Bad Habit Brewing Company
In St. Joseph, MN, there is a quaint little taproom that brews anything but quaint flavored beer. Bad Habit Brewing Company has a wonderful array of quality craft beers on tap. Bad Habit has been operating out of this cozy space since its inception in 2014. Soon, they will be moving to a bigger location that keeps them in the heart of this lovely Minnesota hamlet, but closer to quite possible the best place to get a sub sandwich in the Midwest, Bo Diddley’s. On my way back from Thanksgiving, I decided to stop in and finally visit the brewery. This has been on my list for a few years now and it felt like a great achievement to unlock on this Small Business Saturday.
When I stepped into Bad Habit Brewing Company, the place was full because St. Joseph was having a shop small event for all the shops in town. Seems like people were gravitating towards the brewery today to quench their thirst and give their chip cards a rest. Luckily, I found a table next to two local ladies who were getting some of their holiday shopping done while taking a break from their families.
Before I knew it, Aaron Rieland, Bad Habit’s owner and brewer, is next to me telling me I picked the wrong day to stop by if I wanted a quiet and relaxed taproom. I assured him that I didn’t mind a crowd and was happy to see so many people enjoying craft beer. He graciously set me up with some tasters and chatted with me for a bit despite the fact that he was busy. When our conversation was finished, he got right back in the trenches behind the bar.
Before I get to my flight, I have to have a pint of their milk stout, Dark Addiction. This beer is the perfect blend of lactose sweetness and roasty bitterness from the malt. Dark Addiction is a balanced and easily quaffable beer. From there, I board my flight of four different beers. The colors and aromas bursting forth from this collection of beers is delightful.
Nowadays, no visit to a taproom is real unless you drink a hazy IPA. This is for the most part in jest, although I believe that many breweries feel like they have to have something New England IPA-ish on tap. There are many of these that fall flat and do not check any of the boxes of what I believe to be the right qualities of a New England IPA. Luckily, for me, Bad Habit’s Hazy game is on-point. This beer has, what I believe, to be the trickiest quality of this style to accomplish-the soft mouth feel. The aroma of tangerine flesh is invigorating on this dreary Saturday. Pineapple sweetness and brightness are the main highlights in the flavor, but there is also a little bit of cantaloupe sweetness as well. The bold hue of goldenrod is eye-catching and really looks the part with its haze.
Kettle sours are also a style that seems to show up everywhere. I hate to say it, but finding a good one that doesn’t give you gut rot is easier said than done. As I look around the taproom, I see that I am not the only person drinking this beer. Right away, I can smell the lactobacillus and it kicks my salivary glands into action. The fruit in this beer is all about the blazzberry. Yes, you read that right-blazzberry. A blazzberry is not a wacky central Minnesotan designer drug reference, but a hybrid fruit. The Beautiful Conclusion has tartness and acidity without tasting artificial. It is complex and there is a definitive fruit presence in the beer.
Flippity Flop Milkshake Triple IPA
Seemingly an amalgamation of all the beer geeks hopes and wants, this beer is a wacky hybrid style. We are familiar with Milkshake IPAs by now and we are at least somewhat acquainted with a Triple IPA. However, this baby is all that and a bag of fruit. Mango, passion fruit, and pineapple, to be exact.
I am a little apprehensive about this one, but Aaron picked it out for me and everything else has been good so far. The Flippity Flop does not disappoint. This will come as a surprise to nobody, but it is juicy as an orange grove at high noon, both in aroma and flavor. What impresses me most about this beer is that all 3 fruits are discernible. Despite the 10% heft of this beer, it drinks smooth and refreshing. I am sure that the sweetness and lactose don’t hurt, but this is a palatable beer for a Triple IPA.
Double Dark Imperial Chocolate Milk Stout
The piece de resistance of most brewery portfolios is the big, bad, imperial stout. Well, this baby is also up there in the high alcohol stratosphere of 9.5%. There are aromas of black licorice, coffee, and rye bread in the nose of this beer. The flavors consist of molasses, dark cherries, and a nice element of dark chocolate for decadence. The slight warming from the booze is not at all overpowering and this beer would really kick ass alongside a nice wedge of irish cheddar. The roasty notes from the malt and sweetness from the lactose all make this beer a stunner.
Learn From My Mistake
I should have visited this place a lot sooner because their beers are well-crafted and inventive. Bad Habit Brewing Company embodies all the nice things about a small town and makes you feel welcome. Trust me, that is not always the case for a brewery. I think that the openness comes from Aaron Rieland’s personality and desire to do things right. I can say that the beers all impressed me and I am hopeful that the quality and variety continues as they transition into their newer and bigger location. So, if you haven’t made the trip up yourself, hopefully this is the kick in the rear that might help you get going. Prost!
Bad Habit Brewing Company 15 E. Minnesota St., St. Joseph, MN 56374
Dan Beaubien has been involved with Beerploma since 2014 although his passion for craft beer dates back to 2006 when he started traveling for beer. Dan mostly covers craft beer events, festivals, brewery openings/releases, and beer reviews. Dan has a soft spot in his heart for authentic British Style ales, IPAs, and all things barrel-aged. If you have any questions or comments about this article feel free to email Dan at firstname.lastname@example.org .