Food & Beverage
We were weren't much for drinking beer until we discovered craft beer. The combinations of the flavor varieties and the environment of the breweries turned on a passion for BEER.
Over the years we have been to 83 different breweries across the country and look forward to continuing our exploration of breweries across this great country.
Living in the Minneapolis areas really provided a great opportunities to experience the beer scene right in our back door. We still have not been to all of the breweries that this area has to offer.
Attached is a list of the breweries we have visited. I have included a "rating". This rating is for the overall experience, not just the beer. Includes: Beer, environment/vibe, facilities, service, amenities. A scale of 1-5 was used with the following breakdown:
5: Most awesome, will go out of my way to go again
4: Excellent experience, would go again.
3: I would go again if nothing better is available.
2: It was ok but I wouldn't go again.
1: Disappointing experience.
2022 Visits & Reviews
Guys Place, Fulton MS 5/17/2022
Monks Ale House, Sioux Falls SD 5/21/2022
Lost Cabin Beer Co, Rapid City SD 6/4/2022
La Forchetta da Massi, Pueblo CO 6/11/2022
Moonshine Gultch Saloon, Rochford SD 6/25/2022
Crow Peak Brewing, Spearfish SD 6/27/2022
Spearfish Public House, Spearfish SD 6/27/2022
La Forchetta da Massi*****
Location: 126 S Union Ave, Pueblo, CO 81003
While driving around the night before, I happened to catch this place out of the corner of my eye. It looked like an Italian restaurant, but I didn't get a good look at it. The next day we were looking for a place to eat so I looked up this place and verified it was Italian. The menu looked awesome, so we decided to give it a try. What an excellent choice! This place was amazing. It's small but rather quaint. We choose to dine on the patio, which turned out to be a good choice, more space and not so noisy.
The service was excellent, and the food was amazing. We started with the Burrata. Tomato's, Kalamata olives, tomato's, basil, large ball of mozzarella cheese, balsamic glaze, EVOO, and bread. It was soooo fresh and tasty!
Alex had the Sicilianna (eggplant, fresh mozzarella, oregano with tomato sauce, cheese and he added sausage). Patricia had the Gamberetti Fantasia (shrimp in pesto cream sauce with fresh strawberry salad and orange zest parmesan risotto pie.
I had the special of seafood penne in arugula pesto sauce (shrimp, crab, scallops).
The chef is from Milan. Not only was this authentic, it was amazing! Everyone was blown away by there choices.
So often when we go out to eat, we come away disappointed. Not this time! This will definitely be on our list to return when we are in the area.
Lost Cabin Beer Co.*****
Location: 1401 W Omaha St #3, Rapid City, SD 57701
I've been to a number of the craft breweries in Rapid City but never to Lost Cabin Beer Co. I don't know what I was waiting for!
This place fits right into the lane that I appreciate about the craft beer experience. The destination breweries are great, but I really like the places that are the smaller scale, more intimate setting. I also gauge a brewery by their selection of beers and if it makes it hard to decide what to drink. This place hits on all of my criteria. This place had 24 offerings!! The diversity in the offerings was quite amazing. Pale ales, IPA's, Black IPA's, variety of hazy IPA's, Scotch Ales, Barrel Aged Scotch Ales (both a bourbon barrel and wine barrel option was offered), Hefeweizen, philsner, Belgian Wit, Barrel aged Saison. Dang, how do I choose?
The barrel aged offerings really got my attention. Scotch Ales are not common, and I was really leaning in the that direction. But I've never had, or even heard of, a Barrel Aged Saison (aged in wine barrel). All are high %ABU offerings so having multiple standard pours was really out of the question, so I opted a for a flight of 4oz pours. I normally don't go for flights, since I like a larger serving to really get to know a particular offering, but this seemed like the only solution to the dilemma.
The barrel aged Saison was such an enjoyable drink, perfect fit for a warm summer afternoon. The high % didn't come across when drinking and could get you in trouble. The barrel aged scotch ales were really amazing. The bourbon barrel was my preference but the wine barrel version was also VERY good.
I definitely will be back when in the area !
Guy's Place — MIDWAY MARINA 394
Location: 641 Joe Wheeler Brown Rd, Fulton MS 38843
Guys Place is located just above the Midway Marinna in Fulton MS. The outdoor patio has a wonderful view of the marina and the Tenn-Tom waterway. This was located right next to the campground we were staying at and decided to give it a try. This was a home run for us!
We started wtih the Boom-Boom shrimp appetizer. Two large skewers of shrimp topped with a spicy sauce. YUM! I went with the Southern Roots Catfish which was a huge filet served with hushpuppies and coleslaw. The fish was wonderful. The cornbread coating was really good and not fishy or greasy at all. Patricia went with a parmesan crusted chicken breast.
The service was top notch, and the outdoor views were awesome!
Monks Ale House | South Dakota's Original Craft Beer Bar - Sioux Falls, SD (monks-sf.com)
Location: 420 East 8th Street Sioux Falls, SD 57103
Full disclosure. I have been coming to Monks in Sioux Falls for years. It's my favorite place in SF and is a must go whenever I'm in town. It's located in an old electrical supply building that I used to go by all the time as a kid.
The list of craft beers on tap is extensive (50 to be exact) and the most comprehensive I have ever encountered. We typically don't like the typical bar atmosphere, but this place is different. The atmosphere is in its own lane and we just love it. Service has always been top notch and the staff is knowledgeable about the many beer offerings.
The food menu is decent with a large variety of pizza's, that are excellent by the way, and also offers a number of salads, sandwiches, and appetizers. During my last visit I went outside my normal lane and tried their masked potato pizza, Didn't know what to expect but it actually was quite good. Not really pizza but it was enjoyable.
2021 Visits & Reviews
Cryrstal Ridge Distillery, Hot Springs AR 6/9/2021
GOTAHOLD Brewing, Eureka Springs AR 6/10/2021 & 6/12/2021
Bentonville Brewing, Bentonville AR 6/13/2021
Joe's Kansas City BBQ, Overland Park KS 6/16/2021
Martin City Brewing, Martin City MO 6/19/2021
Kansas City Bier, Kansas City 6/20/2021
Hawaiian Brothers, Belton MO 6/24/2021
Spearfish Brewing, Spearfish SD 7/3/2021
Sawyer Brewing, Spearfish SD 7/10/2021
Crow Peak Brewing, Spearfish SD 7/11/2021
Wyoming Whiskey, Kirby WY 7/17/2021
Ten Sleep Brewing, Ten Sleep WY 7/17/2021
Black Tooth Brewing, Sheridan WY 7/18/2021
Toppling Goliath Brewing, Decorah IA 8/9/2021
Sylvan Brewing, Lanesboro MN 8/12/2021
Confluence Brewing, Des Moines IA 8/14/2021
515 Brewing, Des Moines IA 8/15/2021
Makers Mark Distillery, Loretto KT 8/25/2021
Limestone Distillery, Lebanon KT 8/25/2021
Heaven Hill Distillery, Bardstown KT 8/30/2021
1792 Distillery, Bardstown KT 8/30/2021
Woodford Reserve Distillery, Versailles 9/1/2021
Four Roses Distillery, Lawrenceburg KY 9/1/2021
Wild Turkey Distillery, Lawrenceburg KY 9/1/2021 (Gift shop only)
Angles Envy Distillery, Louisville KY 9/2/2021
Dizzy Whiz Drive-Inn, Louisville KY 9/2/2021
Rabbit Hole Distillery, Louisville KY 9/2/2021
Old Forester Distillery, Louisville KY 9/2/2021 (Gift shop only)
Peerless Distillery, Louisville KY 9/2/2021 (Gift shop only)
Bulleit Distilling, Shelbyville KY 9/4/2021 (Single Barrel Pour and Gift shop)
Jeptha Creed Distillery, Shelbyville KY 9/4/2021
Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort KY 9/9/2021
Dizzy Whizz Drive-Inn*****
Location: 217 St Catherine St, Louisville, KY 40203
We finished our tour at Angels Envy and it was time for lunch. As I searched out our options for a quick bite, I came across the Dizzy Whizz. This place had high marks on Google and looked like a quaint hole in the wall place that sometimes can turn out to be amazing.............this wasn't one of them.
To be fair, the food was ok. I had the WhizzBurger and fries, both were pretty tasting. Patricia had chicken strips, they were just ok. Our biggest issue, the place was FILTHY. The tables were extremely close together, you could hardly walk thru the dining room even when the place was empty.
