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.
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.
Anytime you have a metaphysical experience you should follow it up with a beer. Which is why, after running around and exploring the magical world of Meow Wolf, we took a walk around the corner to reflect on our experience and trade notes about all of the craziness. Our destination was one of several craft breweries in the area, and since one couple in our group was now pushing a stroller we chose the closest: Second Street Brewery’s Rufina Taproom.
I do a ton of research before traveling to a new place, and these days a fair chunk of that research is devoted to breweries. When we decided to visit New Mexico and I learned that we were flying into Albuquerque, my first thought was Breaking Bad. What I’d soon discover is that there is a relatively robust craft beer scene in the city, and I ended up with far too many breweries on my list for the two days we’d be in town. We had a full afternoon to visit a pair of breweries but we needed to stay near the airport so that we could pick up another couple that was arriving that evening. With the sun high and our throats dry we set out for Marble Brewery.
Taking an Uber in a town you’re not familiar with, at a location you’ve never been, can be a troubling experience. It’s how we found ourselves around the block from our hotel room watching our driver blow right by our hotel. We spent the next five minutes discussing how Jill’s Uber rating was going to go down before we finally got his attention! A short time later, we were pulling into the final destination of our trip, the nearby Coppertail Brewing Co.
After our first brewery of the day, we found ourselves a bit ahead of schedule. I was determined to get my money’s worth for the rental car which meant that it wasn’t quite time to head up to Tampa. Falling back on my pre-trip research, I knew that there was a brewery on our way north. It was without hesitation that we piled into the car and headed for our next stop: Big Top Brewing Company.
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.
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.
We haven’t taken this year’s Northern Ale Guide as seriously as we did last year. It’s looking like we’ll be lucky to finish half of the book, a far cry from the full stamping we previously notched. While snacking on delicious salsa at Pajarito in St. Paul our conversation naturally led us to where we should end our evening. It was only natural that we’d take a peak in the book and take the short drive to 12welve Eyes Brewing.