Guest Post: Lift Bridge Brewery Tour and Sampling Notes

Guest Post by: Justin Kwong

On Saturday, my friend Mathew and I attended the debut of Lift Bridge Brewery’s seasonal Belgian ale, Biscotti, and had a great time.  In case you haven’t been following the microbrewery explosion in Minnesota, Lift Bridge is Stillwater’s first brewery since Prohibition shut down the four breweries that made their home along the St. Croix River.  The most important thing you need to know about Lift Bridge now, however, is that you can take a tour of their new brewing operation for free!  All you have to do is sign up on their website.  The second thing you need to know is that, following passage of the “Surly” bill, microbreweries like Lift Bridge can now legally serve their fine wares on the premises.  This gives connoisseurs the option to peek behind the scenes and then taste the beer at its freshest.

Lift Bridge’s six main offerings this time of year include their crisp staple Farm Girl saison, the smooth and nutty Chestnut Hill brown ale, a refreshingly tart lingonberry-infused Minnesota Tan, the well-balanced Crosscut pale ale, the complex and malty Belgian Biscotti and my personal favorite, the 12.5% ABV bourbon-barrel-aged Commander barley wine.  As a whisky lover, the Commander blew my mind with its distinct notes of oak, vanilla and spices.  With such a high alcohol content, it’s warm and rich, but enjoy it in small portions or you’ll be needing a cab ASAP!  When it comes to beer, I tend to prefer smooth, maltier ales like the Farm Girl and Biscotti.  Mathew is a hops man–for him, the bitterer the better.  He loves the Crosscut and Hop Prop IPA, and when in season, the Harvestör, which is brewed with fresh hops instead of the dried varieties used in most brews for that extra bite of citrus and pine.  You can sip most of these fine selections for just $4 per pint, a flight of three 4 oz. pours for $4.50, or you can try all six for just $9.  If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try one of 15 different beer combinations, like the Chesty Girl (combining the Chestnut Hill and Farm Girl).

The Lift Bridge brewery is located just off highway 36 on the outskirts of Minnesota’s founding city.  Parking is easy and free and a stone’s throw from Brine’s amazing meat market.  While you’re there, you can pick up a 64 oz.(!) growler for that special beer connoisseur in your family or refill it for your next party.  Beer is having a great year in Minnesota, and 2012 should be even better!