This past week my wife and I attended a funeral in the St. Cloud area. It was an emotional time for us, but we were surrounded by friends and family. One of the great joys of getting together with certain members of this family is our shared love of breweries and taprooms. Once the funeral was over, and we all rested a bit at the hotel, we decided to head out to a new brewery that we hadn’t been to yet: Urban Lodge Brewery and Restaurant in Sauk Rapids.
Originally, this establishment was called Urban Moose, but Moosehead Beer out of Canada decided to file a complaint in relation to their trademark. Moosehead claims that they own all rights to the word ‘moose’ when used in conjunction with beer. The owners of Urban Lodge decided that they didn’t want to deal with a long protracted legal battle, and so they opted to change the name. At the same time they also added the word restaurant to their legal name, to better inform customers that they are a brewpub, not just a taproom.
We found a hightop table and ordered up a couple flights of beer. We also decided to sample some of their small plates, including their steak tips, and a wild rice risotto. The food was really well done, although a little bit pricey. It wasn’t anywhere near the price of metro area places, so I still considered it a decent value. As we were munching on our small plates, we were sampling a wide assortment of beers.
We had two flights of 5 beers, and we took turns sampling around them. Some of the standouts for me were the red lager (I brought home a growler of it), and the stout. It was a VERY astringent stout, but it hit all the right buttons for me. I enjoyed their coconut porter, but the waitress warned me that is was VERY coconut heavy. I was actually excited about this, but ended up being disappointed, as the coconut flavor was incredibly mild, especially compared to places like Dangerous Man.
They had some very solid Belgian beers on tap, including one that would be a good craft beer introduction for someone who likes Blue Moon. I also enjoyed their raspberry wheat, and it compared quite favorably to others I’ve had in the past. Finally, one of the most unique ones incorporated wine and beer in a really delightful mix. Entitled Babes & Dreams it consisted of a Belgian Gold infused with Petite Syrah and aged in Chardonnay Barrels. It was really unique and tasty and was something I don’t think I had ever seen tried before. Overall, a delightful experience.
The space at Urban Lodge is beautiful, with lots of wood and an upstairs patio with fire. Unfortunately, it was raining so we opt’d to stay inside. Our server was awesome, and really helped walk us through the menu, despite only having been there for a short time. After an emotional day, a wonderful visit to a taproom was just what we needed. It gave us a chance to unwind and relax in a calm environment, with great beer and awesome food. If you’re in the Sauk Rapids area ever, I’d encourage you to give it a shot.