Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Thirsty Pagan Review

Just a quick review today...I've been busy with Fringe Festival this past week without time to write anything meatier!  Check this place out.

Two years ago, when in Duluth, we were encouraged to check out Thirsty Pagan Brewing across the bridge into Superior Wisconsin.  At that time my impressions of the beer were less than stellar.  Many had diacetyl and other unpleasant off aromas and flavors, with none really sticking out as especially worthy to me.  I promptly marked them off my list of breweries visited, and had no desire to go back.

This summer we were in Duluth for the All Pints North beer festival and my friend Shawn strongly recommended I go back.  I hemmed and hawed a bit, but eventually tacked it on to my final day up north as a lunch visit prior to driving back to the Twin Cities. 

The brewpub is situated in a somewhat industrial area (I know, so is the whole city of Superior) in an old creamery building.  The bar itself is fairly small, with old fashioned pizza joint table and booth seating within the bar room proper.  Around this central room is an L shaped accessory seating area for busier times (this is where we sat last time we were here) with pink tiled walls left over from the creamery days.  The walls abound with interesting old beer signs (metal, neon, etc.)

We arrived there just at 11 AM, the place just starting to fill with the early lunch crowd.  Our server was very attentive and we promptly got our beers and then food.  The beer sampler contained all of their tap beers (8-10 if I remember correctly) and came out on a cool holder made of an old barrel stave.  Miraculously, all the beers but one were of very good to excellent quality.  The Lawn Chair was less than stellar, having a smoky phenolic character that was not meant to be there!  Sj ordered the auxiliary sampler of three sour beers--a new series in the last year.  The sours were very good, and I was wishing she would share more!  We actually bought a growler of the sour brown (really a Flanders Red style) to take home with us to crack at the JAB lambic barrel fill event later that week.  A growler of sour beer has to be a first for me! 

We ordered a special pizza made with a pureed white bean and garlic sauce and olive oil and spinach atop it.  This was remarkable and worth a trip just for the pizza--a perfect counterpoint to the varied beers I was sampling!  By the time we finished with our meal and samples the place was packed, filling the bar side and spilling into the outer ring of seating.  I would certainly go back to Thirsty Pagan and was pleasantly surprised at the change in beer quality! 

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