Saturday started off with an 8am spin class at my gym – Xtreme Measures. This was a different spin class than usual – today the gym was hosting the American Diabetes Association and was offering classes to non-members who gave a donation to “Get on the Move to Stop Diabetes”. All the bikes were full and the instructor gave us an awesome 50-minute class. I was dripping at the end! There was a lot of 80’s music featured which I don’t care for, but knew all the words to. Oh, the 80’s, right? There was also a brochure on hand talking about North Dakota Tour de Cure on June 18 in Fargo. There is the option for a 16, 32, 75 or 100 mile ride. You have to raise $150 for ADA to participate. Someone very close to me has diabetes so I definitely support the cause. I just got a bike from the husband for Christmas so maybe if I train and learn more THIS summer, I can participate NEXT summer? We spin upwards of 18 or so miles in a 45 minute class. Of course, that is no wind, bugs, etc. But hopefully this summer I can get better and try to do some 30-mile rides. It’s a goal for 2012 and since I wrote it here I guess I’m held to going for it!
After that great class, it was pretty much a fun day free for all starting out at my favorite – JL Beers in West Fargo. This location is easy access from where we live versus the downtown location. I had received a great comment from one of the managers at JL’s in West Fargo after my last visit and I was hoping to meet her in person (hi Mio!), so another visit was in order. The husband and I went and met a friend who was just getting done working. I started out with a Summer Shandy. Even though it is still cold and icky here, that beer tastes like summer in a glass. It is a wheat beer with a lemonade flavor and served with a lemon slice. Our friend had an Abita’s Red Ale and the husband a Kokanee. Abita’s has some really fun beer names.
Next up was a repeat from my last visit, the Widmer Hefeweizen. It was good the first time, so why not? At this point, we were a little snacky so we ordered the Cajun Fries for the table. They came out steaming hot and nice and spicy. They were great dipped in the cold ketchup.
A few more things I find charming about JL Beers is all the food is served in these beer trays-what a simple and easy idea. There are no napkins but rather paper towels on beer tap handles (ours was a Stella) which is another fun thing. It’s all these little touches that really help to make the atmosphere. You can see below they sell t-shirts with funny beer sayings (for example, ‘reality is an illusion caused by the lack of good beer’), growlers to go and they have all of their wonderful tap beers prominently displayed for the customers. There are flat screens throughout the restaurant with different sports games being broadcast (the Twins blew it again!) and a few chalk boards announcing seasonal beers that are available.
At about this point Mio was working so I asked our server if we could visit with her. I introduced myself and she was very charming and had great hair. I knew she was busy but it was still nice to place a name with a face. I sincerely meant everything I said when I complemented their great customer service, beer and food. As you can see from the pictures above, the place is always hopping so they are doing things right. I’m sure it helps having people like Mio as an employee as well.
Now, I realize I am probably a little crazy but I always like to check out restrooms when I go out to eat. It’s part of the restaurant and after a few brews you have to visit one anyway. I love JL Beers bathroom! It’s very industrial feeling with stainless steel mirror frames and large sink. It was very clean which is so nice to see.
A little while later a man came to our table and asked if I was FeistyEats. Indeed I am! He introduced himself as the manager of JL’s and I do believe his name is Nathan. I was caught off guard so I might have that incorrect. He visited with us for quite a while and was very informative. I complemented him on his buns – that come on the burgers! He said they are made fresh daily and locally which I really appreciate. I’m always happy to hear a company supporting another local company when possible. He told us they focus on customer service (this was definitely reflected during our visit, our beer glasses were never empty) and beer. By that, I mean the servers understand all the beers that are currently in rotation and what they mean. People usually just think a beer is a beer is a beer. But in fact, beer is kind of like wine in that there are so many different flavors and you can pair beers with certain foods. It can really be quite complex.
If you generally only drink domestic beers, they can offer something similar that would be easy for you to drink. They wouldn’t give you a dark porter, but something light you could adapt to. The servers who visited our table were willing to give recommendations and samples to our friend when he inquired on his next beer. Just great service! It was wonderful visiting with him and getting a bit of an inside idea of how things work. I actually wanted to take my picture with him but didn’t want to get kicked out for being the crazy lady! It was my pleasure to meet and visit with you!
He clued us in that a new JL Beers is coming to Grand Forks soon and the West Fargo location is going to have a patio when spring decides to arrive. I don’t know how I wasn’t aware of that development but you can bet I’ll be back to test that out! I love deck beers. I signed up for JL’s text updates and I see they are featuring a Boulder’s Kinda Blue – which is a summer brew with a hint of blueberry. Sounds like my kind of beer! A few other things I want to try out are their variety of beer flights and a beertail which is a beer cocktail mixing two or more different flavored beers together. If you don’t want to go to the bar you can certainly order your food to go. We really noticed yesterday that there were a lot of people coming in and picking up a brown bag to take home – great idea for parents who can’t get a sitter.
If you want to open a JL Beers in Bismarck, look me up! I really can’t say enough for your establishment and how much we appreciate the way we are treated and the great beer and food.
“Everybody has to believe in something…..I believe I’ll have another drink.“