This weekend, on my way up to the Spring Superior Trail Races, I stopped into a new brewery that I had heard about from my friend Abe. Moose Lake Brewing is right in downtown Moose Lake, right off of Interstate 35. My wife and I often stop in Moose Lake to gas up the car and get some snacks before heading home at the new Kwik Trip. This time I went past the gas station, and into town to see what’s brewing.
One of the things I love about rural taprooms is that they really focus on bringing fresh craft beer to a population that doesn’t have a lot of access to as much of it as we do in the city. These taprooms are akin to the local bar, and you can see regulars inside relaxing as if this was their second home. Moose Lake Brewing was comfortable like this, and felt like the local watering hole where I would want to spend a lot of time if I lived nearby.
The taproom is really well done, with a log cabin type of feel. The most impressive feature is some large windows that overlook Moosehead Lake, with a patio for warmer weather. I can imagine that in the summer time, this patio will be an amazing place to sit and enjoy some beer.
I was just passing through so I didn’t have time to enjoy a lot of beer. They sell crowlers, and will fill your growler you bring in, so I asked for some samples to help me decide which crowlers to get. They currently have four beers on tap, and so I sampled all four. The blonde ale was up first, and wasn’t too bad, but it tasted slightly young and possibly under attenuated just a tiny bit. It still tasted OK, but I wonder if a bit more yeast, and a bit more time settling would help this one do better.
Next up was their EPA. I love a good EPA and I was very pleasantly surprised by this one. It had a good malt body, and balance of a little bit of hop. Then I moved on to their Imperial IPA. I’m not a huge IPA guy, nor an Imperial fan, so suffice it to say the bar was set very low on this beer. Having said this though, I was really surprised at how good this beer was. For a 10% beer I found it completely drinkable and pleasant. It was full of flavor and was nicely balanced. I could actually see myself drinking a small glass of this from time to time.
Finally I ended with their stout, which was a nice solid entry into the stout category. Smooth with a bit of roast, with low hop character. In the end I decided to get a crowler of all of the beers except for the blonde. I have friends back in the metro who will love to help me drink these, and I think will really appreciate the Imperial IPA even more than I did.
If you’re heading up north, and want to stop off at a nice destination brewery I highly recommend giving Moose Lake a try. It’s a comfortable taproom with a great view, and nice, drinkable beers.