It was just our luck that the weekend we had planned in Duluth would turn out to be cold and rainy. The weather had been warm all week at home and a rain drenched run from our car to the hotel wasn’t quite what we had in mind. Luckily there is one hobby that we share that cares little about the weather. A short drive later we were dodging raindrops on our way into Lake Superior Brewing.
I don’t think it would be a shock to anyone to learn that I visited a brewery for my birthday. Though, it may be a surprise that I went to one in Wisconsin. My wife and I tried something different this year. We each decided on a miniature road trip and I decided I wanted to have lunch in Hudson and then work our way up the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix river. While we were in town, it only made sense to follow our lunch with a couple of drinks at Hop & Barrel Brewing.
We’d spent the better part of the afternoon in Fargo, North Dakota. It was now time to venture across the Red River into Moorhead, Minnesota. Our last stop of the day was my most anticipated. I’d had many of their beers, seen photos of the taproom, and it was time to try them at the source. A quick drive later we rolled into the dusty parking lot next to Junkyard Brewing Company.
If you’re in tune at all with the craft beer scene in Minnesota and the surrounding area there are a couple of breweries that are a serious drive from the Twin Cities that command a lot of attention. Two of those are in the Fargo-Moorhead area and our plan was to visit both of them. With our palates primed from Fargo Brewing we jumped into the car for a few minutes and headed to our next stop Drekker Brewing Company.
When my friend Mitch texted me and asked what I was doing the next Saturday I knew what was on his mind. He wanted to visit a brewery, the only question was which one. After he mentioned the Fargo-Moorhead area I knew what breweries he had in mind, and I knew that we would have to take full advantage of our time. At 8AM he arrived at my home in Bloomington and we began the long trek to Fargo Brewing Company the first stop of our jam-packed day trip.
We’d just descended the main trail at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. It wasn’t a full descent. Upon arrival the ranger told us we wouldn’t have time to make it to the top and that for most people it takes up to double the time we would have. My wife and our friends Nicole and Eric were determined to give it a shot. We set a blustering piece and a short while later we were a stone’s throw away from the top when a ranger turned us back. Almost made it! Once we returned to the parking lot we figured we’d earned a beer, or three. We called our friends and told them to meet us at Santa Fe Brewing Company.
We’d just spent the morning at Bandelier National Monument and had worked up quite the thirst climbing in and out of the ancestral pueblo homes in the Frijoles Canyon. After re-grouping in the parking lot we determined that a brewpub would fit the bill and I identified a particular one that I thought would be worth a visit. Into our rental cars we piled and headed back into Santa Fe to the taproom of Rowley Farmhouse Ales.
Anytime you have a metaphysical experience you should follow it up with a beer. Which is why, after running around and exploring the magical world of Meow Wolf, we took a walk around the corner to reflect on our experience and trade notes about all of the craziness. Our destination was one of several craft breweries in the area, and since one couple in our group was now pushing a stroller we chose the closest: Second Street Brewery’s Rufina Taproom.
When I was looking for breweries in Albuquerque there were two names that kept cropping up. On our way to Santa Fe it just so happened we needed somewhere to eat lunch. What better place than a brewpub? For those two reasons it was an easy decision to stop at the Bosque Brewing Co. Public House.
Bellies full and spirits high the group turned and asked what the next brewery was on my list. It was our last night in Albuquerque and we only had a couple of hours to kill before the taprooms would close. There was one spot that stood heads and shoulders above the others as far as the taproom experience. That brewery: Bow & Arrow Brewing Co.