I have to admit, when I first heard of Yoerg, I was skeptical. Their story isn’t like most Minnesota taprooms with their impressive tall ceilings, flashy stainless steel equipment, and humble home brewing beginnings from 2008. Rather, Yoerg in St. Paul is the resurrection of a 171 brewing brand (check out their deeper history), and it’s a fascinating blend of traditional “old world” Bavarian beers and the modern beer-drinking experience.
The space is immediately cozy upon entrance, and that’s not just to do with the mid-April snowstorm that was haunting me outside. Dark wood, a warm fire, and low ceilings invite you in–even if you’re not accustomed to the styles on the beer menu.
I settled in to enjoy a soft pretzel and some cheese, which is a quick way to get me in a good mood. I enjoyed a Bock brewed by Yoerg (not every beer on their menu is brewed in-house). It’s described as a rich, robust, roasty, and having notes of mocha and coffee beans. The Bock style isn’t necessarily common on Minnesota beer menus, and the unfamiliar name might turn some away. If the style is new to you, I encourage you to give it a shot! I’m sure you’ll enjoy Yoerg’s.
After enjoying a fully salt- and beer-filled evening, I solicited advice from a friendly face behind the bar–Thomas Keim, the owner of the brewery. He told me, “Keep your mind open to everything.” He drew on the example of beer and wine styles, noting that some folks close themselves off to new experiences for no reason other than it’s new. Adding to his advice, Keim noted it’s important to know both about the style as well as your preferences. He commented,”Just because you don’t like oysters doesn’t mean oysters are bad.”
Keim’s comment touched on two important subjects in the beer industry: learning about a variety of beer styles is good for the craft beer hobbyist. It helps expand palates and appreciation for brews within a style. And, just like he said, just because you don’t like [insert beer style] doesn’t mean it’s bad. So, before you listen to recommendations or read an Untappd review, consider that we’re all subjective humans, so you may have to make the decision for yourself. It’s one of those times where another pint is a great solution.