North Dakota welcomed another new brewery this spring and it’s unique on multiple levels. When Drumconrath Brewing Company opened in Mapleton, a bedroom community a short drive west of Fargo-Moorhead a few weeks ago, it became the only brewery in a North Dakota small town since statehood. (That happened in 1889, if you’re counting.)
Brewer and owner Sam Corr wanted something quiet, rural and more affordable than the locations he was scouting in Fargo and Mapleton ticked off all those boxes. Drumconrath Brewing Company’s brewery and taproom space is low-key, no frills and completely functional.
This is the kind of place where the region’s farmers and industrial workers feel comfortable, a place where ladders lean against walls, the pool table is free, the brewery equipment is visible and you can come in with mud on your boots and not feel like anyone’s going to look at you funny. There are a few tables and chairs, but most of the regulars belly up to the bar. On warm days, picnic tables and chairs outside look out at the industrial part of this small city and the flat prairie and farm fields beyond.
Inside, the decor, the brewery name and the beer list are all influenced by brewer Sam’s ancestral homeland — Ireland. Drumconrath is the name of the village that Sam’s family comes from, the building is draped with Irish flags and St. Patrick’s Day is going to be a big deal at this place. He’s even planning to brew a beer from an old Irish recipe that will feature raw honey harvested in Ireland, wild heather and other unique elements that will appeal to both beer nerds and Irish history and culture buffs.
At the particular moment my husband and I visited, there were six beers on tap at Drumconrath, so we got a flight and tried everything. (The glasses look gigantic here for some reason, but they’re much more reasonably sized in person.)
I started with the Ribbonman Red, a super drinkable Irish red that features 20 pounds of honey in each batch and the Captain Farrell English Bitter, a malty, biscuity brew that, in spite of the name, isn’t bitter. (English Bitter is the name of the style and these beers — just to make life really confusing for beer newbies — are rarely bitter. They feature pale malts and a few more hops than in a standard pale ale.)
We also tried the Drumconrath Draught (my notes say “smooth, dark and yummy, with a thick, creamy head”) and the Auld Centralia APA, which the history nerd in me loved. Centralia was Fargo’s original name, before it was changed to honor a railroad investor and Wells Fargo founder. (When you write a North Dakota beer book, you end up with enough fun facts like this to torture your loved ones with until the end of time.) The beer is a balanced, true-to-style APA.
I was fully expecting to like the GaelForce IPA, since I enjoy pretty much every IPA. This one isn’t blast-your-tastebuds-off hoppy like I normally crave, but it worked for me. You get the malt first, which gives it a balance that I found appealing. Sam says the next batch will be a bit maltier (breweries usually tweak their recipes a bit in the early stages), so come out and grab this one before it changes so you can compare. (I had to order another one before it’s gone!)
I was surprised by the Sts. Peter and Paul Porter. I hit 200 unique beers on Untappd (and more than half of them were IPAs and sours) before I tried 10 different porters or stouts, so that tells you about all you need to know about my own beer bias. But I’ll order the porter at Drumconrath Brewing Company again. It’s flavorful and like most of Sam’s line-up, it’s pleasantly sweet without being cloying. It was my husband’s favorite and popular with the taproom regulars, which was a pleasant surprise for a state that has traditionally been a lager stronghold.
There’s a cream ale coming in a few weeks, as well as a few seasonals to try. If you want to sample the beer for yourself, Sam’s giving away a $25 Drumconrath Brewing Company gift card to one lucky reader!
The contest is open to anybody in the world that can get to North Dakota sometime in the near future. It ends on May 16, so enter now and enter often! Tweeting about the contest, liking, commenting on or sharing the post on Facebook gives you additional entry opportunities and you can share as often as once a day. If you’re having trouble seeing the contest widget on your phone, just comment below or give me a heads up on social media and I’ll send you the instructions.
Sláinte! And good luck.
What about you?
What do you think about Drumconrath Brewing Company?
What beer are you most excited to try there?
What kind of beer do you normally drink?
Drumconrath Brewing Company
349 Knutson Street
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