We will still mark this up as an experience, just not one I would wish to repeat.
Angel's Envy Distillery *****
Location: 500 E Main St, Louisville, KY 40202
I was definitely aware of Angel's Envy but I have never owned a bottle and had a single pour once, so I was curious to check this place out. The distillery is located right downtown across from the Louisville Slugger Minor League baseball park in an old restored building that once housed the Louisville Distilling Company.
The tour was hosted by a very knowledgeable guide that communicated well. The group size was also limited to 12 so it was easy to hear and communicate with the guide. The distillery is quite unique. The building is very old school but the interior was very modern with a large cathedral/ballroom housing the still and the fermentation tanks. There is a major expansion in the works that will be interesting to see when it's finished.
The tour ended in a really neat tasting room. The tasting bar is a large tree that has been quartered lengthwise and makes up two sides of the tasting bar. VERY COOL! The tasting is limited to 3 samples. 1st is a Bourbon finished in port barrels, 2nd is a Rye finished in Caribbean run barrels, and the 3rd is the Bourbon served on the rocks. The bourbon was excellent but the Rye was out of this world!! Unfortunately both are really outside my typical price point.
I definitely would seek this place out if we were ever in this area again.
Rabbit Hole Distillery *****
Location: 711 E Jefferson St, Louisville, KY 40202
Rabbit Hole was a complete unknown to me. Only reason we came here is because I was able to find a tour slot open on the day we were going to Angels Envy. I guess my expectations were pretty low and maybe that influenced by perception. However.......
We arrive and enter into a smaller but really nice visitor center. There is a nice outdoor patio at the entrance that was perfect to kill some time while we waiting for the tour to start. To our surprise, our tour guide brought out some Old Fashions for us to enjoy while we waiting for the start!! Big PLUS. Tour size was limited in size, another BIG PLUS. The facility was very modern (sort of prefer the old school vibe) but was setup with tours in mind, another BIG PLUS. The tour guide was knowledgeable, fun, and communicated well, BIG PLUS. The large cathedral area housing the stills and the fermentation tanks was amazing and you were able to taste the mash out of the tanks, BIG PLUS. Can you see where this is going? The tour finished in a tasting area/bar on the 3rd floor that had an amazing view overlooking the downtown and had an outside deck and a large indoor seating area. The tasting was awesome and included 4 whiskeys and 1 gin. The guide also knew how to run a tasting and helped guide you thru the experience. The spirits were very enjoyable, of special note was the last pour that was called "Dareringer" that is a Straight Bourbon finished in a sherry bask. Simply amazing! The only downer is the price point of their offerings is really outside of my normal range. I might breakdown and get a bottle to have for special occasions.
After the tour finished I ordered a 2oz pour of the Dareringer and we sat and enjoyed to beautiful view and spirit.
This gets 5 starts since I will go out of my way to return if we are every in the area, .
Four Roses Distillery *****
Location: 1224 Bonds Mill Rd, Lawrenceburg, KY 40342
This is our 2nd visit to this distillery, our first was 6 years ago. We had a very positive experience 6 years ago, not so much this time.
The grounds a beautiful and a complete architectural contrast to the other distilleries we have visited. However, they have very large groups in the tour and us headsets for the tour guide to communicate. Not terrible, but the tour guide talked at 100 miles an hour and was very difficult to understand at times. I also found that with the headsets there tended to not be any 2 way communication between the guide and the participants. The tour also felt VERY rushed, including the tasting. The tasting room was tight and since they used round tables many ended up with their backs to the guide doing the tasting. The tasting was also rushed and with the poor communication many of the details I was interested in where lost.
Now that the distilleries are asking top dollar for the tours/tastings, I expect to get an experience commensurate with the cost. We didn't get our monies worth here.
Woodford Reserve Distillery *****
Location: 7785 McCracken Pike, Versailles, KY 40383
This would be our third visit to Woodford Reserve. We were able to partake in the full tour during our first 2 visits but were unable to secure a tour spot during this visit. We were fortunate enough to at least get into a tasting.
We enjoy Wood Reserve bourbon and the ground are special. The visitor center is very upscale which is in contrast to the rest of the grounds that have a very old school vibe. During our first experience with the Bourbon Trail we found the tasting at Woodford to really set the bar in the exploration of their product. Fortunately others have follow suite and we found many distilleries to have similar experience. This visit was no exception, almost. The way the tasting was experienced was the same as before EXCEPT they were out of two whiskeys, Double Oak and Malt Whiskey, that was extremely disappointing. You pay $25 for a tasting of 5 products and 2 of the 5 are out! Frankly felt a little ripped off. Based on this I'm giving 3 stars. If I based the rating on our previous experiences I would be giving 4+ to maybe even 5 stars.
Makers Mark Distillery *****
Location: 3350 Burks Spring Rd, Loretto, KY 40037
We started our exploration of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail with Makers Mark, the first bourbon distillery we had every visited some 10 years ago during a motorcycle trip thru Kentucky. Lots of changes in the facility have happened over those 10 years but lots has stayed to same. The amazing grounds have stayed the same but many of the changes/improvements are actually in the direction of being more "commercial". Similar to the changes observed at Jack Daniels. These changes aren't terrible but the quaint feel isn't quite there. On the positive, the tasking experience is MUCH better. 10 years ago our tasting was in the gift shop, standing around a barrel, with the samples handed out 1 by one. Now there is a beautiful tasting room all setup for the tasting experience. The one disappointment was the distillery was closed for renovation so we couldn't actually go into the heart of the beast. Fortunately we had been in there before, but not being able to experience the smell of the mash was a little disappointing.
515 Brewing *****
Location: 7700 University Ave suite c, Clive, IA 50325
I have been to 515 a number times in the past. I always struggle choosing between 515 and Confluence. 515 is a smaller scale, more intimate, atmosphere. They have a great beer selection and I just love their Belgian Tripple. It's like a Hefeweizen on steroids! Just a lovely beer that is so enjoyable.
Confluence Brewing *****
Location: 1235 Thomas Beck Rd, Des Moines, IA 50315
This is probably my 4th visit to Confluence Brewery. I was first introduced to the Belgian Quad here which really opened my beer world to the Belgian style beer.
This place is located in an industrial area along the river and is next to a popular bike trail. They have a realy nice indoor and outdoor areas and is clearly popular with the locals. What is most impressive is the beer offerings. The list is extensive and includes many offerings that others don't have. During out last visit I had a pour of the American style barlywine that is truly amazing. It does carry a hefty 13.5% abv but it doesn't come across as boozy. It was not as sweet as the more traditional English style barlywine has a little more hop notes. Truly an enjoyable beer.
Toppling Goliath Brewing *****
Location: 1600 Prosperity Rd, Decorah, IA 52101
I have been to Toppling Goliath Brewing many times when it was located in the old Pizza Hut building that was right in town. In 2018 they moved to a new location just southeast of town. This new facility is incredible but they also have really raised the bar on the beer to match this facility. They definitely created a destination brewery on par with Surly, Dogfish Head, Treehouse, etc. The indoor and outdoor areas are large and have a great vibe.
They have a really good selection of beers on tap with numerous options for each style of beer. They are well known for their Imperial Stouts and had numerous available. The one negative is the price, most were $10 for a 4oz pour, ouch! I started with a 4oz pour of he Morning Delight 2021 (Imperial Stout) with a 12.8% abv. The nose was real heavy on the coffee notes so I didn't think I wasn't going to enjoy this but the taste was incredible. Very little coffee on the taste but heavy on the brown sugar & maple. This was really an amazing beer. I think this tops the Raisen D; Extra that has been my top beer from Dogfish Head. I finished with a pour of the Soul Hunter Imperial IPA. This is a hazy IPA with an 7.8% abv. The hop assault is significant with lots of citrus notes. I real enjoyable beer.
I will definitely seek this place out if I'm anywhere near this place.
Black Tooth Brewing *****
Location: 312 Broadway St #3917, Sheridan, WY 82801
There are three different craft breweries in Sheridan WY. After checking out the beer offerings on-line I selected Black Tooth Brewing for a visit. Boy did I make the right pick!!
The brewery is located in an old brick building that has been renovated but yet retains the unique features and character of an old building. There is a nice outdoor area and a wonderful indoor area that has a great vibe. The indoor area is quite large and has a decent size stage for musical performances. They host a number of musical events throughout the year.
