Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Size 7

Steel Toe Brewing
St. Louis Park, MN

Style: India Pale Ale (IPA)
ABV: 7.0%

Eddie’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Recommended)

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I always thought I had big feet, to the point that I was more than a little self conscious about it. Maybe it was because when I was in junior high I had to wear hand-me-down basketball sneakers, which were about three sizes too big. Out on the basketball court I was tripping and flopping around, mostly because I was about as graceful and athletic as a drunken ox, only partly because I was, for all intensive purposes, wearing clown shoes. No wonder I didn’t play even a full minute my seventh grade year.

Turns out my self-consciousness (at least when it comes to my feet) is actually a misconception, since the average American man wears a size 10.5, a mere half a size smaller than my preferred shoe size. So for the last 40 years or so I’ve needlessly carried around this emotional baggage about my feet being weirdly oversized, when it turns out that I’ve just been, well, average, all along.

Speaking of shoe sizes—and being bitter—tonight’s reviewable brewable is Size 7, an IPA from Minnesota’s Steel Toe Brewing. They call it a “West Coast IPA,” meaning it’s supposed to be over-hopped and/or under-malted (to make up a brewing term). I find this generalization of IPAs from California and Oregon a little naive if not completely unfounded, but that’s a different article that’ll probably never get written.

So on to the beer! Size 7 pours a glowing gold with a short, sticky white head. An enticing aroma of grapfruit, with a hint of strawberries, floats from the top of the glass, without a hint of maltiness. So far, Size 7 is sticking to the “over-hopped” moniker.

But lo and behold, the sip starts with some sweet maltiness up front … then immediately is buried underneath an avalanche of sharp, clean, bitterness, along with some stinging CO2. That maltiness shows up again as the beer warms, and mid-sip it pleasantly mixes with the hop character, at least for a half a swallow. I almost expect the two flavors to dance together until the end, but the bitterness comes up and buries everything, making for a short finish.

While a size seven isn’t big in the shoe world, Size 7 sits toward the clodhopper end for an IPA, with a seven percent ABV, akin to a Bell’s Two Hearted or Founders Centennial, at least in alcoholic strength. This was a nice IPA, especially if you like yours on the lighter, more bitter side, but not distinctive enough to stand out against the competition like those two, now iconic brews. But definitely a worthy entry from this relatively new brewery.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on October 7, 2013.
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