Friday Links

We have made it to the end of a short work week! It’s officially “summer” season up here in Minnesota, but I know for many of you it’s very warm and has been so for a while. What wonderful things are you doing this week? I’m going to visit my family in Iowa.

Speaking of, I went to Decorah, Iowa, last weekend; look for a blog recap soon. On the way home I checked out Forager Brewing Company in Rochester, Minnesota. Such a cool space, it has lots of little spaces, rooms and nooks, with all kinds of decor, food and beer styles. I posted a picture on my Instagram. (Follow me at Kale and Ale if you are on IG!)

RELATED: Rochester daytrip: Breweries and hiking options

 

Speaking of, if you are looking for new drinks, I’m hosting a giveaway of a copy of “Wild Drinks and Cocktails,” so enter by Monday! Enter for your chance to win here. Even if you don’t win, check out the recipe for the Claret Cup.

I love running in different locations and races that are on new routes. As the article “9 Best Places to Run in the U.S.” states, running while traveling is great because it’s a way to sight see, feel like a local and work up an appetite for new restaurants and food. I really couldn’t agree more. While I haven’t run any of these places, I’ve walked or been near a few, and can agree these are good locations. What is the best place you have run?

Do you love food trucks and live in the Twin Cities? Here are a handful of food trucks to watch and visit in the Twin Cities in 2016, including a juice and smoothie truck, a sushi-burrito truck, and food served out of a Winnebago.

 

Daytrip: St. Croix Valley

Afton State Park bluffs | KaleAndAle.com

Bluffs at Afton State Park

This past weekend was gorgeous. Minnesota was feeling near-record temps. Knowing those days are numbered and I’ll soon be homebound, coupled with fall colors on display, I headed east for some hiking in Afton State Park, located on the St. Croix River at the boarder of Minnesota and Wisconsin, and take advantage of some Wisconsin beers while I was there.

State Park: Afton State Park

About a 35 minute drive from Minneapolis, it was easy to access yet away from everything. The trails are great: Its easy to follow, they clearly display the difficulty and trails intersect often in very short (.2 or .3 miles) so its a very “choose your own adventure” hike. I was at the tail end of a nasty spell of allergies and didn’t know how hiking would make me feel, so it was nice to decide if I would go a little further or not on a whim.

Afton State Park path | KaleAndAle.com

Not as much fall color as I hoped, but perfect temps and a natural tree canopy make for great hiking.

With 20 miles of trail at different difficulties, I was to go back when I’m feeling better and explore more. In my few miles of hiking I was able to see bluffs (which is the level the visitor center is), woods and prairie.

If hiking isn’t your thing, the gently rolling, wide trails are also used for horseback riding, snowshoeing and cross county skiing. With a wood-fire stove in the visitor center, its obvious this park is popular year-round.

Brewery: Pitchfork Brewing Company

Pitchfork Brewing Hudson | KaleAndAle.com

Pitchfork Brewing Company

Located four miles into the state, Pitchfork offers a lot of different kinds of beer, and has a tempting list of what will be on tap soon. While I was there they had a wet (local!) hop in a firkin, and a pumpkin and Oktoberfest beer. I tried a bit of each of those and the rye saison, which were all solid choices. They give samples and have a variety of glass sizes so it’s easy to try a little of everything. Pints are $5 (the firkin was $6, could have charged more, probably) and it’s a good atmosphere with a popcorn maker, some TVs, lots of light, a long bar, booths and tables.

Also in Hudson

American Sky Brewing Company

I didn’t stop here (maybe next time, remember I’m coming back!) due to time, but I’ve heard good things about it. They have a good variety of beers, and I did pick one up at the liquor store.

Hudson Liquor

Wisconsin beers | KaleAndAle.com

Variety of Wisconsin beers I don’t believe are available in Minnesota

Since I was (barely) in Wisconsin, I wanted to stop at the liquor store and get some beers not available in Minnesota. I stopped at Hudson Liquor because it was next to Caribou Coffee, but it was a good choice. It is clean and easy to navigate, with a walk-in cooler and lots of local beers and single bottles to build your own six pack. The Wisconsin beers I got are:

  • Oliphant Brewing Skullship Muerte
  • New Glarus Apple Ale
  • Ale Asylum Demento
  • O’so Hop Whooping
  • American Sky USA IPA
  • New Glarus Scream IIPA

Friday links

Hey folks, haven’t done a Friday links for a while (seemed like too much of “what to eat now” and “summer this and that” anyway). Have you missed this segment? Well I was in Iowa and posted in-depth information about community supported agriculture programs, which is featured heavily on this blog, while I was gone.