Harvesting Hudson’s growing craft beer market.
Nestled off Exit 4 is a little brewing startup with little ambitions. No, not little in the sense of a future, but in size. Mike Fredricksen is owner and operator of this small venture. As a former employee of Northern Brewer, a member of the St. Paul Homebrewers and a 20 year vet of homebrewing, he is well entrenched and experienced in the brewing culture. Mike impressed me as a passionate and humble brewer trying to find a niche in a go big or go home world.
Pitchfork Brewing Company (pitchforkbrewing.com) is located at 709 Rodeo Circle Hudson, WI. Just outside of Hudson proper east of 94. They feature about 25 seats, give or take. The brewhouse is a 5 Barrel system but at the moment they are just brewing about 3.5 barrels. If I remember correctly the have 7 fermenters and two are jacketed. Based on the size of the building it is perfect. Some room to grow, albeit minimal. They already have seating for 35. They also have a nifty window that lets you see the firkin options while keeping them at cellar temps. Very cool.
I have made the trek across the river a couple times already. I have to say I am Impressed. First, the price of a flight, six choices for six dollars. This was a great deal. Gave me an opportunity to sample most of the offerings on the chalkboard. The last visit was especially great. I got a chance to sit and converse with Mr. Fredricksen. This is always a treat. Makes you feel as though your money and time matters to the business. Keeps you coming back. But let’s be honest… It’s not the camaraderie that keeps you coming back, it’s the beer.
Ahhh the beer. The selections offered were all well made. I really loved the handmade flight holders. Not that it is the most important thing but we do eat with our eyes first. I digress. My first flight (first visit) was the Black IPA, IPA, Scottish Ale, Stout and Pale Ale. Now I’m not the kind of beer nerd (and I am straight up a beer nerd) that breaks down the flavors, nose and colors. I am a thumb up or down kind of guy, comparing to prior beer experiences. Full disclosure, I am a hop head. The IPA was good. Not stand-out-ish, but solid and well balanced. The Black IPA was fantastic. Warm and roasty with a solid punch of American hops. One of the better examples I have had. The Stout was roast coffee and chocolate with a semi dry finish. Just enough hops to balance. Pretty solid. The Scottish ale was okay. This is more me. I am not a huge fan of these styles. I am sure it was well made. No off flavors detected. Then we get to the Pale Ale. Now, again I am a hop head. That said I am a very discerning. This was world class. Great balance. Tons of citrus flavors along with some soft caramel flavor. Big bright nose with citrus, pine and caramel. In my humble opinion the showcase of the flight.
On my second trip there were two new options. An Oktoberfest and a Wit not Wit, humbly called outwitted. The Oktoberfest was pretty solid. Good flavor and clean as to be expected. Good example of the style. I really liked the Outwitted. It was low alcohol, 4.2%. I’d say it teetered on the edge of a Belgian Pale. Hopped up. Good Belgian yeast esters, peppery and warming. On this trip I actually bought a couple pints (I was sans children). The Outwitted and the Pale Ale finished my visit well.
If you haven’t had a chance to visit this establishment yet, and likely you have not, you should. The passion shown by the owner in philosophy and quality makes this a well-rounded experience. My next visit will hopefully include a few pints off the firkins. It is nice having a growing presence in the East Metro of quality brewery options. Oh, and they are open on Sundays. Cheers!
Wed – Thu: 3:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Fri: 3:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Sat: 2:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Sun: 11:30 am – 7:30 pm