I’m not exactly sure how I have never been to Bird Dog Brewing. It is conveniently located at 1005 East Main Street in Mandan inside of Main Street Drive Through Liquor. OK, hold up – a drive through liquor store? I think these were more common back in the day (I remember going to the drive through stores with my dad and him getting beer), but you don’t see them as often these days. The reason they have an easy way to have a drive through is they are located in a building that was previously a McDonald’s. OK – kind of weird, but kind of neat. They really make the building work for them and I’ll get into that below but first the beer.
Above photo from FMBeer.com
I had heard of Bird Dog and had it on my ‘to-do’ but I never really got around to it. I tasted their Strawberry Blonde beer at the ND Brewer’s Fest in Minot and really loved it. I enjoy tasting all beers but am drawn to lighter, fruity, wheat, pilsner type of beers. I knew I had to go there when I was in Bismarck-Mandan next. May 11-17 was American Craft Beer Week and most of the breweries in ND were celebrating with specials. I had to be in Bismarck on Wednesday, May 13 and knew I’d stop in before going home.
There is no “about” page on Bird Dog’s website but I recall at ND Brewer’s Fest some of the beers were named after the owner’s dogs. You can see they incorporate a dog into their logo as well. I pulled up to their location (it is marked by a Main Street Drive Through Liquor sign) and entered into the familiar swinging doors from McDonald’s. Off to the right is the off-sale liquor store and to the left is Bird Dog. They have a lovely bar with a few seats and some high top tables. The place was already beginning to get busy at my early hour arrival. I sat down by myself and was almost immediately greeted by a male server with an amazing mustache. I asked what was going on for Craft Beer Week and he explained they had a Boston Beer tap takeover. I choose the pilsner and he brought it out quickly. This Bavarian beer had 5% ABV, floral hopiness and citrus notes.
There was a little ad tent on the table explaining they had frozen pizza available. I was quite hungry as I hadn’t eaten in hours and my nose and eyes immediately spotted the popcorn machine. When my beer was brought over I asked for some popcorn. In the meantime, I sipped by super cold (bonus point) beer and enjoyed a sample of a Bird Dog sour stout beer. When my server returned, I asked if they had flights and he said yes, you can get as many beers as you’d like for $2 a pour. Besides the Boston Beer, they had their own beer on a tap and a decent selection from other breweries. A chalkboard wall told you what was on tap and the ABV of each brew. I noted they also had liquor bottles for those not keen on beer. I enjoyed my pilsner and drank it quickly. I was driving but wanted to try a few Bird Dog beers. I settled on a flight of Hunter’s Amber, Gordy’s Harvest Wheat and the Brandy’s Strawberry Blonde. All were great! My popcorn came in the meantime. Service was very attentive and I started a tab no problem. The popcorn was delicious. I strongly feel each brewery needs some popcorn or pretzels or some food for their guests. Both for the belly and to cleanse the palate. The beer is reasonably priced and I can’t wait to return with my sister or friends. I enjoyed the strawberry blonde because it isn’t super sweet like some fruity beers (overwhelming in my opinion), but provided the fruit taste in a tart manner – it’s the beer on the far right below.
I had to use the restroom before I left and it was the old McDonald’s restroom – why invest to change it all up? It was just slightly odd since most of my McD memories are from childhood. But it really works as a layout for the off-sale and the brewery to be in once place. The patio on the east side was open with chairs and tables but it was too cool to enjoy when I visited. Next time for sure! Don’t skip out on this hidden gem in Mandan. It’d be a great Memorial weekend stop…just saying!