To begin: this is a post about tap rooms within driving distance of the Twin Cities. If you didn't read my first post about tap rooms, go there to get caught up ... since this is just a continuation of that story line, you'll want to start there.
This post includes my first few visits to tap rooms after the New Year.
All caught up? Ok, let's go!
American Sky Brewing
Visited: Early January
On Tap: approximately 6 beers, one of which is charity brewed (all sales/profits donated)
Food: Not when we were there, but looks like they occasionally have food trucks ... well, except for the fact that we were there on a Sunday ...
In case you can't see it:
Yeah. I had bacon. Not gonna lie.
Ambiance: Made to look like an airplane hangar inside, this brewery definitely lives up to it's name. Beer is served from a horseshoe shaped bar that looks like an airplane wing. Keeping with the aviation theme, flights are served on a wooden "propeller". Brewing operations are tucked back in the hind quarters of the "hangar". And, fun fact, their tap lines hold 6 gallons of each beer, since the cooler is in the back of the building... but it's kept cold, don't worry.
Worth noting: this brewery likes their vets. If you missed it on the chalkboard above:
Thoughts: I really liked this place. It's a long drive from the metro area, but worth it if you're looking for a day of entertainment. The guy at the tap when we were there was tremendously friendly, fun and knowledgeable. We even liked one beer so well that we bought our first growler, which we could do on a Sunday because ... Wisconsin!! (Sneak Attack Imperial Stout, if you're wondering).
St. Paul, MN
Visited: Mid January - OK, OK ... technically a repeat so I won't bore you with another recap of this one (see my previous recap for that). I only went back because:
The infusion was fun to try, but I had been hoping for a little more pineapple flavor. Regardless, it was citrusy and good. And of course, while there, I had to live it up a little
St. Paul, MN
Visited: Mid January (same day as Tin Whiskers, above)
On Tap: approximately 5 GLUTEN FREE beers
Food: Not when we were there, but they occasionally have food trucks and also sold a decent selection of "brewery approved" snacks (more on this in a minute)
Ambiance: This brewery is tucked away in a mostly residential neighborhood located in the Midway area of St. Paul. The owners appears to want to emphasize its brewery space over the tap room; I say this because while the tap room doesn't feel crowded, it was smaller than many of the other places I've visited, whereas the brewing area seemed much larger in comparison. Brewery operations are visible through a window in the tap room ... which has an interesting art display inside.
Visited: Later January
On Tap: an impressive amount - I lost count, but maybe 10-12
Flights: No :-( I made my own by buying 4 of their beers in $3 tulip servings and sharing with the husband
Food: A food truck was parked out front
Ambiance: A unique place filled with unique people, beer and things, this unassuming brick building packs a lot of punch inside... and might make you question if you're in a tap room or an art gallery celebrating their newest talent. Pull up to the bar, or find a table or couch in the lounge area. Brewing operations are located at the far side of the bar (you can see the copper kettle, center left, in photo #4 below).
Visited: Later January - OK, OK ... another repeat (see my previous recap ). We went back because it was a lazy Sunday, and why not?!
Pro tip, don't take a big drink of beer just before someone throws down a card in Cards Against Humanity. I almost needed to borrow the tap room's mop.
While there, I found out they were selling this thing... happy Valentines Day, husband! (Ssssh, don't tell him).
Sociable Cider Werks
Visited: End of January
On Tap: 4-5 beers, 4-5 ciders
Flights: Only in the first hour they open, which we missed :-(
Food: Food truck on site
Ambiance: It seems that most of the tap rooms in Minneapolis are tucked into random warehouse spaces that have a stark outside and a homey inside. This taproom is no exception to that rule, PLUS they have a piano!! I especially enjoyed the fire pit out front. Brewing (and canning) operations are visible behind the bar area.
LTD (Live the Dream) Brewing
Visited: Super Bowl Sunday, around the lunch hour
On Tap: 9 beers
Food: Various snacks sold in house, but we opted for burgers at Pub 819 before coming over, which was not even half a block away
Ambiance: LTD assimilates into one of the various ... not really strip malls, but more like strip of stores on each block of downtown Hopkins. From the outside, the brewery doesn't look like much, but inside it is surprisingly spacious and welcoming. Brewing operations are located in the back, just past the bar (in the back left of photo two below).
Now that I've been to more locations, how would I amend my previous summary?
Top three spots overall
Tin Whiskers, Badger Hill, Dangerous Man
Best places for sampling many varieties (via flights) in one day
612, Boom Island, LTD
Places where I could definitely burn an afternoon playing Connect 4 (or Cards Against Humanity)
Sisyphus, American Sky, Badger Hill
Best beers to buy for at home (and avoid the crowds)
Fulton, Indeed, Surly