The Best of the Twin Cities: Beef & Brews

Alyssa Groskopf | July 11, 2019

With summer finally arriving, I’ve been plenty busy attending livestock shows, events with family and friends, as well as intern duties. However, in my free time I have taken full advantage of being able to travel around Minnesota to check out some of my favorite locations… breweries! 

This summer, I’ll be bringing you The Best of the Twin Cities Beef & Brews series. I’ll be stopping at unique breweries that also offer beef on the menu! Whether it’s in the brewery itself, a food truck outside, or a restaurant within walking distance, I’ll be finding some of the best spots to try. In my opinion, there is nothing that complements a beef meal better than a cold brew. That being said, here’s a blog for beef and beer lovers alike – follow me around this summer and let me know what you think of these stops! 

With the 4th of July this past week, my day off of work allowed time for my first stop of the summer. Lucky for you (and myself), I had company with me this time, as Joseph O’Sullivan decided to tag along. This means you get double the reviews of the beverages and beef options selected!  

Our travels brought us to The Boulder Tap House in Mankato, MN. This location offers 38 beers on tap, and they specialize in offering an array of beverages that aim to please any preference. Whether you prefer light or full body, honey-kissed or hoppy, smoky and extra dark, or pale and dry drinks, The Boulder Tap House advertises they have an option for you – and we would have to agree.

Brews

Since it was a little early in the afternoon yet for dinner, we began with a round of drinks. Joseph chose to begin with Guinness Draught (Nitro), a Stout – Irish dry brew from Saint James’ Gate, Leinster served as a 22 oz Draft. This deep-dark brew was smooth, yet bittersweet at the same time. And, with a 4.2% ABV it was an appropriate starting point for the evening. I chose to begin with something a little lighter and selected the Vander Mill Hard Apple Cider, a cider from Spring Lake, MI, served as a 16 oz Draft. I thoroughly enjoyed this selection, as it was refreshing after escaping the heat. The unique blend of apples provided a balance between the sweetness of the apples with a bite from the acidity at the end. In hindsight, the 6.5% ABV probably was a little much for a starting drink. (Whoops.)

With all of the unique options as this location, we decided to try two new drinks for our second round. Joseph ordered the Maui Pueo Pale Ale, an American Pale Ale from Kihei, HI, served as a 14 oz Draft. This is a West-coast style Pale Ale with a balanced malt profile, that’s kettle and dry-hopped with Citra and hops for intensity. This proved to be another great selection, perhaps a bit too hoppy for my taste, but Joseph was a big fan. I selected the August Schell Sangria, an American Amber Lager from New Ulm, MN served as a 14 oz Draft. This was their single seasonal selection and was complete with sweet, tropical flavors. If you’re a fan of very fruity, citrus-based beers, then this is the choice for you! The after-taste packed a punch with added citrus flavors. Joseph liked this one a little more than I did. However, I think if I would have started with this one, I would have enjoyed it a little more. 

The Maui Pueo Pale Ale is on the left, with the August Schell Sangria on the right. 

BEEF

We obviously couldn’t leave without ordering a beef themed dish from their menu, which they had many to choose from! The Boulder Tap House offers a “Burger of the Month” for the adventurous soul that wants to try something new. This month they offered the “Luau” burger, complete with a 6 oz patty, shredded pork, grilled pineapple, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion. We decided that seemed like a bit much, so after looking through the menu a little more, we decided on an appetizer of Pepper Jack and White Cheddar Cheese Curds and Steak Lettuce Wraps. The cheese curds were a reason to go to this location in and of themselves, as they were served as cubes.  

As for the steak lettuce wraps, they turned out to be a great choice as well. They were served with a mild salsa, guacamole and a Chipotle Southwest ranch. Here are our individual reviews:  

Joseph: The seasoning on the steak is very good, and it was cooked to perfection. The Southwest Ranch pairs with the steak very well. After trying a wrap with and without the Chipotle Ranch, it’s definitely a must to include in the wrap to bring the flavor profile to the next level. 

Alyssa: Overall, I thought that these were a great summer choice. They’re perfect for someone that isn’t all that hungry, yet still wants to include beef in their meal. They were light, and very tasty. The Chipotle Southwest Ranch was a great addition to the wrap. They might be a little messy, so it’s maybe an item that I wouldn’t suggest for a first date or if you’re prone to spilling food on yourself like I am.  

mEET CHUCK

Cooking beef doesn't need to be scary. So, meet Chuck. Chuck Knows Beef will help you determine what cuts to buy when in the store and how to prepare it when home in your kitchen!