Part 2 of an impromptu Decorah trip

After we visited Pulpit Rock we spent a leisurely night in the hotel, recovering from a long day of running and frivolity. Sunday morning meant one more run for both of us before a day off on Monday. Our hotel was right next to the Trout Run Trail, which is a paved bike path that goes along the Upper Iowa River. I only needed 5.25 miles so it was OK that I was still a bit stiff and sore from the day before. We came across some construction on the trail, but it looked open enough, and soon I was running along the flood plain on a crisp Iowa morning.

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After our run it was time for the return trip. Our plan was to stop for lunch in Rochester at a brewery that I had never been to, but had heard amazing things about, called Forager Brewing. As it turns out, they are a brewpub, and serve food. I saw pizza in their photos, so we assumed that was the type of place it was. When we arrived we realized that it was a lot more.

IMG_2467.jpgForager is known for it’s sour beers. I got a bunch of little samples and sure enough, I was pleased by a solid resume of pucker beers. One of them, called Todd Plump, was one of the most amazing sours I’ve ever had. It was opaque and purple (plum), and had this rich head on it that made you think about adding ice cream to it. It was sweet, slightly tart, and incredibly smooth. It’s a limited edition beer, so I doubt I’ll ever get to have it again, but I’m happy I got to have it at least once.

IMG_2468.jpgHowever Forager also has amazing food. It turns out that pizza is just one little part of their menu. They also have incredible, made-from-scratch, food that comes sourced from local farms. I ordered up a breakfast skillet and it was filled with perfectly cooked potatoes, a little hint of bacon, and topped with two of the most perfectly poached eggs I’ve ever seen. Needless to say, we were both blown away by the food. I’ve decided that we’re kidnapping a couple of our friends and making them come here with us sometime.

IMG_2469.jpgWith our bellies filled with amazing food we proceeded to our final stop of the trip, LTS Brewing. I’ve been to LTS before and really enjoyed it. I brought my half-growler with me and just had to decide what to get. I tried a couple tasters, and everything was really high quality. One of them was a bit unique, their Go Big Rouge which is a Flander’s Red Ale style beer. This style of beer is slightly sour, yet more malty than a Gose. The yeast strain is very unique, and they are often blended with younger versions as they are aged. It was a very interesting beer, but I decided to just go with their Karma Kolsh for my growler. I figured that with such a cold Spring that we’ve been having, I better get a Summer-ish beer called Karma to try and tip the scales back to warm weather.

Soon enough we were back home. We accomplished our task of getting through the entire 5 hour podcast, and we loved listening to it. We also got to have a quick, spur of the moment get-away that created memories. We got to try new food, run in a new place, and sample lots of great craft beer. A very successful weekend if you ask me.

Winona Breweries, pt 1

This past weekend, the wife and I decided to take another short trip out of town, and of course, breweries were a part of the weekend. We headed down to Winona to check out a couple of places down there, including one that just opened a week ago. On our way down we decided to go through Rochester (MN), and we stopped in at a brewery just north of the city that we hadn’t been to yet, LTS Brewing Company.

LTS stands for Life’s Too Short, and based on my first impression of the beers at LTS, I 100% agree. They have an impressive tap list, and since we were just passing through I only got to sample 4 of them on a flight. Overall, the direction of their beer trends European, with many Belgians, dunkels, and bocks. For my flight of four I chose an Irish red, a dunkel lager, a bock, and a Scottish 80 schilling.

The Irish red came served on nitro, which I honestly wish more breweries would do with their amber and red beers. The smoothness of nitro really complements the deeper, more earthy, character of many red beers. That was no exception in this case, as my first taste confirmed that this place knows what they’re doing.

The next beer on my flight was a dunkel lager, cutely named ‘Dunkelstiltskin’. It was smooth yet rich, and ended up being the beer that I bought a half-growler of to bring home. I followed this up with their bock, which hit all the right notes that a bock should. It was deep and malty, with a clean finish. The final beer on my flight was the 80 schilling, and although this is a unique taste, it’s one that I enjoy. It was nice and peaty with that traditional Scottish yeast flavor.

If you can’t tell, I really liked what LTS was serving. Everything was well made and, despite some minor adjustments for uniqueness, matched the category of the style they were aiming for. I highly recommend making this a stop if you’re passing through Rochester, MN and sampling their wares. Life truly is too short when there’s so many good beers like what you find at LTS!

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