After some food and a couple of drinks at Fulton Brewing we made our way to the second and final stop of the night: Insight Brewing. It wasn’t our first visit to their taproom but it was one we had anxiously been waiting to try again; this time with a free beer courtesy of the Northern Ale Guide.
Insight Brewing takes a worldly perspective to beer, aided in large part by the co-founder Ilan Klages-Mundt’s travels while learning the trade. He’s brewed in England, Japan, and Denmark and has traveled to many other countries to taste their local specialties. This is reflected in the styles of beer that are available in the taproom as well as the packaging that can be found on store shelves. Their tagline is “We Craft Legends” and each beer is accompanied by an excerpt of a much larger story told from the perspective of an explorer traveling the world chasing down exotic beer recipes and ingredients. It’s a great touch and brings out the creativeness present among craft beer culture. Their branding is some of my favorite. Each 16oz can is a dark slate grey with a unique logo and name of the beer shown as one bright color. This simplicity pops out to you when shopping, but the beer inside is anything but.
We arrived later in the evening and had hoped to grab a spot on their patio. Unfortunately, it was completely full which was the case for the taproom as well. This isn’t a strange sight for a brewery in Northeast, Minneapolis, especially one as popular as Insight Brewing. We did manage to snag a table inside and pulled up a couple of chairs for some people who were going to join us later.
The brewing area is separated from the taproom by large glass windows. Their bar anchors one end of the room and makes a large arc with the a line forming in the center where beer can be ordered. It’s a mix of high and low top tables, with thick block glass windows allowing natural light to filter in. A grain silo towers above their small patio where community seating makes the most of the space. It’s right in their parking lot so the view isn’t that special, but it’s quiet and the food truck blocks the street from view.
Our first visit a year and a half back I had remembered not enjoying the beer all too much. This was a shared sentiment between the entire group. I’d returned a couple of times since, and I’ve had several of their beers from the store as well. I’m happy to report that either my palate has completely changed (a strong possibility) or their brewing has vastly improved! Either way, I enjoy all the beers they have available but some more than others.
On this particular night I tried the American Wheat, Troll Way, and Hell Chicken. I hadn’t had the American Wheat before but it got two stars in my tasting book. One star is generally reserved for my favorite beers of the night, although some visits there aren’t any beers that get a star. Two stars are reserved for beers that I would seek out or drink regularly. Wheat beers are great for the summer and this one packs a hop punch that complements the normal wheat flavor. This all results in a fantastic and refreshing beer that hit the spot on a warm summer night but could be enjoyed year round. It’s taproom only but I hope they brand it and get it into cans soon.
Their Troll Way was great and a fantastic representation of a West Coast IPA, but it was only a bridge to my favorite Insight Brewing beer: Hell Chicken. This beer really shows off their unique beer styles by adding Yuzu fruit to a Pale Ale. This gives an amazing aroma and flavor that is fruity and complex. Needless to say this one got two stars as well and it’s a beer I regularly buy from stores. As good as it is out of a can you need to try it from the tap!
Maybe it was because it was our second brewery of the night but our trip to Insight Brewing was a real treat. Because of the Northern Ale Guide we got some beer for free, but I would’ve gladly paid full price. There is no food available from the taproom, but they have a food truck almost every night. Come early to get a spot on the patio and for god’s sake try the Hell Chicken!