South Fork Brewing Company

It was a true Minnesota scene: Me, wrapped in a parka, walking the softly lit sidewalks of a small Minnesota farm town, heading to the local bar. I would have stopped to enjoy the beauty for a moment longer had the air not been so cold it hurt my face.

Quickly, I hustled into South Fork Brewing Company to warm up with a pint. It’s a straight-forward taproom where locals can easily congregate; the setup is more similar to an old-fashioned town meeting space than a cozy Uptown coffee shop.

The Plunger IPA hit me hard with 95 IBUs (and 7.7% ABV). Named for the Plumbing and Heating company that was once housed in the taproom’s building, the brew is a natural way to unwind after a day of hard work. Packed with hops and malts, it provides a stark transition from work to play.

The fella behind the bar offered me a couple pieces of advice, the first relating to beer: “Be as honest as you can about your beer, and understand that everyone has a different experience at a brewery, and that can change their reviews.” As for life advice, he told me, “Nine times out of ten, follow your heart, not your head. Second guessing yourself usually leads to mistakes.”

Usually when I receive advice in this vein, it’s from a person working in a job that calls for them to live a slower life. They tend to live outside of corporate hierarchies and client deadlines, ironed pants and rush hour traffic. I can’t help but wonder…is there a causal relationship behind the easygoing lifestyle and heart-focused decision making, or are there some people who are just that good at following their own advice?

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