“Let’s see if we can squeeze one more adventure into this chock-full weekend,” my husband proposed. We had already spent all day Saturday at the Back to the ‘50s car show at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, enjoyed a Carribean-themed dinner in Hudson, Wisconsin, toured Prince’s Paisley Park on Sunday morning and shopped at Albertville Premium Outlet. What more did we require?
When he suggested a stop at the newly opened Northmen 22 Brewery on the Carlos Creek Winery grounds, I was all in.
About the name
According to www.22northmen.com, in 1362, 22 Northmen traveled thousands of miles from the land of the Vikings to Alexandria. They traveled far, risked much, overcame great obstacles and arrived with a powerful thirst. As Viking descendants, the brewery is honoring the 22 Northmen and their “Beerventurous” spirit.
About the building
The brewery shares ownership with Carlos Creek Winery and is located next to the wine tasting room. The building, called a longhouse, is inspired by 12th-century Viking architecture, blending old Scandinavian building elements such as steep pitched roof and extended eaves. The interior walls are reclaimed wood from a 200 year old church and a large two-
sided stone fireplace dominates the entry presenting a Viking-styled communal experience. On warmer days you’ll be tempted to imbibe outside on the large patio, play bocce ball or try garden chess.
About the beer
22 Northmen currently has nine beers on tap, with plans to expand the selection. Head brewer Keith Hefley aims to craft beer inspired by Scandinavian traditions along with innovative, yet tasteful selections.
Due to the intriguing menu, we were unable to narrow our selection to one flight (four 2-ounce tastings). Instead, we ordered two flights plus the one extra, which turned out to be a great decision – discovering that any of the beers singularly would be an excellent choice. The Norse Lager (4.2% ABV) is light and crisp – a good starter beer for a craft beer newbie. At 5% ABV, the Kolsch is also crisp, with a tasty malted body and slightly hoppier than the Norse. Sommer Lager (4.4% ABV), my personal favorite, is on the sour spectrum infused with lime and sea salt. German Pilsner, classic malt balanced with Saez hops, makes for easy drinking with alcohol by volume of 5.2%. Scottish 70, darker in color with the lowest ABV of 3.8%, has a distinct malty sweetness. The Belgian Pale Ale boasts subtle fruit and delicate spice notes with an ABV of 5.6%. Brown Porter, (5.4% ABV) the darkest beer on the current lineup, delivers coffee and roasted caramel characteristics. Norwegian Farmhouse Ale at 5.9% ABV was adapted for Minnesota. It uses a Finnish malt and Kveik yeast strain (Kveik – pronounced “kwike” means “yeast” in a particular Norwegian dialect. It’s the hottest new centuries-old beer yeast you’ve never heard of. For generations, Norwegian brewers have been quietly passing down the yeast that ferment their unique, characterful farmhouse ales between family and friends (draftmag.com). A stone fruit character pairs with pine and citrus hops. My daughter, a Rhode Island resident, informed me that one doesn’t see many Norwegian Farmhouse Ales in New England! Rounding out the flight was American DDH-IPA, with layered hop notes of pine, citrus and fruit. (ABV 7%).