The kitchen-knife taps at Falling Knife Brewing Co. are going to stick out to just about anyone who enters the new northeast Minneapolis brewery.
Whether or not the design works for you, what ultimately matters is the beer being made at what used to be the Northgate Brewing Co. space. On a somber Sunday afternoon, I made the trek to Falling Knife to see what it was all about. Praise was high, but I went in with a neutral viewpoint. Hype in beer is often misguided.
The verdict? Well, Growler Magazine quoted one of the founders saying that the craft beer industry doesn’t allow breweries a grace period anymore to get the beer right, so they needed to be great immediately.
My initial tweet at the brewery, when it was just nine days old (in late October), sums up my thoughts nicely: every beer — from the pilsner to the hazies to the coffee stout — was technically sound and tasted great. The place is a great new addition to the Minnesota beer scene.
Least impressive on the day was a coffee stout, Ghost Step – Sumatra, but it was still an enjoyable beer. Which is forgivable -- it’s hard to find a good coffee stout these days that doesn’t also have a lot of other adjuncts.
Moving up from there, DDH Cloud Surfing is a hazy double IPA, double dry-hopped with citra cryo, mosaic, denali, and simcoe. I’m a huge simcoe fan, but this was my least favorite of the hazy beers. It was sweeter, giving off canned pineapple juice vibes.
Cumulonimbus was an over-fruited kettle sour with pink guava, pineapple, and passion fruit, where the passion and guava shone.
Two beers were clear standouts. One was hazy IPA Verbal Tip – a hop combo rife with that pleasing, catty aroma of citra. Grapefruit and blueberry flavors abound, with grapefruit pith building as you sip.
The best beer on the day was Freischütz, a pilsner. Bready. Earthy – almost copper-like. A joy to drink and a clear indicator of the technical ability the brewing team – who have combined experiences at Surly, Fair State, Bauhaus, and Sisyphus – brings to the table right out of the gate.
Table service will make getting these brews a different experience than most breweries. Also of note is the 20-barrel brewhouse. That’s a great size (Rochester’s largest brewhouse is 10 barrels). Because batches are so big (they also have five 20-barrel fermenters and two 40-barrel fermenters) they’ll have plenty of beer. The cooler was full of crowlers, allowing me to take home The Joy Fermentable to try later that day, another delectable hazy IPA.
I’ll be heading back up to Falling Knife to see how it evolves and improves very soon. The Verbal Tip crowler I shared with Rochester friends already has them dreaming of a quick escapade to the brewery.
Oh, and there’s pinball in the back of the brewery. You can’t go wrong with an X-Men pinball cabinet. I feel like Wolverine wouldn’t mind a beer in this spot, bub.