Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blue Nile Restaurant and Lounge (Minneapolis, MN)

After years of going to the Blue Nile, I'm finally doing a review after attending last night's Battle of the Belg. I didn't try them all, but filled in my list with a few new beers. Last night's sampling included De Ranke XX Bitter and Harriet Brewing Dark Abbey. Both fine ales, but in different categories for the head to head format of the tasting. Tried both Epic Brainless on Cherries and Kasteel Rouge in the fruit category to finish the night--for me, Kasteel wins hands down, but I walked away with more respect for the Epic ale than I had when I tasted the bottle last fall. 

Over the years, I've added 50 new drafts to my list with excellent beers ranging from St. Amand French Country Ale to Boulder's Killer Penguin, and many of those--like Monk's Flemish Ale--are difficult to find other places. Since I live over 20 miles from the Nile, I'm an irregular regular at best. But it's always a treat when I do. Bar manager Al McCarty--aka feloniousmonk--always does a fine job of not only bringing in great beer, but you know that the beer is always going to be well served in its proper glass. The beer you're drinking is the beer the brewery wanted you to drink. For me, there's no greater compliment. 

Food is excellent as well. My favorite meal is from the bar menu. It's the falafel sandwich, made with simple, fresh ingredients that makes it my usual. I've tried the range of vegetarian options of authentic Ethiopian food and have enjoyed them all. While the menu may be new to many, the descriptions of the food and the help from the servers makes ordering and indulging accessible for everyone. 

In short, if you haven't tried the Blue Nile and stopped in to say hi to Al, you are missing out of one the most unique beer spots anywhere. When I belly up to the bar for a special event or walk in for a Saturday afternoon pint, I simply ask Al--what am I drinking today? And, I'm never disappointed.

Reviewed on: 10-16-2011 19:08:45

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