1. Wood Chipper IPA, Fargo Brewing Company
The “Fargo” movie reference brings people through the taproom door, but Wood Chipper’s bold hop flavor keeps them coming back for more. Five different varieties of whole cone hops give this American IPA a swirl of aromatic citrus and pine notes and a pleasantly bitter bite. Fargo Brewing Company, founded in 2010, was the first locally-owned craft brewery in town after the new millennium and Wood Chipper put it on the map.
2. Broken Rudder Irish Red Ale, Drekker Brewing Company
The brewers add more than fifteen pounds of honey to each batch of Broken Rudder, giving this golden red ale a pop of sweetness. This taproom mainstay and crowd favorite is smooth, clean and inspired by the story of a local guy who built a replica Viking ship that his children sailed to Norway to fulfill his dream back in the 80s. The ship is on display across the river in Moorhead, Minnesota. Ask the bartender to tell the tale. It’s available in the downtown Fargo taproom and at bars in the neighborhood.
3. Crooked Captain’s Caramel ESB (Extra strong/special bitter), Kilstone Brewing
Ignore the name. An ESB is rarely bitter and this balanced British-style ale is no exception. Crooked Captain’s Caramel ESB is full-flavored and smooth, with notes of toasted malt and a striking caramel finish that makes it sweetly mellow and oddly addictive. It’s a seasonal addition to the Kilstone line-up, so try one while it’s still on tap.
4. Stone’s Throw Scottish Ale, Fargo Brewing Company
Rich, smooth, and malty, this amber colored ale is toasty and mellow with a touch of cocoa, caramel and toffee sweetness. Stone’s Throw is accessible and easy drinking, both a customer favorite and the brewery’s bestseller. It’s available at Fargo Brewing Company’s utilitarian taproom and production brewery on the northern edge of downtown Fargo and at bars, restaurants and off-sale locations all over the state.
5. RYEsistance Saison, Drekker Brewing Company
A saison is traditionally a summer beer, but this refreshing, complex farmhouse ale just keeps selling, so the guys at Fargo’s second craft brewery just keep on making it. A wild yeast strain and rye’s pungent, spicy kick combine for a heady, herbal brew that features prominent notes of banana and spicy sweet cloves with a citrusy finish.
6. Vanilla Milk Stout, Kilstone Brewing
This dark, silky milk stout is smooth and rich without being syrupy. It’s a creamy, medium-bodied brew that goes down easy. Subtle vanilla notes give the beer a quiet sweetness. It’s the perfect treat on a snowy Fargo night.
7. Fargo Original Helles Lager, Fargo Brewing Company
This unfiltered, traditional German-style lager is light, straightforward and uncomplicated. Extended lagering means it’s extra crisp and refreshing, a perfect gateway beer for craft beer neophytes and a solid session brew for beer nerds. Fargo Original is newcomer in the taproom, but it’s already won a bronze medal at the 2015 Great American Beer Festival.
8. Techno Viking Berliner Weisse, Drekker Brewing Company
A German Pilsner malt backbone keeps this kettle-soured beer mellow while lactobacillus bacteria added in the middle of the brew cycle adds a delicate acidity and a touch of tartness. It’s complex but still light and drinkable, so it’s an accessible starter beer for sour newbies.
9. Polyphonic Pale Ale, Kilstone Brewing
This easy drinking pale has been on tap since Fargo’s newest craft brewery opened in an industrial neighborhood in north Fargo in early 2015 and it’s typical of the approachable beers that Kilstone is known for. With a hint of hops and a delicate, slightly floral finish, it comes in at 65 IBU yet goes down easy. Find it at the brewery and or fill a growler at selected off-sale locations in Fargo and West Fargo.