Friday, October 3, 2014

Third Street Brewhouse (Cold Spring, MN)

Entrance to Third Street Brewhouse
After several attempts during trips to St. Cloud, I finally found the time to visit the Third Street Brewhouse, even making the 1 pm tour.

Brewing since 1874, Cold Spring Brewing today contract brews a range of beverages. For a more detailed summary of Cold Spring, check this MinnPost article. Knowing their background, I was amused that only top notch craft brewers like Tallgrass and 21st Amendment were mentioned by the guide. I noticed a TCHO chocolate box on a shelf, which the guide said they were using it to test a new brew. Compared to other brewery tours, Cold Spring is very slick and industrial.  A very cool set up, I can see where they can produce a lot of beer very efficiently to specs.

Bitter Neighborhood

After the tour, we sat as a group at the large, wood communal tables. All are brewed cleanly and good beers.  The Hunny Do Wheat Beer was an interesting wheat beer made with honeydew melon, which was very apparent in the taste. Too thin for my taste but I can see why others might like it. The Jack'd Up Autumn Ale, not a pumpkin ale but a spiced fall ale according to the description was a more unique interpretation for a fall seasonal and one the proved popular at the bar the night before. I finished the visit with a draft of my favorite of the Third Street line up: Bitter Neighbor Black IPA. It's a full flavored India Pale Ale that is smooth and quaffable, a great introduction so someone new to the style yet complex info to interest a beer geek.

Part way through my pint, I noticed a fellow coach sitting at the bar, someone I've met but haven't gotten the opportunity to know well. As always, beer as a common denominator accelerates the process. While the tour of the brewery and the samples were more or less what I expected, a good bar and a good beer still ends with a pleasant surprise.