Recently, some friends and I got together for a girl’s weekend. Our plans tend to consist of brewery hopping, and this weekend was to be no different. While we tend to wander north, to Duluth and the Twin Cities, we decided to stay closer to home this time. We made Lake City our homebase, and adventured out from there.
This brewery is has one of the coolest vibes I’ve felt in a brewery. It sits right on the Mississippi River, and even on a chilly fall afternoon, the view was gorgeous. Walking in, we were greeted by a Cosmo Kramer blanket, which just made everything right. There were wooden floors, exposed brick walls, and a tin ceiling. The best part was, it was all legitimate, not constructed to seem like an old building. It actually IS an old building.
We ordered flights, our preferred method of entry into any new brewery. The beers were delicious, and we all had a hard time choosing just one to drink once the flights were gone. We tested Pumpkin Pullman Porter (on nitro, which makes everything smoother and more refined, in my opinion), Dinglewanker Irish Red, Deadhead double IPA, Bullard House Kentucky Common (which I ended up ordering), and the Cremona cream ale. I was seriously impressed with the beer, and their garlic fries were pretty darn tasty, too.
Note: make sure to take time for a photo op at the phone booth near the door. It’s near a huge window, which gives great natural light.
At the end of a dirt road through what seems to be a residential area, you’ll find Falconer Vineyards, a beautiful winery with beautiful views. This place was hopping when we pulled up, and stayed busy all afternoon. Once again, we opted for flights (or tastings, as the more refined world of wineries calls it).
Personally, I am not a huge fan of Minnesota wines, as I prefer mine dry, with lots of depth. However, my friends all enjoyed a few of the tasting offerings, and I really enjoyed the Chambourcin. Falconer has won a variety of awards for many of their wines, which is impressive, but even more impressive is their Lumberjack Hard Cider. It’s not too sweet, and lets the flavor of the apples shine through.
The last stop on our trip was Red Wing Brewery. Another place with great atmosphere, the brewery was immediately comfortable. You’re able to make your own flights and, as per usual, we felt a desire to try all the options. They have a few of their historic beers on tap, as well as newer craft options. My favorite was Ski Jump Stout, though my two IPA-loving friends enjoyed their Jordan’s Creek IPA. It was really neat trying their Remmler and Red Wing Premium historic beers alongside their newer releases. Overall, not my favorite beers ever, but still a delightful stop.