Sunday, August 11, 2019

A visit to Mankato Brewery

Last weekend, I celebrated my five year wedding anniversary. We wanted to celebrate at first by doing something massive and extravagant. However since a first class flight to the Bahamas wasn't exactly feasible, we decided on the next best thing: A weekend in Mankato!

Mankato is one of those cities that you consistently hear about constantly but don’t visit unless you or a loved one happens to go to Minnesota State University. Which is kinda sad because there’s quite a bit to see around there in terms of nature & hiking and the food there too is also rather good. However this is a beer blog and we’re going to focus on, what else, beer!

After spending the morning scrambling along the hiking trail to get to the bottom of the waterfall at Minneopa State Park and watching herds of Bison roam the prairies, we decided that it was time for a beer! Since we were in Mankato, we decided to visit Mankato Brewery!

In comparison to most of the craft breweries in Minnesota, Mankato Brewing is actually one of the more senior craft breweries in Minnesota, having been formed in 2010. Also despite having the name of Mankato Brewing, the brewery itself isn’t located in Mankato, but in North Mankato which sits right across the Minnesota River from the actual city of Mankato proper.

If I could use one word to describe the taproom, it would be: roomy. The taproom consists of a bar with stools, tables that extend way beyond the bar at which patrons can sit at and all of the brewery equipment in view of everyone. This is one of those situations where the taproom is both intimate and roomy at the same time.

Now let’s talk about the beer itself. Since it was a hot summer day, I opted for styles of the mostly lighter variety. With that said, let’s get to it!

Name: Mr. Stout
Style: Imperial Stout
ABV: 11%
IBUs: 80

Opaque black in color, this beer has a strong chocolate malt and smoke profile upfront with some mild bitter hops and smokiness in the aftertaste. Despite all this, the beer itself feels incredibly smooth for being at 11% ABV in both body and texture and the boozy aspect of the flavor is hidden perfectly. It might not have been Imperial Stout weather that day, but this was an absolute pleasure to have! I’ll definitely be seeking this out once it becomes available in cans again.

Name: The Gob
Style: Shandy/Radler
ABV: 4%
IBUs: 10

Named after the caverns/ravines of the Mankato Golf Club in which countless golf balls have fallen into. This beer has a fairly bright lemon flavor with a mild lemon sweetness on the back end of the palate, but is otherwise fairly dry. Complex? No. Refreshing? Absolutely!

Name: Juice Box Hero
Style: Shandy/Radler
ABV: 4.5%
IBUs: 10

Named after the Foreigner song, this is a shandy made with raspberries & cherries. Much like the aforementioned Gob, the flavor itself has a bright fruity profile consisting of raspberries and cherry, with the former being the more potent of the two. Aftertaste is also pretty dry but there’s a subtle sweetness in there too. Much like The Gob, this is an ideal summer beer.

Name: The Sorceress Lemon Sour
Style: Sour-Fruited/Wild Ale
ABV: 5%
IBUs: 10

If I had to compare this beer to anything, it would be a Lemon Warhead candy albeit way less intense. Lemon tartness dominates most of the palate with some light pale malts on the back end along with some lemon peel. I've had some local sours that have been okay, but this is definitely one of my favorites!

Name: Ribfest
Style: Light Lager
ABV: 4%
IBUs: 10

Made for the annual Ribfest celebration that the city of Mankato hosts every year. Clocking in at 4% ABV, this beer has less alcohol content than Bud Light, but slighter higher in terms of IBUs (Bud Light is 4.2% ABV &  6 IBUs). If you took the adjunct flavor of Bud Light and replaced it with pale malts and barley, this is pretty much what you’d get. They’re clearly not trying to accomplish anything complex here in terms of flavor but it works for being an ideal beer to drink in the sweltering heat.

Overall, Mankato Brewing has a good vibe going for it. The taproom is nice, roomy, & atmospheric; The beer selection is plentiful and it’s just an overall nice place to kick back, relax and have a few pints. Plus the taproom staff are more than happy to point you in the right direction in terms of where to find some great beers/taprooms, which I’ll cover later on. If you find yourself in the Mankato area, this place is definitely worth checking out!

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