Mysterious Lakes & Beers

In a city of burgeoning breweries, it seems like every week brings a new location to enjoy a flight, a tulip, or a pint of beer from a mosaic of styles and types. If you like one, buy a growler and take it to your next gathering. With all of the choices available, it can be quite overwhelming. So after a weekend of explorations of Lake Minnetonka in December (really, it’s starting to get creepy warm), I decided to check out some breweries.

Just last week, two new breweries celebrated their grand openings, both recalling Minnesota’s reputation for lakes and eccentricity. Lake Monster Brewing in St. Paul and Lakes and Legends Brewing in Minneapolis, just a block from my apartment! Both of them offered a wide variety of styles, Lake Monster toying with a grab bag of styles, with Lakes and Legends leaning more towards Belgian traditions, with a farm to table mission.

 

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Last Friday, I made it to Lake Monster’s grand opening, which was completely packed. I’ve seen some of their wares sold around town, particularly their Calhoun Claw pilsner, but this would be the first time that they had an open taproom at their sprawling location off of Vandalia Street in an industrial area of the St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul, which seems to be a hotbed of new breweries right now.  I had a difficult time finding a place to park my bike, and noticed that others had that issue, too, resigned to chain their bicycles to feeble parking signs and trees. In spite of the expansive parking lot, it looked like a lot of people were having trouble finding a spot themselves. Lake Monster is also huge, the bar stretching down through the old warehouse almost as far as the eye could see (at least in the crowd). While they were not offering growlers on Friday, they will, hopefully, add those soon.

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I drank a pint of the Untethered Sour Brown Ale, which was definitely a good choice. I’ve come to be a fan of the sour beers, and this one, tangy and funky, was a solid one. I liked it’s malty character as well. I’m looking forward to checking the place out again when it’s not so packed.

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While I couldn’t make it to the grand opening on Saturday, Lakes and Legends Brewing is right down the street from me, so I popped in after work yesterday to check it out. Like much of the Loring Park area of Minneapolis, there were plenty of spots for your bike, though car parking is a bit dicier, of course. On a sleepy weekday night, the place was still attracting a crowd and I ordered a flight to sample some of Lakes and Legends Belgian inspired offerings, in particular that tradition’s rustic farmhouse ales.

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Tulip of Boreal winter warmer

Featuring a bouquet of fruit and floral esters from the yeast used, they reflected the best of farmhouse styles, including the use of locally farmed honey, fruit, and smoke flavors. My favorite was probably the seasonal winter warmer, a stout as dark as a Minnesota winter with plenty of coffee and chocolate notes. However, to share with some friends, I got a growler of the raspberry braggot, which was infused with a rich raspberry and honey flavor. Since I’m just about to open up my own attempt at that honey based beer-mead hybrid beer style myself, I thought I’d try some other, more professional stuff to compare.

Both Lakes and Legends and Lake Monster are now open with a regular schedule, with a lot of events planned, too, so visit one of them, or one of the Twin City’s many other new breweries soon, if only to show your disapproval of current rumblings I’ve been hearing about in the beer industry.

Lake Monster Brewing, 550 Vandalia St, St. Paul

Monday-Thursday: 4:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Friday-Saturday: Noon – Midnight
Sunday: Noon – 10:00pm

Lakes and Legends Brewing, 1368 Lasalle Ave, Minneapolis

Tuesday – Thursday: 3pm – 10pm
Friday: 3pm – 12am
Saturday: 12pm – 12am
Sunday: 12pm – 9pm

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