What brought me here was the beer offerings. In particular was the 1314 Strong English Ale. Unfortunately they were tapped out on this beer but fortunately they did have cans available. This strong ale was barrel aged in a whiskey barrel from Wyoming Whiskey which we just visited a few days prior. This beer was AWESOME!!! Given the ABV of this beer (11.5%) I didn't have a chance to try any of the other offerings. If they can make a beer this good I'm sure the other offerings will also be outstanding.
I don't give 5 stars very often but I will go out of my way to come back here again.
Wyoming Whiskey *****
Location: 100 S Nelson St, Kirby, WY 82430
A couple we meet in Spearfish City Campground told us about this place so we decided to check it out. Wyoming Whiskey is located in the VERY small town of Kirby WY that is 12 miles from Thermopolis WY. This is a VERY off beaten path but is definitely quintessential Wyoming.
Unfortunately they have not resumed tours of the distillery but the small gift shop, that is setup in an old small house that has been update, is open for tastings. As is the case with most of these types of experiences the personnel really make or break the experience. We had a terrific young gal give our tasting and she did a great job. She was informative and made the experience fun. They sampled 5 different bourbons, all were very good. Unfortunately, all but the small batch whiskey were really outside the price point I'm willing to pay for a bourbon, regardless of how good it is.
Ten Sleep Brewing *****
Location: 2549 US-16, Ten Sleep, WY 82442
Ten Sleep Brewing is in the very small community of Ten Sleep that is at the western base of the Big Horn Mountains. It's situated at the base of a red rock wall that provides an incredible back drop for the outdoor music stage they have setup. The view of the mountains is breath taking and is what makes this place so special. The decor and vibe of this place perfectly matches the environment.
The beer selection and beer is just ok, nothing special. If the beer was the only consideration I really would not return. The other attributes is what will bring me back.
Spearfish Brewing *****
Location: 741 N Main St #130, Spearfish, SD 57783
Spearfish Brewing is right on Main Street in the middle of the action. It's connected to Redwater Kitchen and you can order food from the Kitchen. There is both inside and outside tables with the outside tables overlooking the sidewalk and street. Great place to people watch. The vibe is decent and lively when I was there. The staff seemed to be hustling while I was there.
A large selection of beers was on the menu. But for some reason the offerings really didn't speak to me. Can't really put a finger on it. I ended up getting a pour of an Imperial Stout that was a decent drinker. The biggest thing to me was that staff wasn't engaging at all. I sat at the bar by myself and usually the staff will engage you in a little conversation. I didn't get anything. To be honest it was a little weird.
Given there are two other breweries in town I will likely not be going back.
Hawaiian Brothers *****
Location: 1112 E North Ave Belton, MO 64012
Never expected to ever make a note about a fast food joint but here I am. This placed looked interested so we thought we would give it a try for a quick lunch. We were pleasantly surprised by the wonderful meal and experience we had here.
There specialty is plate lunches that come with a scoop of rice, scoop of macaroni salad, and a choice of chicken or pork prepared Hawaiian style also served over rice. There is only 7 different menu offerings but enough variety to please your mood. Huli Huli Chicken, Molokai Chicken, Honolulu Chicken, Luau Pork, Kilauea Chicken, and Pacific Island Salad are the offerings. Patricia had the Honolulu Chicken and I had the spicy Kilauea Chicken. Both were excellent. The service was great and the price was reasonable.
Kansas City Bier *****
Location: 310 W 79th St, Kansas City, MO 64114
Alex introduced us to this place many years ago and we have visited many times. It's a true German Bier Brewery and is faithful to those beers and hasn't fallen to the typical craft beer offerings. In addition to being faithful to the beer they are also faithful to the food offerings. I'm usually not real fond of breweries that also serve food since they often are really restaurants that also serve beer. There are exceptions and this is one of them, The food is not an after thought and the beer isn't an after thought.
I'm hooked on their Weizenbock, a Pale Doppelbock Wheat Ale, think of an Imperial Hefeweizen. Just an amazing beer that goes so well with the various sausages they have available.
The Bier Garden atmosphere is very enjoyable. This is a popular place. During our last visit we arrived 10 minutes after opening on a Saturday and they were packed, inside and out. We decided to go elsewhere and try again on Sunday. This time we arrive well before opening hours so we could get a table.
I give 5 stars since I would go out of my way to go back to this place.
Joe's Kansas City BBQ (formerly Oklahoma Joe's) *****
Location: 11723 Roe Ave, Leawood, KS 66211
In my opinion this is the best BBQ in Kansas City. Other places may have better atmosphere but their brisket and ribs are outstanding! We starting coming to this location when Alex lived in Overland Park and we had to go here since we were in the area.
The place has more of a cafeteria vibe but once the food arrives it just doesn't matter. This place gets REAL busy at peak times so we went in the late afternoon before the dinner crowd started. Everything here is top notch but I went for the ribs and brisket with fries and Patricia went for the smoked chicken. The fries are excellent and the serving size is very large but the highlight is the meat. The brisket is just the best I have ever had and the ribs are outstanding. I make a good smoked spare rib but theirs are at a whole different level. I know the original location has a much better vibe but frankly it just doesn't matter.
Bentonville Brewing *****
Location: 901 SW 14th St, Bentonville, AR 72712
I don't give 5 stars very often but this play was amazing. Think a smaller version of Surly Brewing. First off, it's located in the beautiful town of Bentonville AR. A VERY nice town. The outside area is just incredible. They have a fenced in area for a dog park that includes tables/chairs so dog owners can let their dogs run loose while enjoying a beverage. They had a fenced in area with small bikes for little tikes to play. Large outdoor seating area with umbrellas and large canopy so you can be outside and have shade. The beer offerings was long and complete. The indoor area has a great vibe. A food truck was available outside and a Gastropub was located inside. But don't get the idea that this is more restaurant then Brewery. The Gastropub is definitely separate from the Brewery. The service was attentive and friendly. Andy finally, the beer was GREAT! I started with a Hazy IPA that was spot on. Really hit the citrus and juicy profile. I finished with an Imperial Stout that was incredible. Certainly one of the better onces I have had.
A 5 star rating means that I would go out of my way to go here again, and I would.
GETAHOLD Brewery *****
Location: 409 W Van Buren, Eureka Springs, AR 72632
It's been awhile since I have been to a brewery. The whole pandemic thing has been a real disrupter. I decided enough was enough and headed into Eureka Springs to check this place out.
It's quaint and the facility is has a great vibe to it. The beer selection is a little limited but not too bad. I did a few samples before choosing a short pour of the Saison. It was an ok drinker but it seemed to be lacking a little. This was the case with the samples I also had, they all seemed to be just lacking. No off-putting tastes but just a little lacking. I finished with a Double IPA that was very enjoyable and wasn't lacking at all.
The staff was very friendly and I got to meet the head brewer. He has actually been to the Bockfest at Scheels brewery and was knew of the Nobel Star Collection.
They had a neat outside area in the back with a small stage for live entertainment.
Crystal Ridge Distillery *****
Location: 455 Broadway Street, Hot Springs AR
I had no plans to go to Crystal Ridge Distillery. They make Moonshine and this isn't really in my lane of preference. After a failed attempt to go to Superior Brewing and the Cooper Penny Pub I landed here as a last resort. I was looking to kill some time while Patricia as at the Quapaw Bathhouse.
The facility is really cool with a tasting bar, a regular bar, special event areas, and of course the distillery. It quickly came clear that what they specialize in is flavored moonshine. They had to have 15 different flavors of moonshine. The tasting was $10 which allowed for 6 samples along with 3 samples of mixed drinks. The tasting was enjoyable and I found many to be decent. Really falls into a Liqueur category.
Bottom line is I enjoyed to experience and was glad I went. Am I now a moonshine drinker, nope.....
2020 Brewery Visits & Reviews
Remedy Brewing, Sioux Falls SD 6/18/2020
Obscure Brewing, Sioux Falls SD 6/20/2020
Sawyer Brewing, Spearfish SD 6/26/2020
Hay Camp Brewing, Rapid City SD 6/28/2020
Crow Peak Brewing, Spearfish SD 7/5/2020
Miner Brewing, Hill City SD 7/11/2020
Sick N' Twisted Brewing, Hill City SD 7/13/2020
Ten Sleep Brewing, Ten Sleep WY 7/20/2020
Red Lodge Ale's, Red Lodge MT 7/27/2020
Copper Furrow Brewing, Helena MT 7/31/2020
Lewis & Clark Tap Room, Helena MT 8/1/2020
Ten Mile Creek, Helena MT 8/2/2020
Backslope Brewing, Columbia Falls MT 8/3/2020
Bias Brewing, Kalispell MT 8/5/2020
Bozeman Brewing, Bozeman MT 8/10, 8/11, 8/13/2020
Mountains Walking Brewery, Bozeman MT 8/12/2020
Mountains Walking Brewery *****
Location: 422 Plum Ave, Bozeman, MT 59715
I have to be honest, my affection for Bozeman Brewing is probably setting a different bar when I went hear since Bozeman Brewing is just across the street. But here's my take anyway.
