Bar crawls are so 2011.
Themed pub prowling — zombie, Santa or otherwise — has been a favorite potable pastime for years. But 2013 is all about the taproom tour, particularly in northeast Minneapolis.
Indeed Brewing (711 15th Av. NE., Mpls., 612-843-5090) opened last August in the neighborhood long known as a sanctum for artists and dive bars. Dangerous Man (1300 NE. 2nd St., Mpls., 612-209-2626) and 612Brew (945 NE. Broadway St., Mpls., 612-217-0437) popped up this year. Located within about a mile of one another in Northeast, this keg-tapping trinity has formed a cluster of premier taprooms, and caravanning carousers are already making the rounds. These ad hoc expeditions have quickly become the hottest trend in Twin Cities imbibing.
“We do this on the weekends pretty regularly,” said Amelia Cruver, enjoying a Burr Grinder at Indeed with husband Logan Adams.
The couple live blocks from Indeed and often spend their afternoons bouncing from brewery to brewery. “Maybe too often,” the 28-year-old Adams joked.
They aren’t the only ones. Robert Kasak, 612Brew’s co-owner and recipe czar, said beer fans have been filing into his taproom by the bus- and even limo-load since its February opening, often hopping between hops havens. “Two weekends ago our doorman called in sick, so I was working the door checking IDs,” the gregarious beersmith said. “You wouldn’t believe how many people came in with a [Dangerous Man stamp] on their hand and then a stamp from Indeed.”
These mini taproom treks would feel pretty redundant if each brewery weren’t offering something unique. Indeed does bold brews in a quintessential beer hall. 612Brew specializes in hops-heavy session ales and a raucous, rap-blasting atmosphere. Meanwhile, the homey Dangerous Man’s small-batch focus sees its roster constantly rotating (bet on finding that sumptuous chocolate milk stout, though).
As Northeast becomes the city’s busiest craft-beer district, owners agree that it’s been a boon to business. Indeed co-founder Rachel Anderson said taproom revenue helped advance the wholesale-first brewery’s plans to double its production capacity. Adit Kalra of 612Brew said they’re already talking expansion. And Dangerous Man currently caps growler sales at 15 per day to keep enough beer in the taproom. “We’re barely making enough beer,” said Dangerous Man’s owner/brewer Rob Miller. “We can handle it, but definitely we’re brewing as fast as we can, as much as we can.”
On a recent Saturday, beer folk had filled Miller’s growler-counting grotto by late afternoon. It was Tyler Olson’s first time there, as the 26-year-old was kicking off a Nordeast brew cruise with two friends. But having hit Indeed and 612Brew in the past, Olson had already experienced his share of taproom rushes. “I’ve never been to any of them when they haven’t been bustling,” he said from the corner of the crowded bar.
With hordes of hibernating Minnesotans now coming out to play, Indeed’s Anderson predicts this is only the beginning. “I think the momentum is just starting to build,” she said. “We’ve seen, as the weather’s getting warmer, more and more people hopping around and doing that taproom tour.”
God help us once PedalPub season picks up.
Excelsior: 421 3rd St., Excelsior. 952-474-7837. www.excelsiorbrew.com.
Fulton: 414 6th Av. N., Mpls. 612-333-3208. www.fultonbeer.com.
Harriet: 3036 Minnehaha Av. S., Mpls. 612-315-4633. www.harrietbrewing.com.
Lift Bridge: 1900 Tower Dr. W., Stillwater. 888-430-2337. www.liftbridgebrewery.com.
Pour Decisions: 1744 Terrace Dr., Roseville. 612-567-6871. www.pourdecisionsbrewery.com.
Steel Toe: 4848 W. 35th St., St. Louis Park. 952-955-9965. www.steeltoebrewing.com.
Summit: 910 Montreal Circle, St. Paul. 651-265-7800. www.summitbrewing.com.