Saturday, March 18, 2017

Northern Ale Guide, Stop 6 - Lake Monster Brewing

Stamp Number 6: Lake Monster Brewing, 550 Vandalia Street, St. Paul

The Lake Monster water tower
from below. It doubles as a handy
landmark when trying to find
the place among the warehouses
and train tracks.
The following exchange is an actual conversation we've had with our kids, more than once:

Parent: "Hey kids, what do you want to do today?"
Kid(s): "Go to Lake Monster!!"

And that's it. Nicci and I have succeeded as parents. We ask our kids what they want to do prepared to do anything - go for a nature walk, take them to the zoo, go to a movie, whatever. And, more than once, they have picked going to Lake Monster.

It makes sense, though. The brewery has a huge open courtyard for them to play in, dominated by an abandoned water tower. There's tons of open space for them to run in any direction, and nobody really cares if you let them go. For when it's too cold to use the courtyard, Lake Monster has a dedicated kids area with all sorts of toys, so we don't have to throw the normal board games at them. I honestly think they'd sit there all day if we'd let them.

Us grownups could sit there all day, too. Whatever you want from your taproom atmosphere, Lake Monster has it: a nice public outside seating area, an area to still be outside but away from the crowd, and a truly bar-like inside atmosphere. 

And I don't think we've ever gone to Lake Monster without there being a food truck in the parking lot. We've seen craft fairs set up in the courtyard. We've seen adult birthday parties (my own) and kid birthday parties (not our own). We've seen people inexplicably sneak in some Coors Light in their backpack, because some people don't deserve nice things.

Oh, and the beer is good, too. That's kind of important, I guess. I've liked most of the beers I've had there, and we've been there enough that I've had most of them. The Calhoun Claw is probably what they'd call their flagship beer, and it's one of their best, but the Beastie Bock and Irish Red are good too.

Lake Monster is everything you'd want in a relaxing day out. If you haven't gone to a taproom, this would be a good place to start. And when you go, give us a call ... as long as you don't mind us dragging our kids along with us.

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