This place has a modern feel and food seemed to be the focus of everyone when we were here. I won't go as far to say that it's a restaurant that also brews beer but it didn't seem as beer centric as I like. The selection of beers was rather long but there were 11 IPA's on the list. I decided to give their west coast DIPA a try since I have been having a lot of hazy New England style IPA's lately. I enjoyed the beer so I really don't have anything about the beer.
The vibe just didn't do it for me. If Bozeman Brewing wasn't in town I would give it 3 stars but given Bozeman Brewing is in the area I really don't see going back here unless we wanted to have some food with our beer.
Bozeman Brewing *****
Location: 504 N Broadway Ave, Bozeman, MT 59715
I have been thru Bozeman many times during my travels over the years. I was hooked on Bozeman Brewing after my first visit. While there have been many new breweries that have opened in Bozeman since my last visit I just HAVE to make an appearance at Bozeman Brewing. This will make my 4th visit (and 5th) to this place.
What makes this place so special? First is the beer. The selection and quality of the product is right in my lane. Second is the staff. Friendly and KNOWLEDGEABLE. During all of my visits I have had wonderful interaction with the staff. Third is the vibe. This is a small tap room that is very quaint. You feel like you are at a friends house having a beer.
I started with a pour of the Hazy Hugger (Hazy IPA) and for the first time in a long while I finally got a HAZY IPA that was juicy and spot on! Dang it was good. Bozeman Brewing has really been taking on the sour obsession and has started of the Bozeman Underground. The Bozeman Underground is the obsession of the sours. They have over two hundred and fifty wine and whiskey barrels have been spent years creating the most innovative, complex, and satisfying sours in all of Montana.Small-batch recipes and limited releases mean one barrel at a time on tap and in bottles. I haven't been a big sour drinker myself but decided I should give one a try. The Cranmaster Funk Brett Saison 2019 was amazing! I just had to purchase a 375ml bottle to take home with my. During my second visit I gave the VIEUX BOIS 3 YEAR BLEND #1 GUEUZE INSPIRED 2019 a try and WOW this one was really tart. I will say I liked the Cranmaster better but this still was an awesome beer.
A little side note. My server asked where I was from and I told her Maple Lake MN. Of course typically noone has ever heard of Maple Lake. But her Grandparents have a cabin on Sugar Lake which is just north of Maple Lake!! Talk about a small world,
I will always seek this place out whenever we are close.
Bias Brewing *****
Location: 409 1st Avenue East Kalispell, Montana 59901
After patiently waiting for Patricia to finish fabric shopping I was rewarded with a trip to a local brewery. There are many brewery options in Kalispell but after reviewing the beer list I chose Bias Brewing. The beer list was inviting and also included a couple of hard seltzers and a local Kombucha which I thought Patricia would enjoy. Food is also offered thru Hecks Kitchen and since it was dinner time this seem like a good fit.
I like that they offered pours in 4/8/16 ounce servings. I'm not a fan of 4oz pours but 8oz is just right and allows me to try 2 different beers. I started with the Hellroaring Hazy IPA. While the beer was drinkable it WASN'T HAZY! A real disappointment since I was in the mood for a juicy IPA. I finished with an Imperial IPA called the Josephine IPA. This had a completely different hop flavor from Cyro hops and it took a couple of sips to start to appreciate the hop profile. I've never had Cryo hops before and I guess I would have to sample a few more beers using this hop to make a judgment.
About the food......it was great. The Hecks' Kitchen menu mostly featured bowls but did offer a few sandwhiches and shareable options. The bowls started with a choice of rice, brown rice, or noodles. Protein selections were chicken, bulgogi beef, garlic-chili pork, or black beans. A variety of sauce options were available followed by your choice of vegetables. You could choose between a medium and large size portion. I had the pork with a spicy garlic-chili sauce and Patricia had the chicken with spicy Thai peanut sauce. Both were excellent!!!
Based on the beer alone I likely would not go back to this place. If we were looking to get a bite to eat and a beer I definitely would.
Lewis & Clark Brewing *****
Location: 1535 Dodge Ave, Helena, MT 59601
This place has got me! It's like a cross between Schell's brewery in New Ulm MN and Weston Brewing north of Kansas City. The brewery has a large production building in the back and a taproom that is housed in an old stone building with tons of character. There have been additions in front and behind the block building but the tap room is contained in the old stone portion. The inside is somewhat dark but has incredible character with the stone walls, open beams, cool bar, 2 story seating, and a stage that would be an awesome venue for like music. They also had an art gallery room that had a neat table in the middle and the walls were covered in art from local artists. Pizza and brats are also available. I didn't have a chance to sample the food but I will say the pizza smelled awesome!
But what about the beer? Along with a variety of beer offerings they also had 4 different hard seltzers for those not wanting to to partake in the beer. I judge a place by how hard of time I have deciding what to sample. They had 3 different IPA's that had my interest and 2 different HEFEWEIZEN's. It's rare for a place to have 1 let alone 2!! I have been really enjoying hazy beers so I opted for the Juicy Hazy Obsession. It was VERY enjoyable.
This place has what I like about craft breweries. I would definitely like to return and take in a live music event, try out the pizza,. and sample more beers!
Copper Furrow *****
Location: 2801 N Roberts St, Helena, MT 59601
I stopped in for a quick drink while Patricia went fabric shopping. A reasonable trade-off!! Copper Furrow brewing was just down the road and made for an easy stop. The place is tucked in an industrial area, just the way I like it. The inside was quaint but they also had an outdoor seating area. Given the heat I decided to stay indoors. They also had BLAZING fast wifi! The fastest I have ever encountered. Made downloading movies a since.
They had a reasonable list of offerings but only one beer really caught my eye and that was a barrel aged double IPA called the OL' Ginney. This was aged in barrels, 2 Tom Cat Gin from Vermont, 1 Woodford Reserve Rye, and 1 Early Times Whiskey, lend a potent but approachable bouquet of flavor. I was expecting this to be a little boozy but it wasn't at all. It made for a nice slow drink with an ABV >8%.
I certainly would go back but I would not make a special trip just to go.
Red Lodge Ale's *****
Location: 1445 North Broadway Red Lodge, MT 59068
Just like Ten Sleep Brewing this place is all about location. The community of Red Lodge is located at the entrance of the Beartooth Hiway, incredibly scenic, and is a ski town with the slopes just a few miles away. The tap room is very well appointed in clasic outdoor fare that is fitting to the location,. They a have a rather large outdoor seating area as well as a large covered outdoor beer garden that is open on the week-ends. The beer garden also has a stage for live music events throughout the summer.
Feed is also served here but this is NOT a restaurant that brews it's own beer, this is definitely a brewery that also serves beer. There is a difference. You are greeted at the entrance with a large smoker that puts out amazing aroma's and puts you in the mood for some food. They offer a variety of sandwiches, burgers, paninis, and salads. We opted to have a platter of nachos with pulled pork. The serving was quite large and the pulled pork was AWESOME!! Next time I would have to give the pulled pork sandwich a try.
Now about the beer. The beer offerings were your typical list of numerous IPA's and dark beer offerings. The one highlight was the inclusion of a Hefeweizen. Not many breweries are offering Hefe's. I opted for the Bent Nail IPA. The IPA is high in alcohol and hop flavor. This IPA is made with American cascade hops to give the IPA intense grapefruit and citrus aroma and flavor. The beer was an enjoyable drink. While the beer list on the web-site was very interesting unfortunately the offerings on tap were much more limited.
If I'm in the area I would definitely go back but I would go back just for the brewery.
Ten Sleep Brewing *****
Location: Located in the existing Smith Family barn snuggled at the base of Signal Cliff, one mile west of Ten Sleep.
