In early December my wife and I realized that a Groupon we’d purchased was about to expire. It was for a flight, two pints, and a growler, which was something we didn’t want to go to waste. So, on the last day of eligibility we made the trip into St. Paul to visit the relatively new Sidhe Brewing Company.
Sidhe (pronounced “she”) is an entirely female owned and operated brewery. Since the founder and head brewer Kathleen Culhane is Wiccan they are bringing something very unique to the Minnesota beer scene. The name of the brewery is Irish for fairy and that fantasy flair is even further reflected in the names of their beers as well as their attitude towards brewing.
With more of a coffeehouse feel than a taproom we know we were in for something different right when we arrived. It was warm and inviting with no metal in sight. As we entered we got a birds eye view of the entire place. There were a handful of tables, a decent sized bar, and a stage in the corner. The stage would play an integral part of our experience. Their calendar is packed with events that you wouldn’t expect to see. They’ve got your usual musicians, but they’ve also got comedians, belly dancers, story tellers and more. The night we visited there was an economist giving a seminar. That’s something I feel confident I won’t see at any other taproom!
They are located directly behind the Señor Sol Mexican restaurant and you’re able to walk over, order some food, and they’ll deliver it right to you. While you’re waiting you can enjoy one of their many boardgames. They’ve got one of the larger collections I’ve seen in a taproom. There was also a Pay it Forward wall behind the bar. Patrons are able to buy a beer for others that match a certain criteria by paying and then placing a card onto the wall. The criteria is as open ended as you are creative. There was everything from a specific person’s name, to a divorced firefighter, and everything in between. Very cool!
I was able to try all of their beers in our flight of eight. I began with the Señor Sol Victorious a Vienna Style Lager. It was well balanced with a sweet and clean malty flavor that was easy to drink and very refreshing. I wish we would’ve ordered some Mexican food to go with it! Next was the None-kin Apple Ale. It was deep yellow with a very tart apple flavor. It almost reminded me of a graf. The Greenman’s Harvest is their take on a Nut Brown Ale and it was rich and creamy with a faint aroma and flavor of roasted nuts. Dark Moon Rising is a Dry Stout and while it had the usual flavor and aroma of a stout the dry finish counteracted the sweetness to make it remarkably easy to drink.
The next two beers would be my two favorites of the night and both were American IPAs. Red Hare had a citrus/fruit aroma with a subdued hoppy/bitter flavor. The combination made this one go down very easy. Hopped Up McGonigal was fairly high in alcohol content at 8.3% ABV, yet the hops and malty sweetness didn’t give way to any major booziness. After six beers it was time to try the Barking Cat. This is a Belgian Style Golden Strong Ale. At 9.9% I described this on in my notes as a “boozy doozy.” It had a heavy aroma of bananas and cloves, with a saccharine sweet flavor. It was good but 3oz was enough for me by this point! We finished the flight with their Milk Stout: In Darkest Minter. As you can tell by the name the flavor was chocolatey and minty. Not unlike a liquid thin mint! We grabbed a growler of this one to share for the holidays.
Sidhe Brewing was a very fun and unique experience for us. There was a very interesting mix of people. While economics isn’t my primary interest it was nice to see something different than normal. The staff was very friendly and made us feel very welcome. Next time I would grab something to eat at Señor Sol and have it delivered. I didn’t learn about that trick until later in the night. If you’re looking for some great beer and something a little out of the ordinary, then you can’t go wrong with Sidhe Brewing Company!