Happy Thirsty Thursday!
This week’s Minnesota craft brewery post takes a tad north to Stillwater. Enter first: Maple Island Brewing.
Maple Island Brewing is located in the heart of Stillwater along the St. Croix River. We visited in the winter. However, we could tell already that the patio overlooking the river will be a popular place in the summer!
What I like about Maple Island Brewing is that there are several beers available. There is also a wide range of styles, including those that aren’t run-of-the-mill. You may have noticed by now that while I love a good IPA, porter or stout, it’s the twists on a traditional beer that interest me most!
Believe it or not, we had a Groupon/Living Social voucher of some sort. While we want to visit so all of the breweries in the Twin Cities metro area, it’s generally a deal voucher with an expiration date that gets us there in a timely fashion. I’m not sure we would have made it up to Stillwater in winter otherwise.
I love when breweries allow you to try any of their beers as part of their deal voucher. Some only include their year-round beers in flights (even without a voucher).
Case in point, after our trip to this Maple Island, we popped over to Lift Bridge Brewing, also located in Stillwater. Lift Bridge did have a Groupon available at the time, but we did not purchase it. It wasn’t a very good value because among other trinkets we didn’t need, the “deal” included flights of flagship beers only such as their Farm Girl Saison and their Hop Dish IPA. We love that IPA and the clever name!
Still, those are Lift Bridge beers that I can find all over the Twin Cities! Give me a reason to come to your taproom. I want something new and interesting to drink. We only stopped by because we were in Stillwater and just for a pint. I was surprised that the taproom was rather small. It’s only now that I realize that I didn’t get any photos.
But here are a couple interesting facts about Lift Bridge. The brewery takes its name from the, uh, lift bridge that crosses the St. Croix river connecting Minnesota to Wisconsin. It’s also the first craft brewery in Stillwater since Prohibition! They’re a little part of history here.
Maple Island, on the other hand, allowed us to try any of their beers as part of our flights. Which meant that between the two of us, we could sample all nine on tap at a time!
Did we have a favorite Maple Island Brew, you ask?
You bet we did! We were lucky to hit up Maple Island Brewing in the winter because they had available their I Scream Brew! This beer is an Ice Cream Stout. No, really. It’s not a stout float. They added 60 pounds of Stillwater’s own Nelson’s chocolate, peanut butter and caramel ice cream to the batch. The result is a creamy, delicious, slightly sweet stout like no other!
Here’s another reason I love Maple Island: When they have specialty brews like this, they allow you to fill a growler with it, at a bit of an extra charge. See the tap menu and the note below it.
Many breweries don’t allow growler fills of their specialty beer because of limited quantity. Keeping a specialty beer on tap can draw people into the taproom. A beer that is sold out in record time will not once it is gone! I totally get that. But our voucher came with a growler and the I Scream is the brew I wanted to go home with me. And it did. 😉
I apologize for hyping up this beer when you can’t get it at the time of this posting. You may have noticed that we’ve visited most breweries in the winter. This is because our favorite styles tend to be offered during the colder months.
I don’t think you’ll find food trucks parked at Maple Island nor Lift Bridge, but Maple Island offers free popcorn and sometimes has Chicago Dogs for sale.
How far would you drive to check out a new taproom?