|612 Mary Ann with tap list|
Walking into the pub, the Ommegang dinner is advertised and shows a bit of their beer knowledge to start. Plus, I noticed later that the pub hosted a pre-festival Kegs and Eggs brunch as well. The bar is clearly trying to be in tune with the beer community. I settled in with a cardboard bowl of free popcorn on a corner stool of the larger rectangular bar, which is clearly the center of the pub, literally and metaphorically, as the restaurant surrounds both sides. Standard sports bar TVs all around for everyone. The decoration gives it a Friday's feel, but it's far too local and genuine for that comparison. In the mid afternoon of this rainy Saturday, the bar is over half full. The bartender's pitch of reduced priced happy hour appetizers explains the excitement.
Looking at the taps, I ordered the Castle Danger seasonal, which turned out to be appropriate for the day: Gale Force Wheat. The amber-orange beer with an off white head falls quickly with a clean lace. Not much of a nose, but where's there is fresh wheat and a hint of fruitiness. Full mouthfeel, carbonic twang and an orange, citrus flavor that matches the color. Very surprising. almost chewy. wheat beer and one that I would happily drink through the summer.
Well designed tap list of about two dozen that represents the basic range of drinkers from MGD Light and Apple Orchard Crispy Apple to Surly Furious and Pour Decisions Infidelity (out today). Towards the lighter end overall, but enough to keep most folks happy. With a clear bent towards Minnesota craft, I'm finding two local breweries that I haven't tried before, so hard to complain, plus there are two bonus firkins of Summit at the end of the bar.
Second draft is 612 Brew's Mary Ann, a German lager with ginger, a clear Gilligan's Island reference for those of a particular age. Shimmering yellow lager with a thin, stark white head. With a deep whiff, I can smell the ginger and light breadiness, but not a strong presence. Wait for it—light and refreshing while not thin, the ginger bites hard on the tongue. Ginger lovers will bask in this beer all summer. Happy I tried it and a very strong addition to the local beerscape, but not a new favorite of mine. However, it does perk up my hopes for trying more 612.
With a group, got to try a range of food. Deep fried Pub Shrooms with remoulade sauce were excellent, and we shared Fried Hop Curds, the lightest, not greasy cheese curds I have ever had. The Wood Fired Pub Nachos and clam chowder soup, while good, didn't match up to the appetizers. Strong service by our waitress allowed us to eat quickly and relax a bit before heading to the show. Final pint of Summit Saga on cask was well served and a good choice to end my stop.
When at the bar, one of the five guys that ordered tequila shots gives me a stare for taking a picture of my beer with my iPad. I might be a bit yuppy for the bar but Stout's is a great local is St. Paul that seems to be working hard to serve a range of clientele, handling the beer with respect and providing a comfortable place for all.