ICYMI: Fish fry season is upon us. (You probably didn’t miss that. It’s everywhere.)
Whether you’re Lutheran, Catholic, recovering from either, or just plain hungry, you probably know we’ve just entered a fleeting season filled with (hopefully) flaky fish.
Looking for where to find a good filet of that pure white stuff dipped in bubbly batter? The Star Tribune’s put together a right-nice guide, while the Pioneer Press went ape and listed every gathering from here to Lakeville, White Bear, and beyond.
But pointing out the solid work of others isn’t (entirely) why we’ve congregated here today, folks. We’d also like to direct your attention to one particular place that’s doing things a little differently: Urban Growler Brewing Company.
The St. Paul establishment is noteworthy for being Minnesota’s first woman-owned brewery and hosting fish fries year-round since 2016. The latter means they don’t just don bucket hats (sure, just go with it) once in a church-designated blue moon, but feature generous portions of breaded lake perch on the regular. Served every Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., they’re perfectly paired to match pints of Cowbell Cream Ale or whatever your palate most craves.
That said, starting this Friday, February 28, Urban Growler is introducing a new feature to their weekly tradition in honor of Lent: a Fish Fry Club.
Some Wisconsinites may be familiar with the tradition of fish fry clubs, which involve bringing a handmade punch card to weekly fish fry outings and racing against family and friends to be the first to fill it with punches throughout the “season.” Traditionally, whoever first racks up a fully punched card (one hole for each fish fry attended) walks away with bragging rights from friends and family until the next year.
As a Wisconsin native herself, Urban Growler’s brewer and co-owner Deb Loch has fond memories of trying to win the fish fry race. “If you weren’t able to attend one Friday, you would fall behind and hope that others would miss a week as well,” she says. “We are in the humdrum months of winter. We want to give folks a fun reason to gather and continue a tradition in St. Paul, a.k.a. St. Small.”
Urban Growler invites you to get a little community on by stopping in to ask for your own fish fry club card. Achieve 10 punches from fish fries at the brewery, and they’ll give you the requisite bragging rights you so deeply deserve, plus an "exclusive Fish Fry T-shirt."
Once that card is in your possession, spangle that bad boy. Make it sing, or burble, like Billy Bass himself. Follow your heart. Just don't lose it, and be sure to bring along your favorite dining companion… because what’s a race to the finish if you don’t have a race partner, eh?
Urban Growler Brewing Company
2325 Endicott St., St. Paul