Reach for the Starry!

My wife Katie, sister Annabeth and I made a trip up to Little Falls this past weekend for the annual Arts & Crafts Fair held there.

We'd heard it claimed as one of the biggest arts & craft fairs in the nation and sure enough found the entire downtown transformed into an outdoor market -- vendors lined up and down the streets selling a whole assortment of wares from Christmas ornaments to tye-tied clothing, homemade birdhouses to handcrafted jewelry. We arrived late-Saturday morning to manageable crowds, but after a few more hours of walking, browsing and purchasing, the crowds had swelled to overwhelming numbers, and we needed to get out.

Being the craft beer enthusiasts that the three of us are, we rewarded ourselves by making a trip to Starry Eyed Brewing just north and outside of Little Falls. Though we'd heard of it, this was our first visit, and boy were we impressed!

Adam Rozanas

The first thing we noticed as we pulled into the gravel parking lot was the hop vines growing off to the side. Katie and I have been to nearly half of Minnesota's 170-something breweries, but were yet to visit a brewery that grew its own hops. We'd quickly find that Starry Eyed actually rewarded customers for picking hops -- for every bucket filled they'd give a free pint of beer!

Adam Rozanas

The taproom and building were more or less a large warehouse. But there was just something about Starry Eyed's atmosphere that made it feel special and familiar. As we sat later picking hops and drinking great craft beer out in quiet, rural Minnesota, I was reminded of summers as a kid when my family would go out to a friend's farm to pick, husk and shuck corn; we'd freeze that corn and eat it throughout the next year. To be honest, I hated those days and the work, but there was something oddly enjoyable about picking hops and drinking beer with family this time around.

Adam Rozanas

The tap list was surprisingly impressive. Beer flavors like Banana Bread, Passion Fruit Lindy, and Espresso RoPo immediately caught out attention, and proved to be just as delicious as they sounded. Actually, everything we tried was delicious; we really didn't try anything that we didn't like! At one point my sister Annabeth -- who has only recently discovered an appreciation for craft beer -- said, "I'd give them a 9.5 out of 1, but I don't even know even know what the .5 would be for!" She later raised her score to a full 10 out of 10 after learning more about Starry Eyed's story.

Adam Rozanas

Besides picking hops, various games and a local musician provided entertainment. Free popcorn was available as well as snacks for purchase and a food vendor outside. A nice patio allowed us to soak up some last-of-summer sunshine.

Adam Rozanas

We left Starry Eyed Brewing more than impressed and eager to visit again. If you enjoy craft beer or just new adventures, plan your own trip soon; I'd bet that patio will be real nice this fall!