American craft breweries now number over 5,000 and more continue to open their doors each week with no foreseeable end in sight. Narrow the list down to breweries over 5 years old and you will notice a large drop in numbers. Take it down to breweries over 10 years of age and the list will fall considerably further. And over 20 years in operation?- well, there are very few that fit this condition, but I happened to visit one such brewery while I was exploring Minneapolis/St. Paul in search of the best local beer. That brewery happens to be Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, an award winning brewpub.
Twin Cities Food and Brew
Town Hall Brewery is located at 1430 S. Washington Ave., right next to Interstate 35 and walking distance from U.S. Bank Stadium. I arrived here in the evening hours and I did have an issue finding a place to park. Town Hall Brewery doesn’t have its own parking lot, so you have to drive up and down the streets or use the parking ramp for the adjacent Courtyard Marriott Hotel. Always one to be frugal, I tried to find a place to park on the street but after driving in multiple circles, I finally gave in and parked in the hotel’s parking garage.
Walking to Town Hall Brewery, the first thing that catches your eye is the outdoor patio. It looks nice and felt nice on this mild summer day, but it is in a somewhat busy area traffic- wise so it’s not a good choice if you want to enjoy a quiet meal and/or beer. Your best bet if you want climate control and generally quiet conditions is to head indoors, where you will find a full service restaurant, full service bar, and abundant seating.
Town Hall Brewery has a large number of its own beers on tap at any moment. When I visited, there were eleven summer seasonal beers alone! Add to that six taps dispensing year- round offerings and you have the makings of a craft beer smorgasbord, the likes of which you do not normally see in a brewpub. There are enough beer options to satisfy even the pickiest of palates.
Food is an important part of the Town Hall Brewery experience. The menu consists of burgers, sandwiches, appetizers, soup and salad, and a kids menu. I wasn’t feeling terribly hungry when I visited, but the food looked tempting so I ordered the Brewer Burger. Cooked medium (unless you specify otherwise) and topped with one of several assorted cheeses, this one- half pound burger and seasoned side of fries were superb and made for an ideal match with the beer. And guess what?- I might have not felt hungry, but I finished off the entire contents of my plate, which speaks volumes for its quality and deliciousness.
Beer- Where Do I Start?
Town Hall Brewery, as I alluded to above, has a large selection of beer on tap and this could make selection a challenge. I went ahead and ordered a flight sampler of the year- round brews, then added servings of a few of the seasonal beers that sounded the most interesting. Here is a list of what I tried, in alphabetical order by name, followed by the style and my Untappd rating on a five point scale:
- Black H2O Oatmeal Stout, Oatmeal Stout, 4
- Blackberry Blarney, Irish Red, 3.75
- Dortmunder Local Export, Dortmunder Lager, 3.75
- Hope & King Scotch Ale, Wee Heavy, 4
- Marmalade Sky, American Pale Ale, 4.25
- Masala Mana, IPA, 4
- Parkway Java Porter, Porter, 3.5
- Thunderstorm, American Strong Ale, 4
- West Bank Pale Ale, American Pale Ale, 4
Overall Average Beer Rating: 3.92
I really liked the beer I tried at Town Hall Brewery and rated everything above average. As you can see, my highest rating went to the Marmalade Sky Pale Ale, but only by a hair. In all, I tried nine beers and six of them I rated 4 stars or better.
Awards and Experience
Town Hall Brewery is one of the best brewpubs I have visited in a long time. With excellent food and outstanding suds, Town Hall Brewery is the place to go in downtown Minneapolis when you want some of the best in the world of craft beer with equally tasty and compatible food for a complete experience.
I spent a good deal of time at Town Hall Brewery talking to the manager on duty about Town Hall Brewery, the Minneapolis beer scene, and other assorted trivia. I was surprised to learn that Town Hall Brewery had been around for two decades and was equally surprised to learn that this brewpub has been recognized with 15 Great American Beer Festival medals! That is an impressive number, but when I think back to the quality of the beer I tried, it’s not really all that surprising. They take great care at Town Hall Brewery to produce the best quality beer possible and the large number of awards is proof that they are, indeed, doing something right.
Speaking again of the beer, there are quite a few choices at Town Hall Brewery- more house beers than you encounter at the typical brewpub. If you cannot decide what to order, I recommend going with a flight sampler. This is the best way to taste a relatively small amount of beer and narrow down to the ones you like best. I decided to stick with flight samples only, since I was trying to pace myself, but place me at Town Hall Brewery on some other date and time and I would most assuredly order a full serving of at least two or three of these stellar malt beverages although, again, it would be difficult to narrow down to only two or three, since so many of them are so good.
The American craft beer scene continues to march forward. With more than 5,000 breweries in operation and hundreds more in the planning stages, there has never been a better time in American history to love beer. Town Hall Brewery has proven to me that, while there is a certain degree of novelty in youth and newness, there is something to be said for experience. And with two decades of industry know- how and so many awards, Town Hall Brewery is the place to visit when brewing expertise is your desire. Pay them a visit the next time you’re in the downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota area. And tell them Great Beer Now sent you.