Minneapolis-St. Paul Tap Room Directory
In May 2011, the Minnesota Legislature passed H.F. 1326, popularly dubbed the Surly Bill as it contained an amendment to allow brewers to operate an on-sale establishment on their premises. Since then, new brewing ventures have been popping up all over the Cities, and a majority of them are including tap rooms in their build-out plans.
In an effort to organize the brewery news of note, and to let you know where you can drink a pint on site, we present The Heavy Table Minneapolis-St. Paul Tap Room Directory. We’ll regularly update this directory with news about the established tap rooms and those upcoming. Also, save this list to your phone via Foursquare to keep track of how many you’ve been to.
Last Updated: February 22nd, 2013. Steel Toe has officially brought the taproom craze to St. Louis Park (scroll down, breweries listed alphabetically).
945 Broadway St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Grand Opening: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Taproom Hours: Wed-Thu 4-10pm, Fri 2:30pm-12am, Sat Noon-12am.
Beer: 612Brew’s lineup veers towards lighter-bodied, somewhat hop-forward and sessionable. ‘Six’ is an unobtrusive and malty pale, ‘Rated R’ is a wonderfully balanced Rye-PA that will be the hop-heads’ favorite, and their taproom-exclusive ‘Zero Hour’ is a clean American Black Ale with only the faintest hint of roast.
Those three should be taproom mainstays, and they’ll have a seasonal or two around as well. Right now, check out their Mainstage amber ale. Also coming up is ‘Mary Ann’, a springtime German style lager that uses 25 pounds of freshly grated ginger in each batch. Growlers are available for purchase – you can grab them from the cooler by the mural wall.
Food: They’ll have food trucks stationed in the parking lot, check their calendar for this week’s lineup. Once they have their brewing operation fully under control, they look to have some Indian street food snacks available as an extra enticement to visit. More info forthcoming on what exactly that will entail.
Details: We’ve been hearing about their plans for nigh on three years. Now that we’ve seen the place, we can confidently say it’s been worth the wait. Recessed into the intersection of Broadway and Central in Northeast, 612brew has constructed the most aesthetically ambitious taproom in the Twin Cities. They’ve transformed a dilapidated warehouse into an inviting hangout, where original brick and exposed beams contrast mirror-polished fermenting tanks. There’s only a long high-top and a switch to fluorescent lighting to delineate where taproom ends and brewery begins in the single, expansive room.
The seating area, with room for about 70, is presided over by an Adam Turman mural and a sound system the owners snagged from downtown’s recently-shuttered Envy nightclub. The bar and tabletops are reclaimed lanes from a bowling alley in Iowa and the bar’s foot rail is stainless steel piping left over from their tank setup. We can’t wait for the season to turn to get a better look at their outdoor patio/amphitheater (check out the design sketches to the left of the bar). For now, we’re more than happy to hang out inside over a game of shuffleboard and watch the 612-Brewers do their thing from mere feet away.
Dangerous Man Brewing
1300 2nd St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Open Since: January 2013.
Hours: Tue-Thu 4-10pm, Fri 4pm-12am, Sat 12pm-12am
Details: Practically in the shadow of the old Grain Belt brewery, the nascent Northeast “Brew District” has gained what looks to be a firm cornerstone now that Dangerous Man is fully operational. Owner/brewer Rob Miller, who sports a beard that his company logo barely does justice to, has no plans to release his product to tap or retail accounts. You’ll have to visit the brew house for a taste.
Dangerous Man had become initially noteworthy for a hurdle in its licensing process, choosing to open up shop across the street from a church. “We found the building before we knew about that law,” Miller tells us. “I was looking all over the city, and when I found 13th Avenue, it was the dream spot for our model: a neighborhood taproom hangout.”
He says the camaraderie among the area’s businesses owners was a strong factor in his decision to soldier on with his plans there. The taproom license was approved by the city in September 2012.
Food: At each table, you’ll find small clipboards with takeout menus from the area – Anchor Fish & Chips, Sen Yai Sen Lek, and Element Pizza among them. “I’m hoping to have a runner on busy nights so you won’t even have to leave your seats,” Miller says. “There are so many great restaurants around here, I’d love to help bring more people to the neighborhood, and act as overflow seating.” Otherwise, people are encouraged to bring with them any food they like. He also hopes to work with some food trucks in the summer.
Beer: Patrons can expect to find six ever-changing choices of small batch suds on tap. Not only will there be lots of experimentation with ingredients and styles, but variations between batches of the same style. “I want to brew consistently good beer,” says Miller, “but I don’t have to recreate the exact same recipes.”
