Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Loving the settings & beer at these greater Minnesota breweries July 14, 2017

A flight of craft beer from F-Town Brewing in my community of Faribault. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

 

FIVE YEARS AGO if anyone had suggested I would drink (and like) craft beer, I would have laughed. I was only the occasional have-a-beer-with-your-pizza or on a hot summer evening type of beer drinker. And at that, I drank whatever mass produced beer the husband had stocked in the fridge.

How my tastes have changed. I can no longer drink beer that flows by the gallons into bottles or cans inside a sprawling factory. Those beers taste like water to me. Rather, I’ve become a beer snob, preferring hoppy IPAs crafted at small breweries.

I’ll be the first to tell you my preference for craft beer developed over time as an acquired taste. But once acquired, I was hooked, enough so that I, along with my husband, seek out craft breweries. These specialty businesses are an experience, not just a place to try new beers.

 

Reads Landing Brewing Company in Reads Landing, Minnesota.

 

Two recent road trips took us to Reads Landing Brewing Company (between Lake City and Wabasha) and to Imminent Brewing Company. They are distinctly different breweries, but both with excellent beer. And I don’t say that about every craft beer.

We almost missed the Reads Landing establishment in the same named unincorporated community along U.S. Highway 61 in southeastern Minnesota. The brewery sits at the base of a hillside, a train track away from the Mississippi River. Housed inside an historic 1870 former dry goods store, the setting hearkens to bygone days. As an appreciator of old buildings, I delighted in the location and the wide window view of the Mississippi.

 

Randy and I shared a sampler flight of Reads Landing beer.

 

With the exception of slow service on a weekday afternoon when the place wasn’t overly busy, I rate Reads Landing Brewing highly. Randy and I settled onto high chairs at the front window for a perfect view of the river and a slow moving train. Then we waited and waited until the bartender/waiter finally got off the phone, noticed us and then made excuses for his lack of attention. Thankfully, the house-made beers in the sampler flight and accompanying Bavarian Style Soft Pretzel Sticks with homemade beer cheese and mustard dipping sauces compensated for the inattention and left us with a mostly good impression of this brewpub.

Of special note is the Cap’n Amber beer, a beer into which Cap’n Crunch cereal is incorporated in the mash. All of the beers were to our liking; we’d recommend this beer and brewery.

 

The patio outside Imminent Brewing Company in Northfield, Minnesota.

 

Farther inland to the north and east in the riverside college town of Northfield, we checked out the recently-opened Imminent Brewing. I love this place, declaring to Randy that this was my absolute favorite brewery. Located in a former National Guard Armory garage, the brewery has an industrial look and a welcoming vibe. There’s just something about this place that seems particularly comfortable for anyone from a blue collar worker to a college professor.

The brewery also features an expansive patio. And, bonus, food trucks. On this particular weekday evening, Randy and I enjoyed arepas from Noris Cuisine. We didn’t stick around for the live music.

We shared a flight sampler of simply superb craft beers. We’ll be back, given the location some 15 miles from our home.

And we’ll be checking out Tanzenwald, the other new brewery in Northfield, sometime soon.

TELL ME: Do you drink craft beer and/or visit craft breweries? Share your favorites.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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16 Responses to “Loving the settings & beer at these greater Minnesota breweries”

  1. Littlesundog Says:

    Forrest enjoys craft beers… and has a stash of limited and seasonal brews that can only be gotten at certain times of the year. He enjoys ordering a flight sampler when we have good fortune to visit a new brewery. He prefers the darker beers. I am more of an IPA girl. Our last great favorite place to sample craft beer was our stay in NYC three years ago. There was a brew house just across the street that had a new list of statewide and local craft beers each week. Fortunately for us, we were there between weeks where we sampled all sorts of great beers from the state of New York. The food was great too and priced very reasonably. It’s very much about the complete experience (atmosphere is big with me) for us!

  2. Imminent Brewing is on my list to try – for now I follow them on social media to see what they are crafting. The small community I live in has become craft beer mecca – think up to 8 now – my favorite is de Bine Brewing Company – http://debinebrewingco.com/. There is just something about craft beer and the sense of community it creates – brewing locally, sourcing locally, supporting other businesses (i.e. food trucks) – creating that down home, sit on a stool, relax on the patio vibe – each one is different and then you find the “one” you like to hang at. Here you can ride your bike and hit the craft breweries that are along the trail – plus we can stop at the local America Legion along the trail for a $1 local craft beer too. Happy Weekend – Cheers – Enjoy 🙂

    • It sounds like you have some wonderful craft brewery opportunities in your area. and $1 local craft beer at the Legion? Wow, that’s an incredible deal. Around these parts a glass of craft beer will cost you $5.

  3. BradG Says:

    I couldn’t think of a better hobby for you and Randy as you move into your retirement years. We have dozens of local craft breweries (hard apple cider too) in this part of North Carolina.

  4. Almost Iowa Says:

    I have been to both Northfield breweries and they are excellent. Great beer, good people.

  5. Valerie Says:

    I’m so glad you found your way to Imminent Brewery. It is a great place!
    Have fun sampling and keep reporting back!

  6. Charles Hess Says:

    I make my own beer. I have a Mr. Beer kit. I have a German Octoberfest that I will start drinking in 10 days. My next batch that I will put in the fermenter is a Mexican Cervesa. I am looking forward to that one.

  7. dapperrhino Says:

    Must check these out on my next walkabout the US! There’s a place in Missouri, Levi Garrison & Sons brewery that is also worth a try if you’re ever in the area!

    • Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve never been to Missouri, but do have extended family who live there and thus may eventually visit that state.

      We would love to have you in Minnesota trying out some of our breweries.

  8. I’ve never had a craft beer but it looks like a fun experience


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