Here’s a fun fact about bloggers (well, this one anyway). It’s entirely possible to get caught up in researching and photographing an article and completely forget that you haven’t actually published it yet. That’s totally what happened with Kilstone Brewing.
Fargo-Moorhead’s fourth craft brewery opened in north Fargo in early 2015. It’s a family affair, run by brothers/brewers Brock and Grant Wigen and their dad Randy.
I visited Kilstone Brewing to research this craft beer article for Matador Network (it’s a rough life, I know). I brought my husband Derrick along because 1.) He really likes craft beer and 2.) This made it socially acceptable to order two beer flights so we could sample the maximum amount of beer in a short amount of time and still be able to function the next day.
The brewery and taproom are located off of 7th Avenue North, near (but not accessible from) Interstate 29. When the garage door is closed and the patio chairs and tables are tucked inside, Kilstone Brewing blends in with the nearby warehouses in the mostly industrial neighborhood.
“It’s like we’re drinking in someone’s shop,” Derrick said as we glanced around the spotlessly clean taproom. “But in a good way.”
The space is unassuming, but it’s not bare. Artist Chuck Hues painted a big nature mural behind the bar, which was custom made by family members. The folks at the bar on the night we visited were not into the idea of being in a photo, but thankfully this shot from Kilstone’ Brewing’s Facebook page shows it off a bit better.
Photo by Kilstone Brewing
The come-as-you-are vibe attracts neighborhood folks, sports fans and coworkers who gather for a beer after their shift as well as the usual craft beer enthusiasts. The trivia and game nights are really popular, too.
My friends (and fellow craft beer enthusiasts mentioned above) had been raving about Kilstone’s refreshing Watermelon Wheat (served with a watermelon wedge for good measure) but that wasn’t on the menu on the day we visited. Happily, the Kilstone Brewery line-up offered lots of smooth, drinkable alternatives.
We ordered two flights and tried (clockwise from top left) the Pre-Game Pale Ale, Vanilla Milk Stout, Crooked Captain Caramel ESB, Ironstone Irish Red, Polyphonic Pale Ale and Hopposable Thumbs IPA. Everything was served on a tray in little mason jars.
The Pre-Game Pale Ale is a great choice for craft beer newbies. It’s light and smooth with just a little bite. The Ironstone Irish Red is another great gateway beer — balanced, a little nutty and probably delicious when the weather heats up.
The Polyphonic Pale Ale finished clean, with just a hint of hops at the end. Hopposable Thumbs was the hoppiest of the bunch (and, as I mentioned, still not overtly hoppy, in this hop addict’s opinion). But it’s a solid, enjoyable IPA when you’re craving one. Both of these beers smelled like absolute heaven, which was a strangely great addition to the experience.
I loved the vanilla notes of the milk stout and the Crooked Captain’s Caramel ESB was my favorite surprise of the night. The beer is labeled as an ESB, which means extra strong/special bitter. But the name doesn’t necessarily refer to the flavor profile of the beer, it just means that it’s made in the British style. It was toasty and malty and mellow and sweet in a refreshingly non-cloying way.
Some of these beers were seasonal brews, so I’m looking forward to getting back to Kilstone Brewery to see what’s on tap now. And it’s almost patio weather, so I can’t wait to try a few summer beers in the sun.
Overall, I found that Kilstone’s brews were subtle and balanced, with a touch more overall sweetness than you might expect. This is beer for an even-keeled Midwestern palate, not necessarily for super esoteric craft beer nerd. Even the IPA offerings were accessible and not super hoppy. That makes Kilstone a great gathering place for beer drinkers of all stripes.
Have you been to Kilstone yet? What beers do you recommend?
764 34th Street North
Bus Route: 17
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