On Saturday, I spent the morning running and volunteering at a local half-marathon with good friend Mike B. The race was held at Gear West in Long Lake which is right near a brewpub that I had never been to, Birch’s on the Lake. Despite not running a half marathon, we were both ready for a big meal. We ran almost 7 miles at the crack of dawn, and then volunteered for over three hours on our feet. It was time to replenish.
Birch’s had 8 beers on tap and was serving their weekend brunch menu. We ordered up a flight of all 8 beers and shared them so we could each taste them all. I was happy to see a few sours on the menu and had high hopes for them. The standout one for me was the Blood Orange berliner, which was super tart, but easy drinking. I was a bit disappointed by the Boysenberry Gose, as it was incredibly sweet, and almost syrup like.
The red rye and blonde ale were both very nice and easy drinking. They were the kind of beer I could see enjoying on a patio out on a lake. I had high expectations for their Chipotle Stout, and unfortunately it didn’t match up to what I had at Big Axe in Nisswa. The one beer that really stood out for us was their coffee ale. This was a straw colored beer infused with coffee and it had amazing flavor. The coffee flavor was rich and fresh, and the malt body of the underlying beer was very smooth. I recently had another pale coffee ale, and this beer knocked that one’s socks off. A truly amazing brew.
Our food arrived, and we enjoyed a nice time relaxing and talking about running and hiking. Birch’s was a great way to finish off a great morning, and I can see going back there if I’m ever in that neck of the woods again.