Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Northern Ale Guide, Stop 11 - Lift Bridge Brewing

Stamp Number 11: Lift Bridge Brewing Company, 1900 Tower Drive W, Stillwater

On a bluff in Interstate State Park, with the St. Croix River and
Wisconsin behind us. I screwed up my knee carrying Abby up and
down that trail, but it was only temporary.
Nicci's birthday was earlier this month, and it coincided with spring break for both her and the kids, so I took two midweek days off and we booked a camper cabin in the middle of nowhere and we fully planned on having a relaxing two-day mini vacation.

And then both kids threw up the couple of days before.

Naturally, we didn't want to take the kids somewhere overnight when there was a risk of further sickness, so we scrapped the cabin idea and decided to have a staycation instead. Because Nicci still wanted a camping-like birthday, we headed up to Taylors Falls and took her favorite hiking trail at Interstate State Park. With the huge river bluffs and the fascinating pothole trail, Interstate is a must-see park, and we all had a lot of fun.

We also got very thirsty.

Lift Bridge was just down the road in Stillwater, and because it was a stamp in our passport and beer we had previously tried and liked, it was an easy decision to head down that way. On our way, we passed Maple Island Brewing, and figured we'd stop in. Unlike Lift Bridge, you can actually see the Stillwater lift bridge from Maple Island. It's right on Main Street, with a huge deck facing the river, so it's going to be a very popular place when Twin Citians return to Stillwater in the summer like the salmon of capistrano. It's a good thing they have a huge interior space and almost a dozen beer choices. Because Minnesotans can't avoid Stillwater in the summer, people will go there, and they'll enjoy it.

We left the lift bridge to go to Lift Bridge, our original destination, and I was surprised at how small it was in their taproom. We've been drinking Lift Bridge forever - I think their Farm Girl is Nicci's single favorite beer - so it seemed odd to me that their taproom seemed almost like an afterthought. Well, maybe afterthought is a bad word, because it was really well done in there. It's just obvious that they've focused on distribution more than their room. But it's still worth going to. And the bonus is that you don't have to go into downtown Stillwater to get there. You'll stay within a stone's throw of Highway 36 without ever having to deal with the potential chaos that is Main Street.

After Lift Bridge, our trip to Taylors Falls and Stillwater was done, but we weren't done exploring the rivers along Minnesota's eastern border. The next day, we headed south along the Mississippi to hit the next taproom on our list...

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