While I often find myself hanging around just a few familiar places, last month I went to three new – and new to me – taprooms around the Twin Cities. Here’s my rundown of my month in taprooms:
Good Vibes at Bad Weather Brewing
Opening night at this new West 7th St. Paul brewhouse was crazy, but luckily I got to chat with Bad Weather’s head brewer Andy Ruhland while waiting my turn for one of their beers. Andy joked that night that he had been in a two-year interview for the job because he was previously brewing at Lucid, where Bad Weather started out before co-founders Joe and Zac found the new space. I should say – he’s the head and only brewer at Bad Weather so he was putting in some pretty long days leading up to the opening. As one of the two beer lines snaked all of the way into the next room, he so seemed surprised and so grateful at the turnout.
The new brewery/taproom is a former auto shop and it maintains a little bit of the garage look. Lucas Gluesenkamp, the local artist who designs the intricate illustrations for their beers, created a mural for the space.
Andy said they have plenty of space to eventually stop brewing at Lucid and make all of their beers in-house. Plus — they just got two barrels from Panther Distillery in St. Cloud to begin a barrel aging program.
Bad Weather has year-round beers like Migration and Windvane – which you’ve probably seen on tap throughout the metro – plus a nice rotation of seasonals and special releases. I started with Tippin’ It Down – an extra special bitter with earl gray tea. Like the Summit’s Unchained 19: Make It So, I think ESB styles pair super well with tea notes and I really enjoyed this one. I followed that up with Galactic Tide, a rye porter, on cask with raspberries and peppermint. To me, this beer tasted just like a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks, but even BETTER. I would love to get a bomber of this before the holidays.
I will definitely be making a second trip to Bad Weather. I just need to be so much better at being in St. Paul…
Completing the circuit at Tin Whiskers
Speaking of St. Paul, I finally made it to Tin Whiskers. Thanks to Better Beer Society University, I met one of the owners in class and he convinced us to come in for a flight. Like my trip to Bad Weather, I was pleasantly surprised to see the taproom was just packed. From birthday parties to Wild fans, it was standing room only on a Saturday afternoon/evening. As more and more breweries open, I am sure some will close, but the ones that are doing it right are sure to consistently draw crowds.
Everything about Tin Whiskers – from the decor to their beer names and events – really meshes with the idea that these guys are all electrical engineering AND beer nerds. It feels super authentic.
I’ve had their Wheatstone Bridge, a pale wheat ale with hints of chamomile, at several festivals. While I was there, I enjoyed a flight that included a Wheatstone Bridge infusion with pineapple, lime, basil and chili peppers, the Flip Switch IPA, Schottky Pumpkin and Tiny Circuit Coffee Stout. This is now my favorite local coffee beer behind Bent Paddle’s Cold Press Black Ale. Tin Whiskers partners with Tiny Footprint Coffee for this brew and it’s wonderful. I had to go for seconds, so I got a tulip on nitro. The pumpkin ale is also good for fall and tastes a lot like pumpkin pie and not just pumpkin. Their IPA is not super hop-forward and really palatable — a midwest IPA as they say.
Found at Forager Brewing
While in Rochester for the day, we stopped into this mini metro’s newest craft beer offering – Forager Brewing Co. The concept is all about small batch brews with locally sourced ingredients. Head brewer Austin Jevne has a unique skill – developing beers with ingredients foraged in the wild. Forager also has a restaurant with a menu driven by locally available meat, cheeses and produce – including pizzas in their gorgeous wood-fired pizza oven.
It was the end of a long day so I’m sad to say I only had one beer, but it was a good one for sure. Sherpa’s Survival Kit is a rich, chocolate and coffee stout. After I enjoyed this beer, I said I would love to see it barrel aged – and good news – they are aging it in honey bourbon barrels!
The brewery is located in this sweet artsy complex that includes a local market and coffee shop. While I really enjoyed the beer, I most want to talk about the decor and atmosphere at Forager. I would describe it as “Pinterest Done Right.” The taproom is a great blend of vintage and DIY style that’s perfectly cozy. There’s even a fireplace and a library! Outdoors there’s more seating, a garden, more art and lawn games.
November is my birthday month so I hope to continue breaking out of my comfort zone and checking out some new taprooms. Do you have a new favorite?