The grounds and buildings were spectacularly beautiful, particularly the large arch that greeted us upon arrival. We walked through the main doors into merch central, a room filled with beer, food, and swag with doors into the pub and the tasting room. We were not the only ones who thought this was a good post-thanksgiving idea. About 10 minutes after we got our name onto the wait list the place was packed! From the bar to the pub seating area, the merch room to the tasting room, it was SRO with little space to spare. While at times it was claustrophobic, the people-watching potential was tremendous.
The menu was unique and eclectic, with an organizational system that kept us hopping. There were many fresh and interesting options - all Euro-inspired. We started with baskets of frites, and were treated to two spreads per order. My favorite was the cumin ketchup. Have you noticed how posh ketchup is getting these days? It seems like everyone is weighing in on this basic and iconic condiment. The garlic aoli was excellent as well.
I had the Three Philosophers to go with the fondue I split with Amanda and Aldo. A blend of quadruple Belgian ale and a cherry lambic, this was a rich beer with hints of cherry, vanilla, malt, and bourbon. It was just hoppy enough to have a bitter finish, but would not put off those who like their beers done differently than your standard Northwest IPA. Aldo tried the Belgian Independence Day Tripel, a classic Belgian ale with hints of vanilla.
After lunch we went in for a tasting. The tasting room was beautiful with lots of windows. We were treated to tiny pilsner glasses for our tastes, a souvenir to take home. Beyond the beers we tried at lunch, my favorite was the Hennepin, a golden ale with orange peel and spice.