Northern WI Brewery Extravaganza Day 2 (June 28): Angry Minnow

Northern WI Brewery Extravaganza part 2 of 3, here (in case you missed it, check out the first installment for the whys and wherefores of this trip).

Day 2 was slated to involve a jaunt to Duluth to meet up with a friend, but it sadly didn’t work out. Left with an entire day to fill, the obvious solution was to find another brewery. Fortunately, the Angry Minnow Brewpub was just an hour or so off the intended route.

IMG_0091I have actually attempted to visit the Angry Minnow several times in the past, but managed to fail at recalling its location on every occasion. Since these attempts occurred back in the days before smart phones and GPS-enabled everything, they typically involved driving through tiny towns and soliciting navigational expertise from perplexed citizens, who inevitably provided directions to the nearest bar.

Image copyright Bobak Ha'Eri, use under Creative Commons CC-By-SA-3.0 license

World’s Largest Muskie.
Image copyright Bobak Ha’Eri, use under Creative Commons CC-By-SA-3.0 license

At any rate, to clarify, the Angry Minnow is not in Sayner, St. Germain, or Boulder Junction. It is, in fact, located in the fine town of Hayward, WI, home of the American Birkebeiner, the Lumberjack World Championships, and the world’s largest Muskie.

But enough of that; now for the facts:

Angry Minnow Brewing Co.

Location: 10440 Florida Ave, Hayward, WI ‎
Established: 2004
Specialties: Eclectic atmosphere, tasty food, and pretty decent beer
More Info:
My Take: Beers are pretty decent, but seem to cater to the masses. It’s an eclectic and quirky place with an unusually adventurous menu, though; a fine alternative to the typically “rustic” establishments of the Northwoods.

The Angry Minnow is housed in a historic lumber company office in “downtown” Hayward. It’s got a refreshingly quirky, eclectic atmosphere that’s uncommon in the Northwoods and is clearly a happening local hangout. At mid-day on a Friday, the place was absolutely packed.

The beer selection was a bit limited and included the usual brewpub lineup – stout, pale, honey wheat and light – plus a few seasonals.

River Pig Pale Ale, a year-round offering, had a great coppery color and nice body, but, for me, was disappointingly malty and a bit lacking in the hop department. Definitely a pale ale for the masses.

The seasonal Rye IPA, on the other hand, was potent and packed with an interesting array of flavors ranging from spicy to piney. This one was also quite malty, but sweetness was a bit more fitting here than in a standard APA.

Food here is not what you would expect around these parts. I’ve traversed a fair few pubs in the northern reaches of WI and can’t say that I’ve ever seen raw beef tenderloin sliders or sweet potato fries with citrus basil sauce on a menu. It suffices to say that the food is pretty great. The spent-grain pretzel (with a side of Sriracha mayo!), in particular, is not to be missed.

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