As befits a city known for its arts scene, Minneapolis is home to a plethora of murals. We took a closer look at five of the most engaging beer murals in town that not only allude to the city’s rich beer history but also look to a rich craft beer future.
1. Old Grain Belt Brewery
Located on the west- and south-facing walls of the old Grain Belt Brewery, 1220 Marshall St NE, the enormous decaying murals once acted as giant advertisements for the castle-like brewery’s mainstay. Depicted behind the classic red diamonds are images of now vintage bottles and flowing water from which the beer was once brewed. The brewhouse building (listed on the National Register of Historical Places) has been renovated and is now home to RSP Architects and the Bottineau branch of the Hennepin County Public Library, but the murals themselves remain relatively untouched. The brewery complex lends a monochromatic, yellow-brick backdrop to the faded murals. Although barely discernible, “The Friendly Beer” slogan floats high above the library’s garden, proudly marking the spot that a group of German immigrants once called their own.
2. Canoeing Squirrels in PBR Can on 1029 Bar
A stone’s throw from the old Grain Belt Brewery, on the south-facing wall (near the patio) of 1029 Bar, 1029 Marshall St NE, is a mural that features two squirrels paddling a Pabst-Blue-Ribbon-can canoe. One of the 92 murals from the local collective Broken Crow, “a stencil-based artistic collaboration between Mike Fitzsimmons and John Grider,” it’s a rare and playful combination of macro brew and nature. One of the goals of the collaboration is to “reintroduce wild animals back into the urban habitats that we humans live in.” The best part about it, though, is the squirrels’ expressions: we’ve all been there, when your paddle partner, squirrel or otherwise, isn’t pulling his weight.
3. Town Hall’s “Beer for All Seasons” Mural
We would be remiss to exclude the many murals the Town Hall Brewery, 1430 S Washington Ave, has featured over the years, but most notable is its newest, featured on an inside wall of the recently renovated main dining room. Town Hall has been a cornerstone of the Minneapolis craft-beer scene since it was established in 1997, and the new mural is indicative of its influence. It highlights a mix of events important to Town Hall, such as the anniversaries of its newest offshoots — Town Hall Lanes and Town Hall Tap — as well as Minnesota Craft Brewer’s Guild events including the Autumn Beer Review and Minneapolis Cider Week. And it is educational; the wall that once held a giant chalkboard list of available beers, now features 50-some seasonals in a zodiac-like array, so visitors can mark their calendars for upcoming events and releases.
4. 612’s Adam Turman Mural
Adam Turman is one of the area’s most iconic artists, with his sexy, wind-blown women and their obsession with bikes, beer and the Mississippi. His mural inside the 612 Brew taproom, 945 Broadway St NE, highlights these, tying the room together figuratively and literally. According to Turman: “My assistant, Brian Geihl, and I started the mural in late November of 2012 with little heat, one electrical outlet, no lights, no water, and a porta-potty. The space was really raw when we first started, and by the time we finished in mid January, the 612 was space completely transformed from a large room with dust everywhere to a full-on working brewery and taproom.” With several layers of skyline as well as outlines of Northeast Minneapolis and sights like the Lowry and Stone Arch bridges, the mural transformed the space from an industrial warehouse to a warm watering hole.
5. Schell’s on Ungerman
The seemingly old-time mural on the Ungerman Construction building, 4450 Nicollet Ave, advertising Schell’s was actually painted in 2008 by artist Bill Diaz. Based in Illinois, Diaz is part of a family-owned business that paints murals in an old style. Diaz Sign Art maintains “a focus on being visually pleasing and at the same time legible from a distance.” Old and new at the same time, the artwork hearkens back to several original Grain Belt murals that are still scattered across the region. This one is simple, classic, and not surprisingly still on-brand for Schell’s. By drawing attention to the historic tradition of an old brewery in an old-fashioned style, the Ungerman building mural is more traditional than some of the other murals on our list, but equally notable.