It just so happens that the breweries that I visit the most I tend not to write about. I’m always thinking that I can take photos and write notes the next time I visit, but I just never do. This year my wife was pregnant and as a result we weren’t planning on visiting many new breweries. I vowed to do any and all blogging activities for each brewery that we visited but had never taken the time to write about. The top of that list is a taproom that’s so close to where I work that I’ve visited them more than any other, Lake Monster Brewing Company.
We’d spent the better part of the afternoon in Fargo, North Dakota. It was now time to venture across the Red River into Moorhead, Minnesota. Our last stop of the day was my most anticipated. I’d had many of their beers, seen photos of the taproom, and it was time to try them at the source. A quick drive later we rolled into the dusty parking lot next to Junkyard Brewing Company.
When my friend Mitch texted me and asked what I was doing the next Saturday I knew what was on his mind. He wanted to visit a brewery, the only question was which one. After he mentioned the Fargo-Moorhead area I knew what breweries he had in mind, and I knew that we would have to take full advantage of our time. At 8AM he arrived at my home in Bloomington and we began the long trek to Fargo Brewing Company the first stop of our jam-packed day trip.
There are a handful of breweries that open and I earmark as a must visit. In February of 2017 one brewery joined the ranks of many other Minneapolis brewers, and it stood out from the others. Early reports were favorable, but I like to let places condition a bit before I visit. More than a year later, my father mentioned that if I were to make the trip to Utepils Brewing, he would want to join. So we went.
It was our last day in Florida and thoughts of the weather back home began to creep back into my mind. We had decided to take a drive down to Sarasota, and after a stroll along the sunny Lido Key beach we took to shady St. Armand’s Circle for window shopping and a light lunch. With checks paid and hunger sated we ventured to the mainland toward our first drinking destination of the day: Calusa Brewing.
We’d made the drive out to North Sarasota to poke into Drum Circle Distilling and have a taste of their Siesta Key Rum, but it wasn’t enough for my mother-in-law. She was looking for more, and asked if I knew whether there were any breweries in the area. It just so happened that I’d done my research on the off chance we could make a second stop. So we jumped into the rental and blasted off to nearby JDub’s Brewing Company.
It’s fairly clear that beer and gluten go hand in hand. When you’re looking to meet up with an old college friend who has celiac disease you tend not to think of visiting a brewery, even if you are a beer blogger. Where there is a will there is a way, which is why I searched out the one notable exception that can be found around the Twin Cities: Burning Brothers Brewing.
My wife and I had just finished our delicious dinner at Hai Hai and after feeling the euphoria from their Hanoi Sticky Rice, I didn’t want the night to end. We’d been to all the usual spots in Northeast Minneapolis and we were in the mood for something new. There was exactly one taproom that we hadn’t visited: Able Seedhouse + Brewery.
There are a couple of breweries that have been on my “must visit” list for a couple of years now. The issue is that they are usually a bit out of the way or may have beers that may not be that approachable. When my friend Mitch expressed that he had a night free and wanted to visit a brewery I realized that the stars had aligned. It’d be just us, two craft beer lovers always looking for something new. I was quick to suggest HammerHeart Brewing Company, and he was quick to accept.
We pulled off Highway 169 and descended into the Minnesota River Valley. I’m always surprised that the landscape changes so dramatically from the pastoral scenery of the surrounding area. Our windows were down to enjoy the warm summer air and after a small bend in the road our destination emerged from the forest. u4ic Brewing was now in sight.