We’d heard that garlic can induce labor. When our baby didn’t show up on her due date we took the hour drive west to the Minnesota Garlic Festival in Hutchinson, Minnesota. After bouncing around the fairgrounds, avoiding the abnormally creepy Narren, tasting all manner of garlicky foods, and nibbling on delicious black garlic we were determined to cleanse our palate with a couple of brews at the local Bobbing Bobber Brewing Company.
Bobbing Bobber sits in an inconspicuous grey building off Main Street. It took a bit of time to locate what we thought was the front door to the taproom and were a little confused to find ourselves in their overflow seating and production space. Luckily our ears are highly attuned to people drinking beer and with one left turn we arrived in the main area filled with delightfully fishing themed decor. Paddles, rods, reels, life jackets, giant lures, decoys, augers, and even a canoe dot each of the walls. There is even a boat cut in half in front of a photo of a lake that you can sit behind and get your picture taken! By far the biggest boating related item that dominates the room are the tables that are made of actual sections of a dock. I’m not sure of the cost effectiveness of this solution, but it sure makes for unique seating! Their use of color in the taproom was also a highlight. The colors blue and red, which are featured in their logo, are also prominently displayed throughout the rest of the taproom.
I ordered a school of beers (what they call a flight) and it was served on a red plastic flight board in the shape of a fish. It was clear that the aquatic theme would be unescapable. Of course the whole town gets into the garlic craze which is why my first beer was Cloves are Optional, a Gose infused with garlic. I’d like to report that the beer was excellent but unfortunately it was way too heavy on the garlic with a heavy sweet finish. I’ll give them marks for creativity though! The other beers in the flight were a Salted Brown called Hootie Hoo, a Leichtbier called Swim Platform, and a Honey Wheat Ale called Bee Keeper. I ended the visit with a pint of a Nitro Pale Ale called Catch and Release. My favorite was Bee Keeper. It was an easy drinking beer with just enough sweetness and malted wheat qualities.
While sipping on our beers we had a long discussion with some fellows visiting from New Ulm. Of course, they inquired about my note taking which spawned all manner of discussion around the breweries we enjoyed and the beers we were tasting. We generally find that people at craft breweries are like minded folks that enjoy discussing their hobby and for a couple of people that are perfectly content talking amongst ourselves it’s nice to get outside of our comfort zone. The place was packed from the moment we arrived until the moment we left so it’s clear that the locals are also enjoying their watering hole.
The biggest thing to jump out at me during my visit to Bobbing Bobber was the fact that there was only a single IPA on the menu! During today’s modern trend of hazy NE IPAs it’s sort of a breath of fresh air to see a wide variety of beers on a menu. I’m sad to report that the garlic did not induce labor, but just 6 days later we invited our daughter Ellen into the world! Since that point she’s joined us on many adventures to craft breweries across the state and we just may return to Hutchinson next year to see how she likes garlic.