Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Return to The Cities - Part I

Last weekend we had reason to be back in the Twin Cities - a wedding reception - and took full advantage of the four days to visit not just friends, but two new-since-we-moved taprooms. We knew there would be plenty more friends to see and beer to drink than we would have time for so we didn't have a set agenda. Both of the visits were of the hey-we-have-some-extra-time variety and reacquainted us with a couple of brands that used to be regulars in our pint glasses.

Friday dawned down right Portlandish, and after a Cuban breakfast at Victor's 1959 Cafe, a little bowling at Bryant Lake Bowl and "necessary" stops for beer and cigars we made our way to Fulton. Fulton was around before our move - starting in 2009 - but had primarily been putting out one beer, Sweet Child of Vine. They've done well over the last three years, introducing more beers and setting up their own brewery outfitted with a taproom. On the days the taproom is open, currently Fridays 3 - 10 pm, Saturdays 12 - 10 pm and whenever there is a Twins home baseball game - they're located just blocks away from the new stadium. Although they don't serve any food you're more than welcome to purchase food from one of the food carts you'll find outside the brewery's doors. Nate Dogs is one of the regular visitors however when we visited Hola Arepa was cooking up tasty treats.

The taproom is good sized and has recently been outfitted with a gigantic flat screen TV. They, of course, are still pouring Sweet Child of Vine, but also Lonely Blonde, The Ringer and The Libertine. I went, somewhat hesitantly, for the Sweet Child. I recalled it had been OK in the past, but not really what I was looking for in an IPA. It turns out it was a good idea to give it a second chance. This time around I thoroughly enjoyed it and while it's possible they've done some recipe tweaking, I also heard from others that it's best at the taproom. Before we departed the four of us (aka The 4-Pack) split a goblet of The Libertine. Now, this was some really good beer, but at 8.5% it was a prudent plan to have a few ounces rather than a few goblets.

It was really great to see a taproom full of people enjoying beer. It was also really cool to hear that in this fledgling but growing food cart city, an obvious match has been made. I'd love to see some of Portland's taprooms - The Commons and Upright to name two - strike up a similar relationship with a few of the mobile food carts.

Check back tomorrow to hear about the second place we checked out.

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