On Saturday, April 21, Harriet Brewing and friends got down all day for their first annual Sol Bock Revival, a parking lot party that celebrated the initiation of the brewery’s summer beers (like Sol Bock) and the retirement of its wintery ones (like Elevator Doppelbock). Local craftsmen, jewelry makers, artists, musicians, three delicious food vendors, and the surrounding community convened to drink, mingle, and pound huge nails into tree stumps (try that after three glasses of beer).
The crowd was like rainbow confetti. From Harriet Brewing Principal Pete Loeffler’s gaudy tunic and corkscrew curls (“I’m the Prince of Beer!” he told me), to a bartender’s glistening purple bob, colors and psychedelic-flavored ephemera glowed around the edges of a gray, soggy day. Children scurried underfoot and guests gravitated toward the open taproom, which felt a lot like a sweet basement den, the walls covered with the original painted versions of Harriet’s swirling, beer label art.
Ginny Herman, Harriet’s official Maître d’ and jack-of-just-about-everything, says the brewery and the event are all about community. “It’s the theme of our statue [behind the brewery],” she says. Artist Sara Fro says that almost every vendor at Sol Bock has some kind of personal connection with the guys behind the beer. Herman was acquainted with owner Jason Sowards’ wife, and Fro used to nanny for Harriet’s label artist, Jesse Brodd. “It’s such a different environment [at Harriet],” Fro says. “It’s welcoming; it’s nonjudgmental.”
And the food was good, too. Gastrotruck, Glaciers Cafe, and 3 Tiers Bakery were there selling beer-laced versions of picnic favorites. A tender, melty smoked pork belly from Gastrotruck was braised in Harriet’s citrusy Wodan Weizen, topped with earthy kimchee and served on a fluffy white bun. My favorite bite was Glaciers Cafe’s sort of jacked-up take on an ice cream float. Heaping cups of thick vanilla custard, served dripping with a syrup of reduced Elevator Doppelbock, were rich with toasty, cocoa-y depth and just a zing of boozy, grown-up bitterness. They should serve it all summer long.
Like the event, its namesake is fun and easy to drink. Harriet’s limited-time-only Sol Bock is their take on a Maibock. It’s sweet, bright, and malty, and, as Herman says, “I could drink six of them.” It’s easy to go overboard when the drink and the company are so good and so warm.
Harriet Brewing, 3036 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406; 612.225.2184