The Happy Gnome

This post was supposed to start out something like this: “Just got back from seeing The Gaslight Anthem, and it was one of the most transcendent experiences of my life.” However, fate and a medical emergency in the band intervened (hope everything is OK), and we were forced to find other entertainment on Saturday night. We decided to drown our sorrows in beer.

All About Beer named The Happy Gnome in St. Paul as one of the top 125 places to have a beer before you die, so we were off. We arrived at about 5:20 and sat at the bar. I ordered the Coniston Bluebird Bitter, but the tap had just shot out the last of the brew, so I settled for the Belhaven Scottish Ale instead. It was fine, but it wasn’t a life-changing experience like the Fuller’s ESB I’d had at Brit’s Pub a week earlier. Tim had his usual Stella Artois.

For food, Tim ordered the Roasted Chicken Orecchiette Pasta with spinach, red onions, and mascarpone cheese. It looked like gnocchi, and he loved every bite. I had the Chicken and Artichoke Pizza from the bar menu. It had roasted tomato sauce, Kalamata olives, red onion, and feta cheese. I ate four slices and took two home for lunch the next day. It was very good. The chicken was spicy and savory, and all the ingredients were fresh and not dry.

For our second round, Tim branched out a little and ordered the Moinette Blonde, which was excellent. It was a golden amber color and had just a hint of spice. After debating between the Delirium Tremens and the Kwak, I ordered the latter, not realizing that it came in a fancy glass. The bartender said that you could take it out of the wooden holder to drink it, but the glass would tip over if it wasn’t returned to the holder. I played it safe and used the wooden contraption the whole time, because I have a natural tendency to spill things and to forget important pieces of information after I’ve had a few sips.

The beer itself was outstanding. It was a beautiful amber color, and it had slightly sweet tones mixed with hints of spice. I wasn’t really tasting a banana flavor, but that was OK. I would definitely order it again, and it’s a reason to return to the bar, which is only a few miles away from our house.

The service at the bar was great, and the bartenders were friendly and willing to answer any questions about the menu. We were fascinated by all the different taps on display. Each tap had a unique decoration, and the one that stood out was the Rogue Mogul which had a carved skeleton on top.

The Happy Gnome also has a nice patio area, and it should be opening in the next few weeks. I’m looking forward to a warm night and a cool, refreshing Kwak in my hand soon.

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3 Responses to “The Happy Gnome”

  1. Dave Lifton Says:

    Tim did it all for the gnocchi.

    I never get tired of that joke.

  2. ChrisW Says:

    “Tim had his usual Stella Artois.”

    If you ever get Tim to the UK don’t let him have the Stella here.

    The imported stuff is excellent, however 99% of the Stella Artois sold in the UK is brewed in the UK and tastes nothing like the proper stuff. It is a binge drinking favourite (spelling!) – strong and cheap.

  3. Michele Says:

    Dave — groan!

    ChrisW — good to know. If we make it over to the UK I’ll make him order something new!

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