On Saturday morning around 11 a.m., Brian -- the son of a former colleague -- and I began our brewery outing in the Northeast (really known as Nordeast) neighborhood of Minneapolis.
I had not seen Brian since his departure from Florida last spring to a little farming community in Minnesota.
What we discovered was that he was more of the same, and I was more relaxed.
We also learned that many local breweries are within walking distance of each other.
Obviously, we needed to drive from Golden Valley into the neighborhood, so I had him meet me in the parking lot of a landmark -- Cub Foods -- off of his highway exit.
It was a nasty gray day.
One of those days where you just want to lay in bed all day and read and nap.
Instead, we were on a mission.
Visit as many breweries as possible by 7:00 p.m.
Betsy and Karen were preparing a big pot of chili as our closing meal.
We started with 612 Brewery directly off of Central.
I tried their Ginger Lager and Oatmeal Porter.
Brian ordered the flight.
I knew I would end up the designated driver before long, so I took it easy and ordered only half-pints.
The 612 facility was quite large and airy.
The visible tanks added to the authenticity of the place; however, the brewing area looked a bit chaotic.
Of my two selections, I preferred the Ginger Lager.
It was also Brian's favorite.
Next, we walked over to the neighboring brewery called Bauhaus.
Below is how the structure looked as we approached it.
A food truck on the right is also visible.
This was our least favorite venue.
I was underwhelmed by their beers.
Technically, I only had two half-pints: Stargrazer (dark) and Hot Tropic (light), so I cannot say that ALL of their beers were lackluster.
The brewery must have been a local fan favorite because the place was packed with families and friends.
Unfortunately, I found my selections very unmemorable.
As I watched Brian drink his second flight, we discussed my journey and his experiences on the farm. His short fingernails which were still filled with dirt served as an indicator of his agricultural work. I discussed art installation possibilities connected with this journey.
Bauhaus had a large packaging facility attached to its brewing and drinking area.
Hundreds of cans could be seen in the back warehouse; the sides of yellow-colored cans are somewhat visible near the top right of the photograph below.
The Bauhaus staff were extremely friendly and helpful.
The brewery also provided self-serving hydration stations for drinkers who needed the clear stuff.
When Brian finished, we walked back to his CRV and hydrated.
I brought some club soda; he had a gallon of water.
Before the keys were placed in the ignition, Brian and I switched places.
The keys were handed over.
Navigate us to our next stop.
Hands down -- Dangerous Man created our favorite brew: a peanut butter porter.
I ordered us two half-pints.
Peanut butter fans would love this beer. Brian compared it to opening a p.b. jar and smelling it.
That's how strong the aromas were from it.
I wished it had had more notes of coffee.
Not sure how that flavor profile would have worked though...
Coffee and peanut butter?
The venue itself was warm and cozy.
In addition, I did not see as many tanks as some of the other breweries; perhaps, Dangerous Man focuses more on quality than quantity?
Its corner building door and narrow walkway made going in and out of the building tight and uncomfortable.
Imagine how snug it gets when everyone is wearing their winter attire?
I noticed that people were also in smaller groups; apparently, DM has a strict policy on large groups.
Following our half-pints, we walked over to a dive bar called Mayslacks to chow down on some sandwiches before closing out the evening at our final two breweries.
Indeed and Able were breweries located across from each other along a very wide street.
Because Able had ample parking, we entered it first.
Of all the breweries, Able was the most aesthetically-pleasing brewery.
Spotless tank areas.
Unfortunately, I did not try any of their beers.
Brian had ordered: First Light (an American IPA).
Had I ordered a beer, it would have been two half-pints: Black Wolf Stout and Propers (a pub ale).
However, it was nearing 6 p.m.
We had one more brewery to go, and I had to drive us back.
Indeed was a large venue with multiple rooms.
Brian ordered an Imperial White IPA -- part of the Derailed Series (a collaboration
I watched him drink it.
Exciting, I know.
At this point, I was ready for Betsy's delicious non-kidney bean chili.
And, let's be honest...
I was tired of watching Brian try delicious beers while I drank water.
I suppose I could have had sips of his beer, but he seemed to lean towards IPAs (my least favorite) while I tended towards the porters and stouts (probably his least favorite).
With no unexpected scenic routes, I drove us back to Betsy and Karen's.
A hearty spread of chili waited for us as soon as we walked into their home; the table was already set, too.
It was awesome to walk into a place where one is both loved AND fed!
The four of us spent the next couple hours eating and sharing and laughing.
What a wonderful way to close my final night with Brian and with Betsy and Karen!
Later, Karen put on a pot of coffee for Brian to have before his drive back home.
I hugged Brian twice (once for me and once for his mom) before he headed back to Montgomery.
Hearing his stories about farm life, tractors, and chicken slaughtering made me think twice about romanticizing agriculture.
Demanding work it is -- with rewards.
According to Brian, watching seeds grow to full maturity.
Well, Brian, I suppose this journey symbolically represents my seed.
Until we meet again, my friend.