My wife Katie and I love breweries. Some might call us beer snobs, but I prefer to think of us as craft beer connoisseurs. For us, it's not so much about the beer as it is the whole experience - from taproom theme and aesthetics to drink selection and taste. Looking for and trying out breweries has sort of become an unofficial hobby for us. Our recent transition from the Cities has offered some new opportunities to delve into the local craft beer scene.

This past weekend, we gave Urban Lodge in Sauk Rapids a try and were not disappointed.

Photo Credit: Urban Lodge Brewery & Restaurant,  Facebook

For one, its location on Benton Drive made it easily find-able and accessible. In an industry and culture where some taprooms are out-of-the-way or covert, that goes a long way. Some of my most frustrating brewery experiences have included driving past the location several times simply because it was hidden in some non descript warehouse.

One of the first things we noticed about Urban Lodge was its simplistic and North-woodsy aesthetic. From the design of the logo to the feel of the taproom/restaurant, Urban Lodge has a distinct atmosphere that we "got" and appreciated; we couldn't compare it to any place we've been before.

As far as drink selection, there were no disappointments. With twelve different beers to choose from (at the time of our visit, anyways), there's something for everyone. My wife of Dutch descent appreciated the "Tusen-Takk" Blonde Ale, my "Ketterwahler" Stout was wonderfully dark, rich and creamy, and the Raspberry Wheat was probably the tastiest raspberry beer we've ever had.

Urban Lodge also lives up to its claim of artisan food. From craft burgers and sandwiches to risotto and Neopolitan-style pizzas, there was no shortage of different specialty meal options. The Pulled Pork Nachos were everything I'd hoped they would be; the Margherita Pizza was simple but tasty.

Overall, I have nothing bad to say about Urban Lodge Brewery and Restaurant. Apparently, most patrons agree. Of 303 reviews on their Facebook page, 212 rated them 5 Stars. Well done Urban Lodge on a great experience; looking forward to swinging by soon for another drink!

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