These days most of our friends know that I blog about our breweries. When they want to hang out, we don’t need to suggest a venue. Usually people want to share one of their favorite spots, their local taproom, or are looking to try something new. We recently had some out of state friends that wanted to meet up and they were quick to suggest a new brewery near the area they were staying. That’s how we found ourselves in the parking lot of Unmapped Brewing Co.
We’ve been trying to arrive a bit earlier than our guests lately. This gives me time to make some notes and take pictures without being rude. Everyone understands, but I’d rather be engaged in conversation than buried in my notes. It was really hopping (no pun intended) when we arrived and we were lucky enough to grab the end of a community table in the heart of the taproom that would be able to fit us and our guests. Long tables like this are perfect for taprooms and can really maximize the seating area for guests. It also gets you out of your comfort zone.
The first thing that I noticed was the giant mural on the far wall. If you know your geography you’ll instantly recognize it as a topographical map of the area with our current location marked. Why a brewery called Unmapped Brewing would have a giant mural of a map on their wall I find a little interesting but it’s a really nice touch that anchors your eyes in their very large open taproom. Unlike others the lighting in their space is bright and white. This plays off the dark ceiling to create somewhat of a starry night sky. After looking at their logo I began to realize the theme at Unmapped is the outdoors. They really create a cohesive space from top to bottom. Seeing so many abandoned strip malls in the suburbs it’s great to see what could’ve been an eyesore turn into a bright spot in the neighborhood.
Shortly after we ordered our beer our friends arrived. As we talked I settled into my flight of four: Flannel Roots Lager, Raspberry Prairie Wit, Excommunicator Doppelbock, and Apricot Sour Eclipse. I rounded out the flight with a pint of their Topo Wit. Of all of the beers the Raspberry Prairie was my favorite. It was an, aptly named, fruit beer with a fresh raspberry flavor and aroma. Sweet, clean, and wheaty, it kind of reminded me of Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries! I would’ve liked to dig a little deeper into their full tap list of 12 beers, but I was finding that going a month without drinking was really kicking my butt when it came to beers. Reflecting back, it was probably the Excommunicator that put me under at 8.5% ABV.
There’s a lot of cool features of the taproom that need mentioning. They’ve got a European style water spigot which was nicely integrated into their bar. This was great because because the water delivery system at a lot of breweries seems like an afterthought and seeing it thought through at this level was a nice touch. One thing you won’t miss are the shuffleboards. But something that you might overlook is the leaderboard for their shuffleboard leagues posted at the opposite end of the taproom. I wish I had some friends in the area because this would be a nice pastime. Not that I need an excuse to drink! A couple of other things are their funky blue rope dividers and the garage door opening on their patio. The weather wasn’t great on the night of our visit, but in typical Minnesota fashion there were several people braving the cool night air.
Not surprisingly, due to the location, the demographic in the taproom skewed older. I personally loved that since I’m getting to the age where the younger crowd begins to bother me. Never thought I’d become a crotchety old man but I’m well on my way. While I wasn’t blown away by the beer, I didn’t try them all and none of my notes reflect poorly on the ones I did try. There were certainly some that piqued my interest that I’ll have to try if I visit again. One thing I can say was that it was the perfect place to catch up with some old friends. A lively taproom is always good for that.