The Year of the Taproom: Our Four Twin Cities Favorites
By Joel Hoekstra, Minnesota Monthly
2012 was the year of the taproom. Sure, Brooklyn Center-based Surly got the discussion going last year, nudging state legislation that would allow it to serve its beer on-site at its yet-to-be-built facility. But other brewers beat them to the punch, opening their own taprooms in spaces both richly appointed and ramshackle. At last count, there were nearly a dozen taprooms open across Minnesota. Here, our four Twin Cities favorites.
When the Twins are down or the rain begins to fall and you need something to smile about, head a block west of Target Field to the Fulton Brewery. You'll feel better with a Lonely Blonde (the drink!) or a Sweet Child of Vine in hand. Plus, there's always a food truck parked outside where you can get something to sate those beer munchies. Chef Shack, Barrio, Gastrotruck or Hola Arepa—check out Fulton's website to see who's parked outside on any given night.
Tucked away in an industrial park, the Lift Bridge Brewery isn't really on the scenic tour of Stillwater. But a stop is still well-worth the drive: it's the only way you can be sure to get a taste of the four-year-old brewery's seasonal beers, which sell out fast in stores. Our recommendation: sample the seasonal suds as part of a flight that includes the brewery's IPAs, stouts, and even barley wine.
Curious to know what goes into that growler? Harriet Brewing offers free hour-long tours led by owner/brewer Jason Sowards every Wednesday at 6 p.m. (Reservations required.) From mixing malts to making labels, you'll learn every step of the beer-making process. Feel free to bring the kids—only those 21-plus can taste, of course.
The newest addition to the taproom scene (when the issue went to print), Indeed pours delicious pints, but it's the elegance of the 1,500-square-foot taproom and patio that accounts for the repeat visitors. The crown jewel is a 37-foot white-oak bar, but the vintage furniture scavenged from an old clubroom adds to the Old World feel.