, rum, white wine and red wine barrels.

Farm series beers

The farm series beers under the Brewers Reserve label will start coming out once the growing season begins.

The first beer in this series will be a sour maple brown beer made with maple syrup from Minitrista. Other beers you can expect this year include a rosemary juniper saison, an ale with fresh rhubarb and strawberries, and a cucumber mint saison.

The goal of these beers is to use as many locally grown ingredients as they can.

Applen says it's just "much cooler experience" working with a local farmer, noting they can tell them when flavors change or help collaborate on a beer with ingredients they think "might be neat" in a beer.

Lakes & Legends is also the first brewery member of Minnesota Grown – a program to help show consumers what products are made in Minnesota – thanks to all the local ingredients the brewery uses. Soon, labels on many of the farm series beers will say "Minnesota Grown" or "includes Minnesota honey" (or some other ingredient), Applen said.

"We love that stuff about the beer, so we just want to be able to shout it out," he said of the labeling.

For the latest on what Lakes & Legends is making, check out the beer list here.

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