I’m fortunate enough to work in an area where a craft brewery is no more than ten minutes away. Many are even closer. Even though we’re spoiled for choice, we usually end up at the brewery or bar that’s closest to the office. However, when a new brewery opens we generally jump at the chance to visit before we settle back into our old ways. On a particular winter afternoon I was thirsty for some natural light, and made the suggestion to my coworkers that we venture a couple of minutes further to BlackStack Brewing.
We’d visited BlackStack’s taproom several times after they opened, but we hadn’t returned since. The primary reason for this was the price of their beers. A price point of $8 a pint is tough to swallow. When I learned the price had dropped a dollar or two, it was easier to convince people to return. Regardless of the price, it’s great to be able to leave work and have a fresh craft beer within a handful of minutes.
The first thing you’ll notice when pulling into BlackStack’s is a gigantic smoke stack that rises above the parking lot, which gives the brewery it’s name. Later, you’ll also notice a single pillar painted jet black behind their long wooden bar. The brewery shares their building with Can Can Wonderland, an art’s inspired adult playground, and it’s magnificent. There is no escaping the natural light that floods into their cavernous taproom!
After grabbing a pint of beer, we took a spot at a table next to their large bank of east facing windows. I glanced back towards the bar and it felt like their production area went on forever. It’s truly a gigantic space! The window frames or original to the building, and I find them magnificent. I imagine the panes have been replaced, but it’s restorations like these that are one of the many reasons I love the emergence of craft beer in Minnesota. What was a former can factory has been given new life for a couple of great local businesses.
In addition to your standard tables, they’ve also got a bank of vintage couches and chairs that provide an even more casual experience for visitors. They also add splashes of color to a taproom that is bathed in white, grey, and brown. It’s a perfect spot to visit when the winter is getting too long and you need reassurance that the sun still exists.
During our original visits, there were only four beers on tap. This time they had eight. I tried their Spare Rounds Coffee Black Lager, Black Duck Chai Stout, Nettie’s Cream Ale, Local 755 New England Style India Pale Ale, and Inc. Stout. While this may sound like a lot of beer, you can order them in various sizes. For this visit I chose the taster size for each. Two of them stood out of the pack. Spare Rounds is well balanced with a sweet clean coffee flavor. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I can’t help but enjoy beers that were brewed with coffee. My other favorite was their Local 755. It’s one of their year round beers and it’s easy to see why. It’s hazy yellow and has a sweet aroma and flavor. There are notes of mango, peach, and other various stone fruits. Delicious!
It’s been almost a year since I’d visited BlackStack and I’m happy with the changes they’ve made. My biggest gripes previously were the high prices and short tap list. Both of these have now been remedied. Their taproom is easily one of my favorites. There is no shortage of natural light or comfortable seating, and the sound of patrons chatting or music playing is deadened by their cavernous space. As spring sets in and the weather warms, our happy hours will be mostly spent on patios, but once winter approaches I expect more trips to BlackStack to become commonplace.