Growing up, pit stops on the way up to the cabin usually involved Dairy Queen blizzards. Over Memorial Day Weekend, I made the full transition into adulthood by making beer pit stops instead.
My first visit of the road trip was to the sleepy little town of Bethel (population 466 in the 2010 census) to visit the Garphish taproom. The space has been in the community for a long time and held a range of tenants, including a Lutheran Church. Now, as a brewery, the space’s decor is as eclectic and enjoyable as the history. A velvet couch sits across a church pew, and old window panes serve as the backdrop for the stage.
Settling in at the long bar, under the taxidermied garphish on the wall, I enjoyed a flight of beer.
- Long Lake IPA, 6.1% ABV, 68 IBUs
- Stalker Lake IPA, 6.1% ABV, 50 IBUs
- Hapjazardly Jalapeno Kölsch, 4.5% ABV
- Subplimal Haze NE IPA, 6.6% ABV, 56 IBUs
- Boat Launch Stout, 6.2% ABV, 35 IBUs
- Bethel Blonde, 4.5% ABV, 20 IBUs
I appreciated the diverse lineup of styles and infusions they offered, and my favorites were the Stalker Lake IPA and Boat Launch Stout. The people were friendly, the space welcoming and cozy, and the experience a perfect kickoff to the unofficial first weekend of summer.
Brandon, the owner of the brewery, texted the bartender from his fishing trip to offer me advice. He said, “I worked my butt off for the last five years to have a nice weekend off! And it feels pretty good to not be at work. But I think doing a good job at whatever you’re doing is important! And having fun when you have time to have fun is even more important. And drink a beer.”