If, for whatever reason, you don’t read to the end of this post, read this: Third Street Brewhouse’s Sugar Shack Maple Stout is one of the best beers I’ve ever had, and I’d bet you will, too.
Now, about our experience….
It was one of those lazy Saturday mornings where Katie and I woke up wanting to do something but unsure what. We tossed around the idea of taking a day trip – maybe driving up to Duluth, MN. We were working on Ale Adventure posts and ideas when it occurred to me – “Let’s tour a brewery!” In all the time we’ve been drinking and enjoying beer together, we’d never actually toured a brewery. A quick Google Maps search showed that Third Street Brewhouse in Cold Spring, MN was less than a 45-minute drive away and close enough to St. Cloud that we could hit another brewery afterwards.
Third Street Brewhouse is the craft beer division of Cold Spring Brewery – “the nation’s #1 specialty drink producer” – and we found a pretty big operation when we arrived. The taproom itself is quite small, not fitting more than 50 people, modern and professional though minimalistic and not the type of place you’d go to hang out for casual drinks with friends for more than 30 minutes (unless, perhaps, you’re actually from Cold Spring, population 4,100).
The tour was enjoyable and incredibly insightful. More formal than casual, we learned a lot about the beer-making process, from basics like the four main ingredients (grain, hops, water and yeast) to the science behind styles and colors and tastes. It was a great first tour and real introduction to the world of beer.
After the tour, we returned to the taproom to sample some of the beers (🙌).
To my taste, Minnesota Gold Lager was a pretty average beer, nothing to write home about. Hop Lift carried more taste, living up to its description as “a bold, dry-hopped IPA with citrus and passion fruit notes.” The Free Speech Red Ale was better suited to my malty-er palate, nutty and caramel-y. But it was the Sugar Shack Maple Stout that stole the show. A dark, rich stout paired with locally-tapped maple sugar from St. John’s Abbey, Sugar Shack is a glass of sweet liquid heaven. I’ll be stocking up on this seasonal brew while it’s still available.
Here’s our full review (categories are rated out of five 🍺):
- Beer Selection (number and styles available): 🍺🍺🍺🍺
- Beer Taste (expected of style): 🍺🍺🍺🍺🍺
- Location (find-ability/ accessibility): 🍺🍺🍺🍺
- Atmosphere/Venue: 🍺🍺🍺
- Service (of staff): 🍺🍺🍺🍺
Other Noteable Factors: Good tour experience with free sampling afterwards, good selection of merch, cool new hats, SUGAR SHACK MAPLE STOUT