I didn’t just bring a bottle down into the yard. I brought the whole box, Vol. 4 of the Fulton Sampler, in its entirety, down into the yard, set it down and just stood by it for a minute.
The beauty of spring is easily overlooked right now, but it’s there. Look closely enough at the tree branches, and you’ll see buds getting ready to flower. My hostas are starting to poke up out of the dirt. Ducks are settling down around ponds, looking ready as always to waddle into some happy painting. The Canadian goose mobs are claiming their turf, too, and woe betide any poor soul who wanders onto it.
I was not staring at beauty, not yet. I was staring at past seasons’ sins, no longer concealed by snow cover in my backyard. A blanket of damp, sticky old leaves covered about two thirds of the yard – and scattered among that was a minefield of dog poo. This is the time of year when “yard shoes” are decided, and this was the day I chose mine.
I had “yard gloves” on too. They’re in tatters and the fingertips are stained with Lord-knows-what. I had the rake. What was it, $12 at Northern Tool? Does the job, though. I had glorious sunshine, and I had Vol. 4 of the Fulton Sampler. The box looks like a promotional poster for some low-budget music festival, and I like that. Inside is Lonely Blonde, 300, a Maibock, and a chocolate oatmeal milk stout.
I enjoyed three of them thoroughly. The chocolate oatmeal milk stout was the odd man out. I like stouts that are pitch-black, viscous, and eat like a meal. I thought this beer was too light, but that’s just me. Drinking this made me really want the beer in the black pajamas.
Out of this box, Lonely Blonde is the obvious choice for a lawn pounder. This beer has been in commercial production for as long as Fulton themselves have. Lonely Blonde isn’t my go-to at the bar, but it shines under a weekend sun: light, clean, refreshing, and perfectly uncomplex. I’d lean on the rake, take a few sips, wipe the sweat off my forehead, and admire my progress.
Two Lonely Blondes got me through the rake work. A 300 got me through the bag work.
300 is a West Coast IPA Fulton originally brewed to be a celebratory one-off batch, story goes, but demand for the beer compelled them to brew it full-time. Makes sense. 300 is a really nice IPA and my favorite among their flagship offerings. Its bitterness lands right in the sweet spot, it’s got a nice malt backbone, and it just drinks so easy. I packed bag after bag after bag after bag after bag full of leaves and set them under the deck. I don’t care to think about how many “Porter Pies” I picked up while doing so. I stretched my back after that and took a few sips of 300.
Two hours later, about three quarters of the yard was cleaned up. The rest had very few leaves and the dog only ever went over there to bark at delivery people. Far as I was concerned, this mission could be checked off as accomplished. This is when the Maibock was pulled out of the box.
If you want information overload concerning maibocks and helles bocks, All About Beer Magazine has your back. Simply: Maibocks are commonly brewed during the wintertime and enjoyed as part of spring celebrations. Our celebrations will be much different this spring. We know. They’ll be scaled way down and largely in isolation. My first spring celebration began this way: with a few armloads of wood, some kindling, the fire pit, and that Fulton Maibock.
This is Fulton’s first swing at a Maibock (per the website), and I think it’s a nice one. It’s malty and sweet, just a little bit bitter, and overall very pleasant. I threw some more wood on the fire, kicked back, and bothered the dog for a while. I’ve dealt with enough of his today, I figure. He can deal with a little of mine.
RELATED: What I thought would be the final post on The Minnesota Skinny was a story I did about Fulton Beer’s 10 years in business.