810 13th Ave. East
West Fargo, ND
I don’t think I’m that hard to please.
I like good food and I like good beer.
So a place that carries exotic microbrews from all across the country and serves juicy cheeseburgers should be right up my alley, right?
So then why the hell are places like JL Beers so hard to find in the overly-franchised American landscape of mediocrity?
And why do I have to travel to Fargo—of all places—to find one?
I’m sure the good-hearted folks who live in North Dakota don’t consider their state to be the ends of the earth.
But to the rest of us, a journey to Fargo can sure seem like it.
I’ve been to all 50 states. But like most travelers, North Dakota was one of the very last I crossed off my list.
Unless you happen to work in the oil industry, chances are you’ve never been there either.
Which makes me wonder, if a state is on the map, but no one you know has ever been there, does it really exist?
Well, I’m happy to report not only does the northernmost half of the Dakotas really exist, but it turns out it has one of the best places in America to drink good beer and chow down on some good burgers.
JL Beers is the type of place you’d expect to find in Boston or Seattle—not in Fargo of all places.
Their beer selection was fantastic and included some of my most obscure favorites and even some that never before graced my liver…
…such as Pursuit of Hoppiness brewed by Grand Teton Brewing Company out of Idaho.
The only other place in America I’ve had one of Grand Teton’s beers was…. in the Grand Tetons.
To find this hopilicious red ale in Fargo—of all places—was a great kick-off to my evening.
I also enjoyed the heck out of some great seasonal beers from two of my favorite breweries in America—New York’s Southern Tier and California’s Sierra Nevada.
But even with its dozens of inviting tap handles, JL Beers doesn’t just have great beer, they have great food too..
My “JL Burger” was a juicy, greasy burger of bliss.
Two beef patties smothered in melted cheese, sautéed onions and a “special sauce” that would make the Big Mac blush, this beauty easily makes my Burger Hall of Fame.
Even the generous portion of homemade potato chips were amazing. Hand cut and deep fried until crispy with a cheddar jalapeño seasoning, these chips were about as exciting as any burger side can get.
With neon beer signs and baseball playing on the flat screens, this place is beer-sipping, burger-munching, man-cave heaven.
Even their t-shirts were on point with clever sayings like, “Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder,” and, “Reality is an illusion caused by the lack of good beer.”
I could see why this place was so popular at 9 o’clock on a Tuesday night.
Full of couples and West Fargo hipsters, it’s obvious there aren’t too many places like JL Beers in North Dakota.
Which is why I’m damn glad I found it—and in Fargo of all places.
Rating: Bought the Shirt!