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Grand Rounds Brewpub

April 17, 2016

My family had planned to visit my brother in Rochester for Easter, and one of the choices for dinner was the Grand Rounds Brewpub. It was suggested as a good place for food but I was also curious about their beer. After driving down and spending the afternoon with family we made the short trip from my brother’s house into downtown Rochester for dinner.

Located in the historic Union Block building in downtown Rochester, Grand Rounds replaced co-owner Tessa Leung’s former restaurant Söntés. With that move Tessa and head brewer Steve Finnie had to renovate the location to support brewing operations. The name of the brewpub is a nod to the medical tradition that is so resident in Rochester. Grand rounds is a method practiced to share information and provide continual education among medical professions.

As we were seated I noticed their dimpled fermenters behind a glass wall and positioned behind their bar. After some research online, I learned these fermenters are fed into serving tanks in a cold room below the restaurant. From there it’s straight into the taps creating a nice tight efficient unit. The seating was a mix of high and low tops as well as bar seating. The light fixtures were particularly striking against the dark blue ceiling.

Grand Rounds offers a full menu of mostly midwestern fare. I ordered the BrewQue which was made of bacon jam, onion rings, beerbeque, and provolone. It was most excellent! Each member of the family enjoyed their meals so if you’re planning a brewery tour of southeastern Minnesota then make sure to stop in here for dinner.

The beer is available in four different sizes: 50z, 9oz, 13oz, and 16oz. I really like when places offer half pints so this is going above and beyond. Several of us ordered the “petite round.” This is what they call their flight. The name was cryptic but became obvious when it was served on a lazy susan flight board. Each notch for the glass also contained the pips of a die to denote which beer was which. Really well done! In addition to their housemade brews they also had two guest taps with beer not yet available in the area. When we were there they had Bauhaus Brew Labs and Sociable Cider Werks.

In my flight was the Kraus Anderson Minnesota-Kolsch, Hop Bollocks Session IPA, Nelson IPA, Amberican Dream, Freedom Strong Scotch Ale, and Hawaii 507 Coconut Stout. I also had a small glass of their seasonal Wakatu IPA at the end of the meal. Of the selection my favorite was the Nelson IPA. It was crisp and clean with a bitterness at the front and some tart/sweetness in the finish. I also enjoyed the Kolsch and the Session IPA. The Kolsch was cloudy straw yellow with a mild sweetness to it and counteracted by its crisp refreshing body. I write this post on my patio on one of the first 70 degree days of the year and I find myself wishing I had a beer like this to accompany me! Hop Bollocks had a tropical fruit aroma with a lemon citrus flavor. Come to think of it, I could enjoy this one right now as well.

This visit was a little out of the ordinary that my others. It was the only trip so far without my wife Samantha as she had fallen ill on the way down and stayed at my brother’s house while we were out to dinner. I was also accompanied by my entire family, so my 4 year old nephew Thomas has the distinct honor of being the youngest person to accompany me on a visit. Everyone had a great time, the food was excellent, and the beer was a perfect compliment to the evening. The place is relatively small and functions as a full service restaurant so if you’re planning a trip make reservations. Be sure to leave room for some food!

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