This brewery is about location! From the beautiful back drop of Signal Cliff to the Big Horn Mountains off in the distance the location is epic. Ten Sleep is a town of only 300ish so the majority of patrons are vacationers. Rock climbers, hikers, ATV riders, motorcycle riders, and just those travelling to Yellowstone make this a welcome stop for a refreshing beer.
A variety of musical events are hosted during the summer on a real cool flatbed truck as the stage.
Now about the beer. The beer offerings didn't get me excited and I only found 1 beer that really interested me. I had a pour of the Double OO Honey IPA. The beer was enjoyable but it wasn't a knock your socks off beer.
Would I go here again?? Absolutely yes. This place is about the location and vibe and it's got both. As long as they have one beer that I will enjoy I would go back if I was in the area.
Sick-N-Twisted Brewing *****
23851 Hwy 385, Hill City, SD 57745
The brewery is housed with Naked Winery so both beer and wine are available. The place has a cool vibe with eclectic furnishings. The beer list is very long with 22 different beers available at the time of our visit. But the length of the list doesn't really tell the story. What's on the list is what is all about. Having a hard time deciding what to have because there are too many I want to try is a good indication this is going to be a place I will enjoy. This was certainly the case here. Of interest to me was: Imperial Red Ale, Barely Wine, Dobbleboch, and Double Red Hoppy.I ended up going with the Imperial Red Ale since this is a hard one to find. The Imperial Red didn't disappoint. Having a quality Imperial Red is a good indicator that the others beers are going to be exceptional as well.
Food is also offered at this location but I didn't have a chance to look over the menu and a menu is not offered on-line.
I will definitely go back if we are in the area.
Miner Brewing *****
23845 Hwy 385
Hill City, South Dakota 57745
We have been to Miner Brewing many times before. It's affiliated with Prairie Berry Winery and is in an awesome location just outside Hill City, the heart of the Black Hills.
The tap room has a large list of offerings and a limited menu from the winery is available. I will say the food is awesome. The rather large beverage offerings has always left me a little disappointed. The have a number of hard seltzers and ciders that add to the beverage count but the beer offerings have just not impressed me. Not saying the beer is bad but they just don't seem to fall into my lane. I had a pour of the Miner Blue IPA which is a deep golden IPA that has a great aroma full of tropical fruit and berry tones. The beer was enjoyable but I wouldn't go out of my way to get it.
All of that said, I will still go back here in the future.
Hay Camp Brewing *****
601 Kansas City St, Rapid City, SD 57701
Hay Camp Brewing is located in downtown Rapid City SD. The facility is quite impressive with a classy store front and interior. The place has a nice vibe and was spacious enough that you could have a private conversation. This doesn't have the garage brewery atmosphere and was more upscale but it also didn't seem pretentious. They even have a special event "auditorium" that is used to host private events and a variety of live music performances.
I checked out the beer offerings on-line before we arrived so I knew what I wanted to order before we got there. Unfortunately the web-site wasn't up to date and my desired selection was not available. The offerings cover the normal beers (stout, brown, IPA, sour, pilsner) but didn't include any Belgian varieties which have been my recent favorites.
I opted for the "Cliche' Hazy" IPA. I have had a recent interest in hazy IPA's so I was happy they had one on the menu. The beer definitely had a hop bust and was a little juicy with notes of ripe orange/tropical fruit. This wasn't as juicy as some hazy IPA's I have had but it was still a good beer.
Sawyer Brewing *****
2537 Yukon Place, Spearfish, SD 57783
Sawyer brewing is the new boy in town and marks the third craft brewery in Spearfish. Not bad for a community of only 10,000.
The brewery is located at the edge of town in a new development of pubs and restaurants and is in a really cool building. The building has both indoor and outdoor seating. The vibe is great.
Now about the beer. I always start by looking at the beer offerings. This can give you insight about what you are about to experience. It's a good sign if you are having trouble deciding what to drink and this place didn't disappoint. There were many beers that I would like to try! I appreciate that they offer 5/10/16 ounce pours especially with some of the high AVB beers. I started with the Imperial Stout called the Deep Woods. The roasty & malty sweetness is exactly what I look for in a stout. I took a 5 ounce pour since the ABV is 10.1% on this lovely beer. I moved onto a hazy IPA called the Two Stroke Haze. The ABV was a more reasonable 5.8% so I took a 10 ounce pour. This is a very good IPA. I will say it lacked a little in the juicy department. Doesn't mean it was a bad beer, not at all, it's just I like juicy in my hazy IPAs. It did have lots of citrus and hop bite.
This place also offers hand-crafted pizzas. Many were being served while I was there and I will say they looked awesome. I definitely need to go back to try additional offerings on their beer menu and give the pizza a try.
Crow Peak brewing has been my go to brewing in Spearfish. Sawyer Brewing just might have moved into the top spot for me.
2019 Brewery Visits
Grove Roots Brewing, Winter Haven Fl 3/3/2019
Swan Brewing, Lakeland Fl 3/9/2019
Brackish Beer Company, St Marys GA 4/5/2019
Ghost Monkey Brewing, Charleston SC 4/18/2019
Lost Colony Brewing, Manteo NC 4/28/2019
Gloucester Brewing, Gloucester VA 5/5/2019
Revlataion Brewing, Rehoboth DE 5/18/2019
Dogfish Head Brewing, Milton, DE 5/19/2-019
Lands Brewing, Philidelphia, PA 5/25/2019
Bucket Brigade Brewing, Cape May, NJ 5/27/2019
Slack Tide Brewing, Clermont, NJ 5/31/2019 & 6/2/2019
7 Mile Brewing, Rio Grand, NJ 6/9/2019
Yuengling Brewing 6/15/2019
Stubborn Beauty Brewing, Middletown, CT 6/22/2019
Labyrinth Brewing, Manchester, CT 6/23/2019
Devil's Purse Brewing, South Dennis, MA 6/29/2019
Treehouse Brewing, Charelton, MA 7/14/2019
Barreled Souls Brewing, Old Orchard Beach, ME 7/18/2019
Allagash Brewing, Portland, ME 7/24/2019
Sea Dog Brewing, Bangor, ME 7/30/2019
Atlantic Brewing, Bar Harbor, ME 8/1/2019
Fogtown Brewing, Ellsworth, ME 8/9/2019
Bad Habit Brewing, St Joe, MN 9/7/2019
Pan Town Brewing, St Cloud, MN 9/13/2019
Severance Brewing, Sioux Falls, SD 9/15/2019
Obscure Brewing, Sioux Falls SD 9/16/2019
515 Brewing, Des Moines IA 9/19/2019
Big Beach Brewing, Gulf Shores Al 10/1/2019
Big Beach Brewing *****
300 E 24th Ave, Gulf Shores, AL 36542
Big Beach Brewing is the only brewery in Gulf Shores so choosing a brewery to visit was easy. With the air conditioner out of commission in our trailer we were looking for a place to get out of the heat, visiting a brewery seemed like a good idea. Unfortunately they had the thermostat in the brewery set to 85. Still cooler than the camper but not quite the cool reprieve we were looking for.
The offerings were somewhat limited but they did have a hazy IPA on the menu, a perfect beer on a hot day. The Area 251 Hazy IPA didn't disappoint. Hazy, juicy, and completely refreshing. I sampled their other IPA but decided to go with another hazy IPA for my second pour.
I haven't had great BBQ since the last time we were in Kansas City a few years ago and had a craving for BBQ. There are lots of options in Memphis for BBQ but we chose Central BBQ to satisfy the craving. It's one of the top rated BBQ joints in Memphis. Their moto is "Our sauce is in the smoke!". Memphis style barbecue is not sweet but instead rather tangy and spicier than Kansas City barbecue. The meat is also not sauced while it is cooking.
We ordered the Ribs for 2 platter which is a full rack served with 4 sides. We had beans, fries, coleslaw, and macaroni for the sides. The sides were all ok, but let's face it, were here for the meat! The ribs were awesome. Fall off the bone with out being mushy. Meat had a good bark, nice smoke ring and flavor, and the seasoning was nice and tangy.
Definitely would go to Central BBQ again. Lots of menu items I would like to give a try.
5200 E Grant St, Sioux Falls, SD 57110
Yet another new brewery opening in Sioux Falls. This place opened 2 months ago and is located in a new dedicated building that still has the new car smell. It's located just off of 10th Street near numerous shopping complexes. It should be a good location to attract traffic.
