MickDuff’s Brewing Company
312 North First Avenue
Visited on September 1, 2009
What better way to relax after a long day kayaking on Lake Pend Oreille than by hitting up the second most northern brewery I’ve ever been to? McDuff’s was surprisingly good for being in such a small town. The location in an old building in a beautiful downtown set the scene for some pretty decent beer and even better food. They love their gorgonzola cheese here. I had it on top of a burger – which was good – and on top of waffle fries – which was great.
Located in “downtown” Sandpoint, Idaho, a small, quiet mountain lake community that’s about as close as they come to Canada. The restaurant is on Main Street and has a wooden sign hanging down in front of their small patio seating area. The interior is one large rectangle with wooden poles supporting arches supporting the roof in a long line in front of the bar. There are three televisions for watching sports, seating for about 100 and the entire wall behind the bar is a giant chalk board. It feels like a neighborhood bar, but a very nice one. It pulls off the clean-cut, local brewpub feel just about as well as anywhere I’ve ever been.
The menu is pretty standard brewpub fare. They seem to specialize in burgers, as you can choose from regular beef, a half pound of kobe beef, a six-ounce chicken breast, black bean burger or portabella mushroom cap. The choices of toppings are pretty standard. They also feature a garlic gorgonzola cheese in many of their dishes. For example, typical, seasoned waffle fries are spruced up with the cheese’s addition. I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch.
All of their beers are very solid. I would gladly order every single one again. That being said, nothing really jumped up and screamed, “Drink me again!” But after a flight, I chose the Pale Ale as my favorite.
Light – nearly translucent in color, thin foam around edge, surprisingly crisp and refreshing. Cross between a Pils like a Becks and a quality American light lager. I’d order it again, believe it or not.
Blonde – hoppy for a blonde, low taste profile to begin, finishes slightly sweet. Yellow in color, thin head, below average but probably good on a hot day. I’d go for the light over it, though. Scratch that, it’s better than the light. Further tastings bring a fuller, richer, sweet taste to bear from the beginning.
Wheat – served with an orange instead of a lemon, which I like. Low flavor profile. Nice finish. Strong hints of clove and banana near the end. Smooth and very quaffable.
Pale – Very solid. Well balanced. Smooth all the way through with just enough hops to give it a punch. Slight bitter taste lingers after. Very well done.
IPA – Almost too much up front bitterness, but not quite. People who love hops will like this beer. It doesn’t quite have the full complexity/floral notes that I enjoy in a massively hopped IPA, but it’s close. I’ve definitely had worse. And the lingering hop taste isn’t too bad.
The service was nice and friendly. Promptly served and left alone while I cruised the internet. No hurry to get out.