In late 2008, my sister got married in Hayward, Wisconsin in the mouth of a concrete, steel, and fiberglass fish. It seemed only fitting to have their reception at the Angry Minnow Brewery. I wasn’t a beer lover at the time, so I didn’t try anything on tap. But this year on our annual trip to their cabin, I swore to make a return visit for a full sampling.
Placed inside a location built in 1889 to house the offices of the Northern Wisconsin Lumber Company, this building has now been restored and contains a brewery, bar, and full service restaurant. The interior has brick walls, wooden floors, high ceilings, and beautiful stained glass windows. There is outdoor seating in the form of a patio and small deck, but most of the seating is inside. One great feature that might be easy to overlook is their growler display. They have a wall above a section of the bar where growlers from various breweries are hung and lit. It was hard to get a good picture, so look up! You can also view the brewery itself from an opening in the floor of the gift shop.
We got an early jump to the long drive from the Twin Cities and planned on meeting my family at the brewery for dinner. Unfortunately there wasn’t room on the patio for our group, and we had to split up to get a table inside. This was understandable, because there isn’t a lot of room inside. I’d say get here early or come late if you plan on just having the beer. After sitting down at the bar I was struck by the colors of the sun filtering through the stain glassed windows. There were also wooden signs custom made and painted for a couple of their main beers. A nice touch.
I was happy to learn that they served flights, which is always nice when you go to a place that is far away. In particular, this flight came with 6 beers of my choice and arrived on a board shaped like a fish. Unique flight presentation always get me a little excited, and I’m not really sure why.
While waiting for our meals to arrive I dove into the first beer of the flight, their Belgian Blonde. It was hazy, with a light yellow color. There was a distinct wheat aroma and flavor, with some citrus notes as well. Very easy to drink. Next up was the standout of the night, their Citra IPA. It had an orange color with a very sweet aroma, with notes of lemon and orange. It was hoppy but not too bitter, and subsequently very crisp and refreshing. The third beer was the aptly named Minnow Pils. This had a pale yellow color and mellow flavor. Easy to drink, but nothing too special.
The last three beers were the Saison Olivia, Honey Wheat, and Oaky’s Oatmeal Stout. I enjoyed all three. The Saison Olivia was spicy, bitter, and faintly boozy. The Honey Wheat was sweet and nutty, with an apple bouquet. Oaky’s Oatmeal Stout was a deep dark brown, and had a oatmeal and coffee aroma. It was creamy, with notes of roasted coffee and dark chocolate. Of the three the Honey Wheat was the best, and the second best beer of the night.
Our visit to the Angry Minnow Brewery left me wanting more, and I’ll have to wait until next year to try some of their other taps. I would recommend it to people that are in the area. It is a beautiful building with serviceable beers. My only issue would be the lack of space both inside and out, but that can be worked around if you plan ahead. Hopefully next time I can enjoy a hot summer night with a Citra IPA on their patio!