Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub

August 23, 2015

Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub is one of the closest breweries to our home. So one Tuesday evening when we weren’t interested in making ourselves dinner, we decided to head down and grab a bite to eat and a couple of beers.

Opened in 2012, Northbound Smokehouse has found a home near Hiawatha on the border of the Powderhorn and Longfellow neighborhoods in Minneapolis. They have a full service restaurant and bar and, as the name implies, they specialize in smoking meats, cheeses, and other ingredients. Their dining room has high ceilings, a small bar, and plenty of windows providing natural light. Some of the brewery equipment is visible behind the bar, while another portion of their brewery can be seen from the street in an adjoining space. There is a medium sized communal patio. It’s private but allows for some great people watching, and while we were there it was fairly high energy.

After grabbing a beer at the bar and waiting for our seats to be ready on the patio, we ordered some smoked cheese curds. I found them fantastic, but be sure to share with someone because they are greasy, salty, and smokey! In addition to our appetizer, Samantha enjoyed her chili dog and I really liked my Smokehouse Salad with Smoked Trout. I should’ve gotten the half size, because it was too much for me to eat and I hated to leave any trout on the plate.

It didn’t look to me like they had flights, so I had to order by the pint and steal a bit of my wife’s beer. The first I had was their Big Jim Pineapple IPA. This is a twist on one of their main beers. The normal version is very hoppy and bitter so the pineapple sweetness cuts that to make it a little smoother. Even still, it was quite hoppy and at 7.2% ABV there was a faint booziness. It was absolutely full of flavor, but I would not recommend it to anyone that doesn’t like a hoppy bitter beer. I really enjoyed it and would like to try the normal version sometime for a comparison.

I was able to grab a taste of my wife’s Honey Wheat Ale. This one definitely had honey on the nose as well as the tongue. The wheat flavor wasn’t overpowering and it was very mellow. That resulted in a beer perfectly suited to summer on a patio. I finished with a Home Wreckin’ Rye.  It had an orange citrus aroma, a spicy hoppy flavor, and a dry finish. I haven’t tried many beers in this style, and I’m still trying to get a grasp on the rye.

I wish they would’ve had the option for a flight of beers, and honestly I might have just missed it. I’ll have to visit again to try a couple of their other beers. We knew our food would be smoked, but unfortunately we were also seated next to some smokers on the patio. Of course we understand this is a risk on a communal patio, but when we got our seats there were several other spots next to people that weren’t smoking. I’m not sure how this could be handled in the future, but we would have had a much better time if we were given the option to choose our seats. I think we’ll plan on returning in the winter and grabbing a spot inside.

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