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.
I’m a member of a handful of groups on Facebook geared towards craft beer fans. Photographs of Drekker cans dominate my feed! They advertise regularly on social media when they will be down in the Twin Cities, and I’ve heard stories of particularly devoted fans following them around from store to store. They snatch up beer until they can fill a Instagram post completely with their cans. I’d tried Drekker beers twice before our visit, both times at beer tasting events, and I think they stack up to the hype. I was curious to try it from the source.
The Drekker Brewing taproom is located smack dab in the middle of downtown Fargo. Once we turned on 1st Avenue it didn’t take long to spot the sign outside the taproom, the familiar logo featuring a black viking head on a field of white. It was an trivial task to find a parking spot in downtown Fargo at 2pm and before long we were out of the sun and in their taproom.
Only a couple of patrons were there, all of which were heavily engaged in conversation. We approached the bar and found that all of our favorites were on tap: Ectogasm, Wheez the Juice, and Brain Freeze. As always, I ordered a flight, and Mitch did as well. His plan was to stop after his flight and load the car with as many cans as it could carry. We took our flights and sat at a nicely lit high top near the door.
Let’s get the beer out of the way. It was fantastic. I began with a Brain Freeze. For those that aren’t aware this is the name of their smoothie sour series. They keep the same base of lactose which gives a creamy mouthfeel and balances the sour tartness, then they add a huge quantity of fruit and the result is consistently magic. If you’re looking to get anyone into sours this is the beer for them. The edition I tried was boysenberry and peach. It had a purplish pink hue with fantastic notes of stone fruit on the nose and the tongue. Easily my favorite beer of the day!
I also tried the People Eater. It’s another sour ale brewed with blueberries and basil. The color of the beer was out of this world and the flavor wasn’t too shabby either. I’m a sucker for basil, and it was inspired by a donut! The Coffee Rudder was a nice change of pace after the two sours. It’s an Irish Red Ale that’s infused with Twenty Below Coffee. At any other place this would be an adventurous beer, but at Drekker it was almost standard. Just a well brewed red ale with smooth mouthfeel and great coffee aroma and flavor. The last beer of the flight was Whisper Scream their Nordic Farmhouse IPA. Three words: hazy, dank, pineapple.
I had one other beer but I didn’t take any notes. Probably just in the zone and forgot. I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it! Their taproom is long and thin. With concrete floors, concrete bar top, wood tables, corrugated metal bar, and exposed ceilings there is nothing different from your standard craft brewery as far as decor goes. But their branding and music selection match their wild and adventurous beer. If you’ve never seen their can art (done by local artist Punchgut) you should check it out. It’s heavily illustrative, whimsically colored, and features: decaying vikings, skulls, brains, monsters, and the occasional grim reaper. I’m convinced it’s half the allure! Then mix in some techno music to match that crazy art and you have a winning combination. Luckily I’m a techno fan, and it was a great change of pace from the usual rock standards that breweries usually have. A unique soundscape can make all the difference in an establishment and I think it’s a key feature that’s often overlooked.
One interesting detail that surprised me was that they did not allow children in the taproom. Before serving a couple they said they would have to take their kids outside. Luckily there is a small patio out front so it’s not a complete deal breaker but now that I have a little one of my own it’s something that I’ll have to look out for. I am pretty sure it has something to do with liquor laws in the state of North Dakota.
I’d recommend Drekker to anyone that likes craft beer. Their sour varieties are top notch, and the other beers I had were solid as well. I’m not sure the taproom is worth the long drive but if you can’t get their beer any other way then it’s a must. If you want the perfect Instagram flight that defies all preconceived notions of beer color, then Drekker Brewing Company is the place to be. I certainly wish we could redraw the state lines and claim them as our own!