We’re partial to the Matchstick Coffee porter and don’t miss the chocolate milk stout – Miller’s justifiable pride and joy. It’s lighter on the palate than the aroma lets on, but it’s definitely verging on milkshake territory, as he’s fond of saying. His array of brews will likely balance style and strength, ranging from a lighter cream ale or Kolsch to a 10% Belgian strong.
Pints are $5, with 10oz pours going for $3 and smaller flight-sized tastes for $2. Growlers are just barely available – they’re currently capped at only 10 per day – and will run around $13-15.
2470 Wilson St.
Wilson, WI 54027
Hours: Typically open twice a month, usually on weekends with the occasional Friday or Monday thrown in around a holiday weekend. Check for the monthly schedule on the BrewFarm blog.
Beer: You’ll find eight beers on tap at the BrewFarm. What they’ll be is anyone’s guess, but you can expect them to be stylistically all over the map. Just look at the lineup above – everything from a light saison to a 9.2% brew called Mocha Diablo? You’ll be tasting something interesting, that’s for sure. You can get a flight of all eight taps (2 oz pours) for $10, or a 10.5 oz snifter of any for $5. You can also take away 1 liter swing-top bottles for $10, with a $5 deposit (and no, they won’t fill other folks’ growlers). Make sure to bring cash – no cards accepted and no ATM on site.
Food: BYO! The BrewFarm encourages people to bring in snacks, lay out big spreads and potluck, or bring a grill and tailgate.
Details: A laid-back farm where the living is easy and the beer is wind-brewed. We first visited late in 2010 (read our write-up) and it has since maintained is reputation as a convivial and welcoming respite for lovers of good food and good brew.
Excelsior Brewing Company
421 3rd St
Excelsior, MN 55331
Hours: Thu-Fri 4pm-10pm, Sat 2pm-10pm
Tap Room Open Since: July 2012
Beer: You can taste four of Excelsior’s brews at their tap room. We prefer the crisp XLCR Pale Ale, followed closely by the light, refreshing Big Island Blond. They’ll also have available a weighty 8.0% IPA called Bridge Jumper and a seasonal. Pints are $5-6 and growlers and other swag items are on sale as well.
Food: Nothing at the brewery, though there’s plenty of eating on Water Street. We like the Italian staples served up at Biella, where Excelsior is currently on tap.
Details: Located off the parking lot behind Water Street. Enter off Third (you’ll see Petunia’s Home & Garden shop at 421 from the street). It’s a pleasantly rowdy atmosphere in their warehouse-turned-brewery, with a couple stacks of bar Jenga and two small tap tables where you can sample their lineup. The brewer is Bob DuVernois, a former president of the Minnesota Craft Brewer’s Guild. He comes to Excelsior after a well-regarded stint at Great Waters in St. Paul, where he developed a reputation for excellent cask beers. A few firkins have come out of Excelsior so far, with a more regular program most certainly on the way.
414 6th Ave N
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Hours: Thu-Fri 3pm-10pm, Sat 12pm-10pm, Sun 11am-7pm, also opens 2 hrs. before Twins home games.
Tap Room Open Since: March 2012
Beer: Their two mainstays, Lonely Blonde and Sweet Child of Vine IPA, are always on tap, along with one or two others – we especially like their lighter Ringer Pale Ale. The stack of barrels on the far wall previously held 2 Gingers Whiskey, and soon will hold some of Fulton’s malty, red Libertine ale. They also tap a new firkin every Thursday – the way their Worthy Adversary Imperial Stout mellows in the cask is magical.
Food: A most agreeable assortment of food trucks set up shop in Fulton’s front lot – check their website’s schedule. Or, if you want to sit down somewhere, it’s just a few blocks to Black Sheep Pizza and, soon, the brick-and-mortar Smack Shack.
Details: A warehouse brewery for the Warehouse District. A three-minute walk from Target Field, it’s a terrific pre-game location at which to commiserate with fellow Twins fans. Heck, skip the first inning or two – they’ll have the game on their TVs. Plus, you’re going to need another pint to watch that team. Growlers and other swag items are also available for purchase.
3036 Minnehaha Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55406
Hours: Wed-Fri 4pm-12am, Sat 1pm-12am
Tap Room Open Since: March 2012
Beer: Two or three of Harriet’s brews will be available. Their West Side Belgian IPA is the mainstay and they’ll have a seasonal on hand. Pints are $5.
Food: Harriet features a regular lineup of food trucks – check their tap room calendar. If you’re looking for something else in the neighborhood, we’d suggest Gandhi Mahal for some great Indian around the block.