The building and grounds have a very clean/modern look and has a rather large outdoor seating area and a good size indoor seating area. The indoor seating overlooks the brewing area behind glass. Rather impressive arrangement. The taproom is appointed with very cool wood tables and bar.
They had 13 beers on tap at the time of my visit. I believe they can have up to 16 taps at a time. They had multiple IPA's, 3 Stouts, Kolsch, Amber, Saison, Wheat, Pale Ale, and 1 sour on tap. Really covers the bases. The owner indicated they had 4 sours being released in a couple of days to round out their offerings.
I started with a 10 ounce pour of their Chronophobia V3 (hazy IPA). They have multiple versions of the same Hazy IPA and just use different hop mixtures. The V3 was a knock your socks of IPA. The flavors burst without being over the top bitter. This is once of the best hazy IPA's I have had. I finished with a 5 ounce pour of the Big Chain IPA which is a West Coast style IPA. Darker in color, clear, and a completely different taste profile from the Hazy IPA. While it finished with a little more bitter it was married well with the malts and resulting in a very enjoyable drink.
Service was excellent and the server clearly new beer. Unfortunately that isn't always the case at breweries. Odd, but true.
I have high hopes for this place. This is definitely going to be my go to place when visiting in the area. Have to make another visited before we leave town!
701 N Phillips Ave Suite 110, Sioux Falls, SD 57104
Exciting with a few new breweries opening in Sioux Falls. This place just opened a few weeks before my visit in a street level complex beneath new condo's at the entrance to Falls Park. This has turned into an upscale area and this place seems to fit right in.
The tap room has a nice outdoor area and a good vibe on the inside with very comfortable chairs and stools. Some breweries go for a unique custom design in their stools but miss the mark on comfort. They got it right with comfortable seating.
The beer list had a good variety of beer styles with multiple IPA's, Stout, Kolsch, Wheat, RyePA, Cream Ale, and Oktoberfest. I sample the 4 IPAs on tap and finished with a pour of the Artic Pale ale which is heavy on the Citra Hops (100%) and had a nice hop bust in the mouth.
The beers were good but not exceptional. Considering they have only been open for 3 weeks I would expect more to come from this brewery.
408 37th Ave N, St Cloud, MN 56303
I was aware of a new brewery opening in St Cloud before we hit the road. The initial beer offerings didn't really speak to me so I never made it a priority to go. During our 2019 visit to the St Cloud area our daughter Jackie wanted to go check it out. Off we went......
The brewery is located in an industrial area (perfect) and is themed around the Pantown Auto that was manufactured in 1917-1919 (interesting history) in St Cloud. The tap room has a great vibe with ample space and a garage door that opens to the outside. The staff were excellent and contributed to the overall experience.
The beer list has grown since I initially checked it out 8-9 months ago. They still have many sour and fruit beer offerings (not really in my lane) but have expanded to include more IPA's, Stouts, Brown Ales, and a Cream Ale. I started with a 5 oz pour of the "Drop Forge Milk Stout". This was a very well balance stout with just the right amount of roast/sweet/hop flavors. I moved on to a 10oz pour of the "Joey Juice" hazy imperial IPA. This was a hop blast on the palate but just the right amount of blast! The brewery just released a "Blood Orange Sirius" pale ale. This is a fruit beer, not a sour. I decided to give it a try so I went for a 5 oz pour. The beer was well done but these fruit beers are just too sweet for my taste.
This will be on my list of breweries to return to when in the St Cloud area in the future.
Bad Habit Brewing*****
25 College Ave N, St Joseph, MN 56374
I have been to Bad Habit Brewing twice before. Never have been too impressed. The beer offerings were limited and the beer was just ok. The facility was plain, small, and didn't have much to offer. So I was hesitant when my daughter said we should go. The fact that they had a new facility, and who can say no to their daughter, convinced me that we should go.
The new facility was impressive. The indoor space quadruped and the outdoor space increase was dramatic. To my surprise the beer menu offerings increased significantly and had numerous interesting beers on the list.
Even before I had my first taste it was clear they were doing something right. The place was packed and was buzzing. We were very fortunate to find an open table.
I choose the "Leather & Mahogany" (Scotch Ale) as my first pour. The ABV was only 6%, which is a little low compared to most Scotch Ales (also known as "WeeHeavy"), and was noticeable in the mouth but the overall flavor was excellent. My daughter choose the "Born & Razz'd" which was a raspberry wheat. This was very drinkable even though it doesn't fall into my lane. My second round was the "Ben Franklin" which was a hazy double IPA. This was a very enjoyable juicy beer that was well balanced.
Overall I was impresseed with this place and would go back here again when in the area.
25 Pine St, Ellsworth, ME 04605
Fogtown Brewing a little off the downtown strip in Ellsworth in the lower level of an older multiple purpose building. A food truck and outdoor seating area is provided along with a smaller indoor tasting room.
A rather diverse beer menu was enough to gain my interest. Multiple IPA's, Sours, Belgians,Porters, Stouts, and Farmhouse Ales were on the menu. I started with apeppered Biére de Garde Blonde brewed with organic Maine spelt and wheat, cellared four months in stainless on Ancho Chiles. This was a very interesting beer and doesn't really fit into any lane of beer I have had before. The malty flavors with a slight spice made for a very enjoyable beer.
I had a very enjoyable conversation with a couple from Virginia that I met at the bar.
The beer list is enticing me to return to sample more of their offerings.
15 Knox Rd, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
Atlantic Brewing is located on the grounds of a 19th century farmstead with the brewery located at the back of an old farm house. They have a tasting room, with free tastings, with a small serving bar, brew sales, and lots of swag. Adjacent to the tasting room is a building that serves BBQ and has their beer on tap.
The menu is somewhat limited compared to many of our recent brewery visits. There were 6 beers on the menu. 2 IPA's, 2 brown ales, 1 wheat ale, and 1 summer ale. We sampled all 6, hey, it was free. All were enjoyable but none of them were amazing.
I would definitely go here again since there aren't any other breweries in the area but it's not a brewery I would go out of my way to go too.
Maine Lobster *****
You can't go to Maine without having Lobster! Fortunately there was a Lobster shack right outside the entrance of our campground in Old Orchard Beach. They would even cook it for you so you could take it back to your campsite. It was awesome! Patricia steamed up red potatoes and melted some butter and we had a feast. Lobster served in a restaurant is so expensive but this was an affordable way to really enjoy Lobster. Frankly, sitting at your campsite eating Lobster is way better than any restaurant! Will definitely miss this when we leave Maine.
Barreled Souls Brewing *****
743 Portland Rd, Saco, ME 04072
There are many breweries in the area but one look at the offerings at Barreled Souls made my choice to go here first easy, I enjoy breweries that have a diverse menu and this place rocks for it's offerings and it was only 2 miles from our site.
The brewery is located in the lower level of any old house, very cool, and had a really great vibe. The service was excellent and had a good clientele.
We sat at the bar and met a gentleman from Mass who was vacationing in the area and also met a local gentleman (ex cop who is now a Fed). Had wonderful conversations with both.
Now about the beer....... I know when I have found a great place when I can't decide where to start. There were multiple Stouts offered, with various barrel aging options, multiple Barelywine offerings, multiple sours, couple of IPA's and a Scottish Ale. Given the high ABV on most of these, and my desire to try a few different beers, I opted for 4oz pours.
I started with the Dark Matter dark ale 10.1% abv. This was a full bodies explosion of flavor. Simply an amazing beer. They also offer a ginger molasses version of this beer that I'm going to have to go back and give a try.
My second selection was the 1 Year Big Bang Barleywine 11.9% ABV. Yeah baby, here we go. I enjoy a good Barelywine and this was exceptional. It was barrel aged for a year and had sweet toffee malt flavors and resinous hop flavors and was just incredible,.
For my 3rd 4oz pour I went with the Booker's Bourbon Barrel Aged Nocturnem Milkshake Stout - White 12.7% ABV. I was a little hesitant because of the "milkshake" in the name but the local told me it was one of their best beers. I will say it didn't disappoint. It's a white stout brewed with Cacao Nibs, Almonds, Vanilla, and Marshmallow Fluff. Barrel aged for 11 months in Booker's Bourbon barrels. Brewed in Collaboration with Nocturnem Draft Haus in Bangor, ME. It definitely was a little boozy but was still a very enjoyable beer.
