Wednesday, September 2, 2015
F-Town Brewing (Faribault, MN)
F-Town Brewing on a summery Thursday afternoon, I was disappointed by the clear lack of air conditioning due to the garage doors being open. My dashed hopes of a cool bar where lifted by the first sip of IPAlicious: dark for an IPA with a creamy beige head on the top, cherry maroon in color with gold highlights around the edge, grassy nose with clear hops, but not fruity. The malty nose like a good amber ale with a big chewy body.
IPAlicious feels like an "old" IPA—more to style, with a malty base to support the hops before craft beer pushed the hops to shine over the malt.
The caramel and malt flavors are punctuated by the solid hop bitterness. An excellent IPA that doesn't have the flavor of 100+ IBUs, but the hops are needed to burn though the malt. Nice balance and enjoyable to drink.
After looking at the brewhouse, I traded my empty glass for a Nutso, an excellent nut brown ale. I sampled both Nutso and #1 American, a pale ale that was good but didn't quite measure up to the nut brown for me. At the bar were patrons Tracy and her father Charles. They told me about the Fleckenstein Brewing connection. I assumed the F of F-Town simply referred to Faribault, but there's a history connected to reviving the Fleckenstein name, a historic brewery in town. In researching, I found a difficult to navigate website giving the history of Fleckenstein. The Faribault Heritage Preservation Commission has a much more understandable video. SouthernMNBiz.com chronicles the fight over the Fleck's brand name without a conclusion in the article. The Growler makes the clear connection between the controversy and the opening of F-Town. Tracy and Charles at the bar said their last name was Fleck, the reason for their drive.
Two of the three people behind F-Town were in the brewhouse when I walked down to look at it. Talking to Travis while his kids played emphasized the family nature of the operation. Only open two weeks when I visited, sales pressure was already outstripping production. From the articles, these beers have been tested over time and worked on to make this brewery a success. All that I tasted were solid and point to being popular. I sat down to write up some impressions and ended up chatting with more locals at the orange picnic tables that naturally bring everyone together. While I didn't find AC, the shade and friendly locals combined with good beer made F-town a pretty cool stop.