Taking the chance to add your homebrew to an event that rates and compares a diverse array of top brews from professional breweries across the planet is a bold move.  You are putting your craft out there for comparison with a variety of tested and often perfected recipes produced by brewers who have made the switch to brewing as a profession. In addition The decision of where to place the brew in a twenty four day event had to be a difficult decision. Put it too early in the list and risk that some have not had the opportunity to expand their palate to the variety of adjuncts and new flavors that many breweries are playing around with lately, too late and people may be more locked down on the flavors and styles that they have liked thus far. Being the third in a series of twenty four I need to disclose first that this entry came after two brews that I found highly palatable and will may end up purchasing at a future rate having enjoyed both.

img_3810

I chose to pour into a glass to best matching the style (Belgian Dubbel). It poured well with a decent head with a dark reddish amber color. The aroma had rich malty sweetness with slight notes of cranberry and very slight clove spiciness that can come from Belgian yeast. The flavor was very tart which partially distracted from the malty sweetness. The back end was somewhat bitter and the tartness from the cranberry flavor definitely remained.

Out of the gate I approached this expecting a traditional dubbel but was overwelmed by the tart cranberry. I found that given some time to come closer to room temp the tartness mellowed and I found it to be a more drinkable brew for the last few sips. I would place this brew in the category of specialty holiday brews to try once but couldn’t see going through more than one.

With the new onslaught of high end restaurants selling fancy burgers and fabricated authenticity it is always a pleasure to find a place without pretense, where the same fryer and griddle have likely been in use since before a Clinton or a Bush entered politics (maybe even a Kennedy as well). If you are looking for an establishment that is content with its current clientele and does not expense with the frivolity of trying to be “the new thing”, look not further than Schullers Tavern in Golden Valley.

The place proclaims itself the “Last Real Roadhouse”, which I take as a jab at the influx of chain based roadhouse-esque eateries that popped up in the mid to late 90’s around town (with some still remaining). Since the place first opened in 1929 I am guessing they have seen many a trendy establishment come and go and one would hope they will weather current trends as well.

signage-1024x427
Image from http://www.schullerstavern.com

The Place: The building has clearly been built upon in a few minor expansions over the years and you may feel like you stumbled into the back alley entrance to a speakeasy (the place did open during prohibition). Upon entering you first pass a barred and locked beer cooler before actually finding your way to the bar and restaurant area. From what we gathered this is tied to off-sale liquor sales that Schullers offers. While not uncommon in the “land of cheese” or in the Northwoods, happening upon an on/off sale joint when you live in the Twin Cities metro area is like finding an hidden onion ring in your basket fries. It’s something that you didn’t know you wanted but you quickly realize is a good idea.

The Atmosphere/Service: The crowd appeared friendly overall with a hint of suspicion at the new faces we brought in. There was no problem finding a place to sit at a table (maybe at 15% of capacity on a Tuesday around 6). The bar, however, was full and you got the sense that these seats were rarely available during business hours. The random smattering of other patrons included a couple guys in suits working on some sort of business plan, a large group of people in the corner seemingly there to celebrate some sort of milestone, and a few small groups of people clearly there to enjoy good food and good company. Our server was attentive, friendly, and made sure we did not go thirsty.

The Food/Beverage: Upon arrival I put in an order for a refreshing beverage (happy hour prices are only on standard domestic beers but this includes GrainBelt/”Premo”) and a full plate of wings. Schullers puts any place charging more than $10 for 10-12 puny meatless bones covered in sauce to indisputable shame. WARNING: A full plate of wings is 3 lbs of sticky whole chicken wing deliciousness, prepare to be full. With three of us we were able to polish the plate clean but the prospect of trying to fit a meal into the outing was out of the question. As any self-respecting tavern should there was also a popcorn machine and a tap list that included a handful of local brews in addition to the standard domestic options.

IMG_2399

If you find yourself on highway 55 in golden valley in need of some cold refreshment, some sustenance, and a no nonsense environment, head on over Schullers. Just tell them Mancuisine.com sent you!