The surprise beer of the year was Patricia's selection of the Half Shilling Scottish Ale 3.8% ABV. This should not be confused with a Scotch Ale, often called a Wee-Heavy (yes, a Scottish Ale and Scotch Ale are different). I have had many Scotch Ales before, and they are very good, but never had a Scottish Ale. The low ABV of 3.8% threw me off. Typically a low ABV beer lacks in flavor. That is not the case here! This beer had big rich malt flavors of caramel and fresh baked bread, low bitterness, and a smooth finish. I was blown away to have such a low ABV beer with so much robust flavor.
I will definitely be going back for more!
Treehouse Brewing *****
Treehouse Brewing is definitely a destination brewery. It's in a beautiful location and they have grounds and a building to match the location. A large outdoor area is dotted with Adirondack checks and a nice covered patio the has a large wood fired pizza oven. The tasting room doesn't disappoint. A neat bar with cool artwork on the wall creates a nice vibe.
This taproom does run a little different. 1st, their product is only available at the brewery. They currently are not distributing to liquor stores. It's clear they are in high demand. When you arrive you decide if you want to buy product to go or are going to get a pint to drink on-site. You choose your LINE and wait. The line for getting off-sale product is VERY long. People are coming from all over and walk out with cases of beer. The on-site line goes a little quicker. Also you buy a ticket for a beer and are only allowed 1 ticket!
They have an extensive list of beer offerings. However the list isn't very diverse. There were many different IPA offerings and many different Stout offerings but nothing else. They don't do flights and you only get 1 drink ticket so I went for the Treat Imperial IPA. It was a wonderfully balance, hazy IPA. Definitely a great beer. Patricia went for the Hurricane with Peach IPA (yes, she did order an IPA). It was very good. The peach wasn't over-powering but just enough to tame the hop bitterness.
So why only 4 stars? Really comes down to 2 things. 1. You can only have 1 drink ticket. 2. The limited variety of offerings. A minor factor was the long lines to get beer. I don't want to punish for their success but I think there is a better way this could be managed.
WE definitely would seek this place out if we were close to this area again.
Devil's Purse Brewing *****
South Dennis MA (Cape Cod)
Devil's Purse Brewing is located in the back of a steel building in an industrial area. What's interesting is that due to Dennis MA zoning laws only standing room is allowed inside. Outside picnic tables are provided.
The place was hopping during our visit. We started at a standing table inside and moved outside when a spot on a picnic table opened up. The selection of beer was interesting. A number of IPA's were offered as well as a Kolsch, Oyster Stout, ESB Pale Ale, Berry Ale, Spiced Ale, and a table ale. I opted to have a short pour of the Stout and a full pour of the DIPA (Hens & Chickens DIPA). The Stout was only 6% ABV which is a less compared to the Stouts I have recently tasted. The beer was very good but you could tell the ABV was a little less. The DIPA was really good. Very hoppy and gave the palate a good blast but it was very enjoyable. Trish thoroughly the Kolsch.
We shared the table outside with a young couple from Boston. Had a very pleasant conversation.
Labyrinth Brewing Company *****
Labyrinth Brewing is located in the historic district in Manchester. It's in a 135 year old building. The brewery started, as most do, with three friends making beer in a garage and has now expanded into a legitimate brewery.
The taproom has a great vibe. Live jass was playing during our visit which was really enjoyable. The staff was excellent and knowledgeable about the product and great in conversation.
The beer offerings were a little more towards the "typical" craft brewery with 5 different IPA's along with a Stout, Brown Ale, Wheat, Cream Ale, and a couple of Sours. I started with a short pour of the Stout. It was done very well but pushed a little too much to the coffee side of things. Still very enjoyable. I finished with the Imperial IPA Theseus. This was a hazy hoppy beer with a lot of bitterness punch, just what you would expect from a imperial IPA. This was a great beer but definitely blasts your palette. Trish had the Raspberry Wheat. She really enjoyed the beer. It had a little tang but wasn't sour and not too fruity, very well balanced.
Stubborn Beauty Brewing Company *****
Stubborn Beauty Brewing is located in an old warehouse that has been section off for multiple businesses. There actually is another brewery in the same complex.
The beer offerings covered most bases and had a few items that got my attention. The Belgian Strong Ale "Secret Agent X9" was top on my list and it didn't disappoint. While a little strong at 9% it had big belgian yeast flavors - apple, pear, bubble gum envelop the aroma and palate. This was a very enjoyable beer and really was in the lane of what I like about Belgian beer. Given the ABV I took a 6 ounce pour. There were 2 double IPAs and a Stout on the menu that caught my eye. I decided to go with the "Fist" double IPA. This was an absolute mosaic bomb, with mango and other tropical fruit notes. This was a very enjoyable beer.
So they got the beer covered, what's limiting the rating to 3 stars? It has to do with the atmosphere. On the one hand it was in the lane of what we like, a garage type atmosphere that's focused on the beer. On the other hand there was a unpleasant odor that was a little annoying. This wasn't beer making smell but more like old garbage.
Would I go back for the beer? Absolutely. Would I go our of my way to go back? Not likely.
Culinary Delight......well, maybe not
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. That's what they say anyway. So when we ran across Scapple in the grocery store we had to give it a try.
Scapple, also known by the Pennsylvania Dutch name Pannhaas or "pan rabbit", is traditionally a mush of pork scraps, that weren't used for anything else, and trimmings combined with cornmeal and wheat flour, often buckwheat flour, and spices. Scrapple is best known as an American food of the Mid-Atlantic states (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia). Scapple and panhaas are commonly considered an ethnic food of the Pennsylvania Dutch, including the Mennonites and Amish.
We had never heard of such a thing and of course had to give it a try. It's very similar in appearance to Spam but is really nothing like it. The inclusion of cornmeal and wheat flour changes the texture and flavor dramatically. We sliced and fried it up like Spam but the texture remained quite soft almost like the texture of polenta. It wasn't horrible but I can't say I would go our of my way to have it again.
Yuengling Brewing *****
I first heard about Yuengling Brewery while visiting Schells Brewery in New Ulm Minnesota. During the Schells tour they state that Schells is the 2nd oldest family run brewing in the US with Yuengling brewing holding the title for the oldest. Yuengling is a regional beer and is mostly distributed on the east coast. Yuengling doesn't fit into the profile of a typical craft brewery but also doesn't fit into the profile of the big boys in beer (Coors, Bud, Miller, etc.).
The tour was enjoyable and finished with a 2 pour sample with a variety of your choice. You could have a pint for only $3. There offerings are rather limited compared to most craft beer brewers. The choices are: Lager, Ale, Porter, Black and Tan, and Premium. I sampled the Ale, Black and Tan and finished with a full pour of the Ale. The beer was enjoyable but doesn't compete with a good craft beer.
The gift shop had some good swag to choose from.
I give Yuengling 4 stars because of the historical experience. I don't mean to represent the beer as being better than many of the other craft beers I have tasted. I will say that the Lager is my favorite, affordable, non-craft beer, that we often keep on hand.
7 Mile Brewing *****
Rio Grande New Jersey
I've been driving by this place for 3 weeks. To be honest, it just didn't have curb appeal to draw me in. It's located at the end of a strip mall and didn't stand out as anything unique. As I was looking for another brewery to check out I happened to check out the 7 Mlle Brewing web-site. Lets just say the unique beer list drew me in! Barrel aged Barleywine, Barrel Aged Blood Orange Porter, Merlot Aged Saison, Barrel Aged Belgian Triple, and the list goes on. So I had to check it out......
I did a taste sample of the Barrel Aged Blood Orange Porter. Simply amazing. Incredibly complex with wonderful flavors. I would have have taken a full pour of this but I had my eye on the Barrel Aged Barley Wine affectionately called "Big Ben's Bourbon Barelywine". At a whopping 14.3% ABV you are only allowed one pour. This beer was wonderful. While heavy in alcohol it didn't come across as boozy. I love the flavor the Belgian yeast brings to the beer. This falls into the top 10 beers I have ever had the pleasure of drinking. After this one beer I couldn't take a full pour of another beer so I took a short pour the other beer that was on my radar, the Barrel Aged Belgian Triple. This is another high ABV beer (12.5%). Yet another wonderful beer. Rare to sample three incredible beers from a single brewery.
Surprisingly the vibe on the inside was pretty good and the staff was exceptional.
I'm definitely going to get back here before we leave the area.