Details: There may not be a tap room in the city that looks as comfortable in its own skin as Harriet’s. The brewery’s rear annex, cordoned off by a bright yellow wall full of local art, has a small corner stage featuring live music every night. In the summer, you can sip your beer on the patio and enjoy the downtown skyline view. Be on the lookout for Harriet’s more involved brew festivals when their entire lineup will be poured . Growlers are available for purchase in the small tasting room at the front of the building. Parking is available in the gravel lot to the left of the brewery.
Indeed Brewing Company
711 15th Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413
Hours: Thu-Fri 3-10, Sat 11am-10pm
Tap Room Open Since: August 2012
Beer: We get a kick out of their Daytripper Pale Ale and that rush of citrusy hops on the nose. Also, their Midnight Ryder American Black Ale is one of the more successful Black IPAs (or whatever you want to call it) in the area. It’s silky with a deep roast character and a crisp, bitter finish. Expect to see those two and a few seasonals – boy, we love that Sweet Yamma Jamma. They offer glasses in three sizes, with one draft nitro-charged and another couple on cask.
750-ml bottles are available for purchase at the brewery for around $6. Six packs of cans also available in retail stores around the metro.
Food: Food trucks are always scheduled to be on hand – check the schedule on Indeed’s website.
Details: Indeed Brewing is the first in a rush of breweries scheduled to open in Northeast Minneapolis in 2012-2013. Josh Bischoff is the brewer, coming off an award-filled tenure at Town Hall. The Solar Arts building delivers a great neighborhood atmosphere for the brewery. The space is like an artist’s studio meets old-school club room. Check out the tables, emblazoned with signatures from the guest registry of the old Miller Publishing Group. The room has a shuffleboard table, and a small patio flanks the building facing the railroad tracks.
Kinney Creek Brewery
1016 7th St. NW
Rochester, MN 55901
Open Since: December 7th, 2012
Hours: For the initial time being, drinking hours will be limited to Fridays and Saturdays from 1-8pm. They plan to extend drinking hours into the weekdays once they’ve found their footing and adjusted their brewing schedule to meet demand.
Beer: Kinney Creek has six tap lines at the bar and debuted with four brews: An IPA, Extra Special Bitter, Smoked Porter and a Light Ale that brewer Donovan Seitz calls “like Blue Moon without the wheat.” Their website lists several more styles to be potentially added to the lineup, including an Amber, some seasonals and something called Pepper Passion that we can’t wait to try. There’s a pretty good chance that patrons will see a lot of variety at the tap, as they’re currently working with 30-gallon batches from a pilot brewing system (a larger setup is in production). Pints are $5 and flights of their four taps are $6. Growlers are also available.
Food: There won’t be any food at the brewery, but we know a few good places in town. There are some under-the-radar Mexican gems at La Poblana and Newt’s two locations are your best bet for a burger. Chester’s Kitchen & Bar is a good choice if your group wants a wide variety. For something more upscale, we sure liked Pescara when we visited a while back and there are solid tapas to be had at Sontes.
Details: Further proof that the Minnesota brewery boom has now fully extended beyond the metro: Kinney Creek has become the first official brewery in Rochester since Prohibition. It looks as if the town has been clamoring for one. They’ve already been selling out of limited-run brews and getting front-page press in the local paper without doing much in the way of official marketing.
Kinney Creek is an actual creek – it runs behind the garage at the house where Seitz first developed his recipes. He’s an ambitious homebrewer, inspired to open for production after seeing the pilot system at the original Samuel Adams brewery in Boston. “Rochester has a great mix of people,” he says. “I started asking around, seeing what people wanted. And since we get all kinds of people in from out of the country that come to Mayo, it’s a whole new thing for them, too, all these microbreweries. So I lobbied the city and they were very receptive.”
They have room for expansion both downstairs and in the warehouse space out back of their strip-mall location off 7th Street (possibly for bottling and kegging if things really take off). When you stop by, notice the collection of Minnesota brewery growlers above the entrance. If you bring in an empty growler from one they don’t have yet, they’ll trade you for one of theirs.
Lift Bridge Brewing
1900 Tower Dr
Stillwater, MN 55082
Hours: Tue-Thu 5pm-8pm, Fri 12pm-8pm, Sat 12pm-5pm
Tap Room Open Since: September 2011
Beer: You’ll find six of Lift Bridge’s brews on tap. You know and love the citrusy haze of Farm Girl Saison. We also quite like the spectacularly resinous Hop Dish IPA and the brilliantly crisp Pathway Pilsner. Expect a couple seasonals to be on hand. They’re beginning to roll out a series of stouts for the winter – milk, oyster, and Irish coffee. Also on tap: house-made root beer (ask for a taste, it’s incredible). Pints are $4, flights are $6-9, and growlers are available as well.
