Before I get to the cheesy title I would like to talk about the other dragon I have slain this week. My Father-in-law, Hubert, is visiting from Germany this week. He normally has a good taste for GREAT pilsners on his home turf but someone got him in a bad habit of drinking Budweiser. Well this week I convinced him to try Grain Belt Premium. And while this might not be the shining example to some craft beer drinkers (I personally like it), at least I am keeping it local. That and he has been doing some major damage to my stash of August Schell’s Zommerfest.
For those of you traveling the North Shore this summer you are in for a treat. The Duluth Area has new breweries opening left and right. But don’t forget the breweries in other parts of this great scenic drive. While on a little family get-a-way I had pleasure of visiting Castle Danger Brewing, in Castle Danger, MN just a little over 10 miles north of Two Harbors (just a hint, bring driving directions if you decide to go, my two GPS units in the car failed to find the place).
Now for those of you used to going into breweries in the city might be in for a little shock, because this brewery is set up in the space that is about the size of your average garage. But don’t let its small size fool you, this brewery packs some flavor! You are instantly greeted by friendly faces offering you a taste of their wares from the makeshift tap room. I got the chance to taste 5 of their beers: Danger Ale, Nordic, Gale Force Wheat, Double Crossing IPA, and George Hunter Stout.
All five beers were solid, and definitely all worth the trip if you are in the area. For me three of them stand out as noteworthy:
1. Nordic: This is Castle Danger’s take on a Finish Sahti style of beer. Made with Juniper Berries for a bittering agent (usually in place of the hops). This beer had a thick golden color, and a hearty and sharp aroma which translated easily into the taste. It was, in my opinion, even a more robust beer then their stout. The rye in the beer gave it a thick mouth feel, and it finished clean. For those looking for something different from the craft beer industry needs to look no further then Castle Danger’s Nordic!
2. Double Crossing IPA: Seeing brewers buck the trend of over-hopped (or as I like to say over-hyped) IPAs makes me smile. Double Crossing IPA is a great IPA because it actually tastes like something other then grapefruit. It has a very fruity taste, and is thick. It was tasty and is a great IPA that can be enjoyed all year round!
3. Gale Force Wheat: When picking my growler this is what I decided to take home. This was a softer more gentler take on a wheat beer and was perfect for spring time at the cabin. This beer is a little hard to describe, as it is not your typical wheat, but don’t let that statement make you think any less of it. It had a noticeable clove/banana flavor that accompanies a true German wheat style, but the hops felt a little more prevalent in this beer. For me this was the perfect spring time beer. When I crack open the growler I will write a little more in-depth review of it.
So with another brewery under my belt I was happy, and my adventure had come to an end. It was time to return to our rented Cabin and enjoy some family time. But the next day held a little surprise when we stopped for lunch at the Rustic Inn Cafe & Gifts, also located in Castle Danger, MN. Their feature beer is…you guessed it, Castle Danger. They also included Castle Danger beer in some of their recipes including the beer batter used to make the Onion Rings (pictured below is Beth Sullivan, one of the co-owners making the beer batter). The food is some of the best I have had along the North Shore, and their pies are top notch to boot!
Over all it was quite the Beer Adventure for that little family getaway. So if you find yourself in the area this summer stop in at Castle Danger and have your own adventure!