Duck Donuts *****
We first came across Duck Donuts in Avon North California (Cape Hatteras National Seashore). We left early
one morning and wanted to grab a bite on the road. There was no fast food options in the area and we ran across Duck Donuts in a strip mall. It was a great find! Their specialty is donuts made to order. The donuts come right out of the fryer and they assemble the toppings to order. The are super fresh, hot, and incredibly delicious. My favorite is the brown suger with salted caramel. They also make breakfast sandwiches that use a donut as the bun. The sweet with the savory makes for an incredible combination.
Duck donuts originated in the town of Duck, which is also in the outer bank, and has franchised out across the east coast with some shops in the mid-west and a couple in California.
Slack Tide Brewing 5/31/19 & 6/2/2019 *****
Slack Tide Brewing is located in Clermont New Jersey (Jersey Shore). Another brewery created by brothers. This is a very non-pretentious brewery that falls right in our lane of what we enjoy about craft beer. Its situated in the back of a metal commercial building, doesn't serve food but has food trucks on occasion, and has a small tap room. If you aren't looking for it you will drive right past and not even know it's there.
The selection of beer was diverse and made selection a challenge with so many good options. I took a small sample of the Morning Bite Imperial Stout and was ready to go for a pour until I saw the Treble Hook Belgian Triple of the board (wasn't on the sheet). I had to switch gears. The Treble Hook was amazing. Sweet, malty, yeasty, wonderful. I finishing out my visit with Tipsy Dipsy double IPA which was very good.
While there are many breweries in this area I just had to go back again for another round of the Belgian Triple (just as good the 2nd time). Trish was along this time and had the Saison that was brewed with some sweet orange peel. Trish thoroughly enjoyed this beer. I finished out with a pour of the Keel Haul New England Double IPA that didn't disappoint.
I loved this place and will definately go back when in the area.
Bucket Brigade Brewing 5/27/19 *****
Bucket Brigade Brewing is located on Main Street in Cape May Court House New Jersey. The brewery was started by two fireman brothers with a passion for beer. They have created a tap house that is warm and inviting and contains historical elements from past businesses of Cape May Court House.
The beer offerings were varied and covered the bases (IPA, Pale Ale, Red Ale, Hefenweizen, Amber Ale, Dark Ale). The only key variety missing was a Porter or Stout.
I sampled the Pry Bar IPA and Trish sampled the Wheat. Both were just average, a little disappointing.
We still enjoyed our visit.
Yards Brewing 5/25/19 *****
Lands Brewing is located in downtown Philadelphia and moved to a new building in 2017. There new digs are first class and have a provide a good old fashion beer hall atmosphere.
The brewery has a full compliment of beer offerings with 20 beers available at the time of our visit. Presented a real challenge deciding what to sample until I saw the Washington Reserve on the list. This was a Porter that was barrel aged in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrel that results in a very smooth, complex, and aromatic beer. Simply amazing. Patricia sampled the Summer Crush, which is a citrus wheat beer, and it was very delightfuil.
A full food menu is also offered. I had a Philly Chicken Cheese Steak and Patricia had the Chicken Nachos. Both were very tasty.
In addition to the great beer and good food was excellent service. This is a place I would definitely go out of my way to go back to.
Dogfish Head Brewing 5/19/19 *****
Dogfish Head Brewing has a tap room / restaurant on the main drag of Reboboth Beach. The Brewery/Restaurant really isn't what we enjoy but the main brewery is in Milton DE and was just a short drive away. THIS was the real deal. Definitely a destination type brewery that is steps above the garage type brewery we enjoy. While much bigger it was still awesome! The crazy metal artwork was very appropriate for this place. It had a great tap room but also a nice outdoor area with room for Bocce or Corn Hole. A place to come spend the afternoon and enjoy.
But what about the beer? There where so many beers on the tap list I was going crazy trying to decide what I wanted to go with. I decided I had to try the Raison D'Extra. This is a Belgian Brown Ale on steriods with lots of malt, brown sugar, and raisins with a modest ABV of 15-18%!! While this is enough to kick you in the shorts is was extremely smooth, didn't come across as boozy, and was incredible. This was like a Belgian Quad. A 10 ounce pour of this didn't leave much room for more beer but I had to have a 4 ounce pour of the World Wide Stout. This beer is made with lots of barely, very dark, roasty, complex, and 15-20% ABV!!. What can I say. It was amazing, just can't drink too much of it if you still want to be vertical.
Patricia had the Flesh & Blood IPA. Brewed with lemon flesh, sweet orange peel and blood orange juice, Flesh & Blood really balances the hoppy characteristics of an American IPA with the zesty fruitiness and subtle drying tartness of citrus. Trish hasn't been a big IPA drinker but she thoroughly enjoyed this beer.
Now for the bad news. They do have package beer for sale in the gift shop so I thought I would go pickup some of the Raison D'Extra and the World Wide Stout. That was until I saw the price tag of $36 for a 4 pack of 12 ounce bottles!!!!! This beer was awesome but I will never pay that for a beer unless it was an VERY special occasion :(
Revelation Brewing 5/18/19 *****
Revelation Brewing is location just off the main beat of the coastal beach town of Rehoboth Beach Delaware. We founds MANY breweries in this area but it seem that the majority were of the brewery/restaurant variety which really typically in the lane of what we like. Revelation Brewing, however, is the good old fashion brewery that is in an industrial area and is indeed a good old fashion craft brew house.
Revelation had a very LARGE, and diverse, selection of beer. I know that I have found a good place when I have a hard time deciding what I want to try. I was drinking solo since Patricia was a little under the weather and was only drinking water. I opted for the Grand Master Juice which is an Imperial IPA. This was a high 9% ABV but a relatively low 36 IBU and was very smooth. This was an awesome beer.
This other highlight was this was on the bike path that we had taken from the State Park we were staying and was exactly at the half way point in the 16 mile bike ride. What more could you ask for?
Gloucester Brewing 5/5/19 *****
Gloucester Brewing is located in downtown Gloucester at the end of Main street in a re-purposed brick building. Unclear what the building originally was used for but it's a perfect home for this brewery. This is a small brewery but I was surprised by the many offerings on the beer menu. A good mix of offerings (Wheat, Pilsner, Stout, Porter, IPA, and Red Ale) provides something for everyone.
I sampled the Oyster Stout (Shucking Good). I was a little hesitant given it's brewed with local oysters but it was a really good stout. The oysters didn't add any fish flavor but just a slight taste of the salt air. Patricia sampled the Apricot Wheat (Farmhouse). This had more hop notes compared to typical wheat beer but it wasn't bitter. The apricot was very subtle. Very enjoyable beer.
Lost Colony Brewing 4/28/19 *****
Located in downtown Manteo just across from the Waterfront on Roanoke Island. This place is both a brewery and cafe. While we didn't sample to food the menu look like it had some good options.
I sampled the Kill Devil Hills Scotch Ale (Wee Heavy). It's a strong Pale Ale the is very malty with a rich and sweet malt flavor. I really enjoyed this beer! It was well done and very enjoyable.
Patricia sampled the Hatteras Red with a blend of mild english hops, sweet irish malts, and roasted barely. Patricia really enjoyed the Red.
A really good offering of beers on the menu with Blonds, couple of stouts, brown ale, and IPA on the menu.
Ghost Monkey Brewing 4/18/19 *****
This is our kind of brewery. Situated in an industrial park, right next to the entrance of the SPA Wando shipping terminal, in Charleston South Carolina. This place has a great atmosphere with a garage door that opens up the tap room to the outside (my kind of place). No fancy restaurant that also makes beer. This is the real deal.
A good selection of beers that included a variety of IPAs, Wheat, Kolsh, Porter, Brown, and Stout. I had the Brut IPA and Patricia had the Mulie which was a ginger lime wheat beer. Both were excellent.
Brackish BeerCompany 4/5/19 *****
This is a very small scale brewery, located in St Marys Georgia, with the atmosphere of going to a neighbors garage for a beer (which I like). The staff was very friendly and the place had a real laid back atmosphere. There were limited offerings on the menu with a total of 5 beers (Sour, Porter, Brown Ale, IPA, and Old Style Ale). Patricia had a glass of the Brown Ale and I had the IPA. Patricia sampled the Brown Ale before committing to a pour and it was outstanding. The Brown Ale was very sweet, not really typical of Brown A les, and was very good. The IPA on the other hand was not really drinkable. I should have had a sample pour first :( The beer had a real chemical type after-taste. Patricia though it tasted like soap. Disappointing!
Over-all I would give this place a rating of 2. Might be a 3 but I definitely would sample before committing to a pour.