Food: No food trucks out in Stillwater, but there’s plenty of solid eating within a couple minutes’ drive. We recommend the laid-back Patriots Tavern for soups / sandwiches and the same goes for Chilkoot Cafe & Cyclery (especially their more elegant dinner menu). We dig the small plates at The Green Room, favor Roma Restaurant for good old-fashioned Italian favorites, and Phil’s Tara Hideaway for great Mediterranean.
Details: There’s no better way to wait out the Highway 36 rush hour than having a pint at Lift Bridge. They’ve won the people’s choice Golden Firkin at Happy Gnome’s Firkin Fest multiple times, so they’ve wisely installed a beer engine in the bar and will begin to feature rotating casks in the near future. If you want their cask beer now, you may find some at Ngon Bistro, Republic, or Groveland Tap.
Pour Decisions Brewing Company
1477 Terrace Dr.
Roseville, MN 55113
First Day of Growler Sales: Saturday, October 20th, 2012.
Hours: Thu-Fri 4:30-9pm, Sat 2-9pm.
Steel Toe Brewing
4848 W 35th St
St. Louis Park, MN 55416
Hours: Thu 4-8pm, Fri 3-10pm, Sat Noon-10pm
Tap Room Open Since: February 15th, 2013.
Beer: Steel Toe’s four main beers are likely to always be on tap. If Size 7 isn’t the finest IPA in the Twin Cities, it’s squarely in the top 3. We also can’t get enough of Rainmaker, their wonderfully balanced double red ale. Provider is their standard golden ale and Dissent, their oatmeal-ish stout. Pint are $4-5, and growlers are also available at $11-13. Also on tap right now: Lunker, an English-style barleywine aged in Templeton Rye barrels (750ml bottles of that also available).
Food: We haven’t heard anything yet about food trucks setting up in their parking lot or whether current St. Louis Park statutes allow for it. We’ll update this page when we get the skinny.
Details: The same week that saw the opening of 612Brew’s megalithic taproom also featured the quiet conversion of Steel Toe’s front room for pint service. They’ve built out a bar and seating along the walls, with room for about 30 guests. What’s most striking about their taproom is the absence of flourish – no artwork on the monochrome walls, no fancy tap tower, just chairs and beer. But we find this aesthetic, or lack thereof, to suit them perfectly. They’re located in an office park, not in a trendy neighborhood. The Steel Toe brand has always been modest and workmanlike, never boastful or flashy. This taproom proves they’re justifiably content to continue letting their outstanding brews do the talking.
Summit Brewing Company
910 Montreal Cir
St. Paul, MN 55102
Hours: Fridays, 3-8pm
Tap Room Open Since: September 2012
Beer: About 10 of Summit’s brews are on tap. All of their year-round beers are available – the Saga IPA is our favorite right now. They’ll also feature their current releases from the Unchained Series (when stocks allow), as well as some special casks and limited runs from their pilot brewing system. Pints are $4, with flights of four beers for $7.
Food: They will feature a rotating mix of food trucks during drinking hours. Check out Summit’s website for the lineup of food trucks and special firkins.
Details: The venerable St. Paul brewery has begun hosting open tap room hours. The large Rathskeller hall is frequently used for events and opened up to nonprofits for fundraising, so they’re keeping hours limited to Fridays for now. They haven’t changed the space much, just built out the bar a touch. They’ve also added a brewery tour on Fridays at 1pm, which lets out just as tap room hours begin.
UPCOMING TAP ROOMS
HammerHeart Brewing Company
Lino Lakes, MN
Expected Opening: Mid-2013
Details So Far: The guys behind HammerHeart envision an old Norse drinking hall feel for their brewery’s tap room. Outside will be a gravel patio with a fire pit, enclosed by pine trees – a north woods retreat in Lino Lakes. Set to begin pouring sometime next year, they refer to their beers as “hoppy, smoked, and sometimes oaked. Unfiltered and balanced.” They will generally stick to English styles – no Belgians or German Lagers – and will have six on tap. If the beers are “sometimes oaked” we wouldn’t be surprised to see them develop a regular casking program like the others.
Expected Opening: 2014.
Details So Far: Surly has selected the architecture firm HGA to design its 60,000-square-foot, $20 million “Destination Brewery”. It looks as if they’ve finalized their new location in the Prospect Park neighborhood of Minneapolis, at the intersection of Malcolm Avenue and Fifth Street SE. The brewing complex should include a bar, restaurant, beer garden and event center.