A lot of my wife’s family live in Minneapolis and surrounding areas, so I travel there more frequently than other places. I have sort of figured out what is good there but whenever I travel (in case you are just joining this blog) I like to seek out the unknown (to me) beer wise and try a brew pub I’ve never heard of or had a beer from. Fortunately with more than 3000 breweries in operation today, this is getting easier and easier as I travel to hit up places I’ve never been before. Minneapolis-St. Paul is a nice area to find a beer with a couple of dozen small breweries in the area. I was in town for my wife’s cousin’s wedding so I didn’t get a lot of time to explore this trip but I did hit up five places.
A staple for me. Whenever I get off the plane in the twin cities, this is my first stop. I eat lunch there and drink an unhealthy amount of beer. I missed the anniversary week by just a few days but honestly I don’t give a damn about special beers events. The beer I want is the beer in front of me and if I didn’t have to fight a crowd to get it, all the better.
Town Hall is a twin cities institution. For years it had the #1 IPA in the country, Masala Mama. An amazing IPA and I always order it when I’m in town and drinking. There are a few variants on the Masala Mama theme including Mango Mama, a mango infused version of Masala Mama which is also amazing. This time at Town Hall I ordered a flight of the “hoppy” beers, a full pour of Masala Mama and a full pour of the Dortmunder, which is also amazing.
Masala Mama never disappoints, ever. It is an archetypal American IPA in my opinion. Not too heavy but not thin, resinous hops, great aroma. When I dip a chip in salsa, I can’t see the chip any longer.
It was recommended by a few locals that I hit up a brewery called “Indeed” while I was there. It wasn’t out of the way so I popped in. I’ll lay out the few minor things I didn’t love about the place but then forgive them for all those things and praise them. First, no flights. Sigh. If you own an Indian food restaurant, lunch buffet…period. If you have a brew pub, flights….required. OK, not required but I like flights, a lot. Especially when I travel and I might only have one opportunity to go to a place, it gives me a better feel for the abilities and range of a brewery and staff if I can sample 4 to 6 beers. I understand why some places don’t do it, they can be labor intensive. I just appreciate ordering flights, enough with that. Moving on.
Indeed is literally located in some sort of modern art studio, and it looks it. This place is brick and clean, super clean. There is art hanging on the walls and the table I was sitting at was also quite …. arty. There is nothing about this place that indicates it makes beer except for some equipment and ingredients in a fenced off area in the hallway outside of the tap room. There is a wall behind the bar that I assume hides the presence of a small brewery. I personally like the industrialize feel some places have but this polished feel was also nice. Like I said, this place was in an art museum and it felt like an art museum.
So no flights, so what to order…they did offer “short pours” of 10 ounces. Great, I got the Mosaic Pale Ale and the IPA, cause I’m me. Both beers were amazing, the Mosaic was incredibly hop forward, mildly sweet and completely clean. Near perfect. I’d definitely go back there. I was mildly fatigued from my trip to Town Hall so I stopped at two beers. There was a black IPA I would have tried and a seasonal with some fall ingredients in them. Overall impression, really nice beer…and I’d go back.
If you are an American beer drinker and give know anything about American beer, you probably know about Surly. I missed Darkness Day by a week and a half but don’t care. While I love Darkness, I don’t love being shoulder to shoulder with huge numbers of beer geeks trying to get their hands on trade bait. I’d much rather trade with them after the fact.
Surly is amazing though. They have this little taproom, about a dozen beers on draft, a nice little shop (no photos, my phone was dead…rookie move). You can get short pours, buy glasses…shirts and so on. I had draft of Damien (missed Darkness), the last time I was in Minneapolis (about a year ago) I had “Diminished 7th” which was a beer made from the second runnings of the 7th anniversary ale, this time they were ramping up for the 8th anniversary.
There isn’t much I can say about one of the most popular breweries in the midwest. I love Furious…I think “Overrated” is ..well…over rated. Is that irony? I don’t remember. Love this brewery, love that they have a tasting room now (for the past two years I think) and I love the selection. Definitely go here if you can swing it.
This was random, truly random. Truly a move where I had about an hour, pulled my phone out and asked where the closest brewery was…it was down the street. A place called Herhimer.
I went in and realized this was a Green Bay Packers bar / brewery. The brewery was visible from the bar that was dropped in the middle of this room. Looked to be a 5-10 bbl system, I didn’t have the best view. The place was relatively dead (middle of the day) so the waitress came up and I asked for a flight. “Of what?” Everything? She brought me 4 ounce pours of the 8 beers they had on draft.
This place had a wide variety of styles…they appeal to a lot of people. I’m sure this place is good for what they want to be. I’ll say, their Rye was good, their IPA was good as well. The Alt was strange, not my favorite, the stout could be better…overall it was a nice detour. Never heard of this place, unlikely I’d go back but there was nothing wrong with it. I wish them well.
Dangerous Man – End Strong
This place? This is my “Holy shit what is happening” beer moments for the trip. Yep. I’ll start out with my only criticism of the place and it is minor. “Can I order a flight?” “No.” BOOOO!!!! They make up for this by selling 3$ 10 ounce pours…Yes, 3$ pours. I order the IPA because why not. The IPA they had on draft was called “Single Hop Series IPA #7: Glacier”…I’ll be frank. I don’t really like Glacier as a hop…especially not a single hop but I’m me so I ordered the IPA. It was quite good. I focused on the back bone of the beer (assuming that this was some ongoing experiment with their base IPA and different hops). I respect the shit out of the experiment and this beer was pretty good. I’d love to be there for a Simcoe, Amarillo, even a Cascade version of this beer. Citra? Yeah….give me a call.
Since I can’t order a flight here, again BOO, I decide to order the MOST DIFFERENT beer on the menu from the IPA, that’s the chocolate stout. I win beer for that move. I win it forever. The Chocolate Stout at Dangerous Man is the real fucking deal. I’m sold now, whatever I’ll take it all next…more beer please. This is sweet and not heavy, it is easy drinking, good chocolate character. All around a great beer. I loved it. Would have more but my work isn’t done here.
The last beer I ordered here (my wife and kid was coming to get me) was the Oktoberfest. I generally like Marzen / Oktoberfests and the season was right. Again, this was the MOST DIFFERENT beer from the two I had previously. Testing their range. Now let’s go after a lager. Again, way above average, a really good American Oktoberfest. Not too heavy, not too sweet, no aftertaste, a cleanly done lager, appropriate color and gravity…I’d definitely have it again. I will definitely go to this place again. This is the winner for my Minneapolis trip.
For those of you paying attention, I end every post with a quote about beer or something in the post…usually alcohol related. I wanted to end this post with a quote from Dangerous Man Brewing, the quote is:
“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes to make them possible.” — T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia)
I am a Dangerous Man.