Sunday, September 16, 2012

USA Summer 2012 -- Midwest (Minneapolis)

I also stopped in the Twin Cities to visit my daughter for a few days in late August. Knowing little about the beer scene there, except for Surly Brewing, I checked out places on RateBeer. Here are a few of them:

Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

This is a brewpub in the West Bank Cedar/Riverside area. They had five regular beers, five seasonals, and two on cask. The menu listed four ciders and a selection of bottled beer, spirits, and wine. The food menu was mostly pretty typical pub grub, except for the walleye sandwich. They also smoke beer brats in a small empty lot next door. The service was just so-so, and the food average (really umappetizing nachos, though). Samplers were available for both regulars and seasonals.

I had a sampler of five types, only one of which is worth writing about. Town Hall Masala Mama IPA, which I tasted in both cask and tap versions. Very good stinky, sweaty hop aroma. Pretty copper-orange color with a very creamy 1-2 cm. head. Good, fairly mild, hop initial; mid palate had some good malt and a bit of grapefruit; final contains a bit of pepper. Medium body. Well balanced.The cask version was quite tasty.


This bar/restaurant is right across the street from Town Hall. Lots of polished wood, high ceilings. 50 taps, with a very good selection of local and Midwest regional brews. I went there twice in two days, and the service was pretty good, even when they were busy. They also seemed to know their beer. This place has the best beer selection and atmosphere in the neighborhood. I had several outstanding brews here, including Odell Myrcenary Double India Pale Ale, Steel Toe Rainmaker Double Red Ale, and (a fairly rare style) Boulevard Collaboration No. 3 Stingo.

Acadia Cafe
This place comes in second to Republic in both range and quality of beer available. 28 taps, 37 bottled beers, two ciders. 4-oz. flights were available: local brews on draft were six for $8; national beers are six for $10; imports are six for $15. When we went, they were offering a special deal: six generous samplers of Great Lakes beers for $6. Typical pub grub on the menu. Good, friendly atmosphere. Kind of a loud college-alternative sort of place. Highly recommended.

Blue Nile
This is a bit of an anomaly: an Ethiopian food restaurant with an exceptionally diverse beer list. I had a large glass of Chouffe Houblon Dobbelen IPA Tripel, which had an amazing aroma of coconuts, cherry, and plums. Ruby color, very pretty, with light lacing. Fruity, especially with deep dark cherries and plums with moderate hopping, Smooth as silk, with a medium-heavy body.

Finally, on a night when a music festival was being held along Cedar Avenue, we dropped in at Palmer's Bar to hear a loud, 60s-influenced band. The music and the atmosphere led me to order a Hamm's, which I did not even know was still being produced.It appeared like pee water, with a very mild cereal nose. Initial had just a touch of maltiness; mid has a smidgen of hops; and final had... almost nothing. Very thin, watery. Well, it definitely had some flavor, which was a surprise. 

I had hoped to visit Surly Brewing Company, but the Friday tour was already full. I also did not realize that they do not have a tasting room. Apparently, they are now in the process of building one. Next time....

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