Big Wood Brewery in White Bear Lake is the kind of place that reminds you of a hidden saloon during prohibition. The kind of place where you half expect to find a bottle of moonshine tucked away in its cavernous lounge. Where the subterranean set up of the taproom creates a sense of mystery and belonging. It’s the kind of place where the locals flock, and outsiders welcomed. Big Wood’s charm starts the minute you begin your journey to the entrance. It’s tucked away off 4th St, and signs lead the way down a little garden-Esq area off the beaten path.
Only open for a short time, Big Wood’s taproom is gaining steam and quite a following. On several visits, it’s been full, and scoring a table or a coveted seat at the nice wood bar is tough. Even though there has been quite a crowd, Big Wood never feels constricting. There are smartly placed tables for standing around that increase the community vibe. The dim lighting created with reclaimed growler lights and the brick walls enhance the atmosphere.
But what’s a good taproom without quality beer? Good thing Big Wood doesn’t suffer from that. Big Wood has quite the mouth watering array of beers on tap and even brews some good one-offs that change frequently. Big Wood’s Jack Savage Pale Ale, Morning Wood Coffee Stout and Bark Bite IPA have gained quite the reputation as brewery staples throughout the region. Big Wood offers a little of everything for a range of drinkers. Their Peach Saison is crisp and lightly fruity, a great beer for the female crowd, or those that don’t have a strong palate for beer. On the other end of the spectrum, Forest Fire, a 9.0% Smoked Imperial is not for the faint of heart. It hits hard with earthy flavors and resonates with a smoked flavor.
Aside from good beer, who doesn’t love a brewery that has built itself up on double entendres. Big Wood’s pint glasses, coasters and even some beer names all have not so subtle references to the phallic symbol. It adds character and the references bring with it humor and conversation starting. Who doesn’t laugh when an attractive woman orders a Morning Wood? Even better when a ginger orders a Little Red Riding Wood, an amber currently on tap.
The tap room has definitely been welcomed by the White Bear community, and even draws an older crowd making it a great place to hang out. Let’s be honest, with the amount of business it’s drawing, it seems everyone loves Big Wood.