The first time I went to Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, I hadn’t eaten anything substantive in two days. But I’d had plenty of beer from judging all day. I felt like crap, drank half a pint of cask Scotch ale, picked at my food and went home.
Knowing they carry a reputation for good beers, I was eager for a return visit. We pulled into town on a Sunday to see Zane Lamprey’s antics and set aside plenty of time for MTHB. With no boys in tow, it was one of the most pleasurable meals I’ve had in a long time. Leisurely, we ordered a sampler tray of their current seasonals, which included Marmalade Sky (APA with orange peel and Amarillo hops), 1800 (a 7.7% abv English IPA), Abominable Coffee Porter, Mango Mama (American IPA aged on mango), and their Grand Cru (a 9.5% “celebratory Belgian ale”).
My preferences on this beautiful day were the 1800 and the coffee porter. If it were a colder, drearier day, I’d trade out the 1800 for the Grand Cru.
Eventually, we ordered their beer bread for an appetizer, while I challenged Wonderful Beer Wife to take notes with 3-word beer descriptions, to see how hard it is.
Beer: Me: Her:
Marmalade Sky fruity, marmalade, hop-delight pithy, bitter, grapefruit
1800 earthy, hop-fruit, drinker alcohol, warmth (she only needed 2)
Coffee Porter good coffee porter espresso, caramel, delicious
Grand Cru Belgo-boozed fruit boom smooth, raisin, heat
Mango Mama mango, pith, IPA prickly, bitter, grapefruit
It was a relaxed evening of dining outdoors, and I didn’t take my descriptions too geekily. I didn’t need to get flowery with the coffee porter. It was what it was: well done. The Mango Mama was the only one I didn’t care about. Chew on a mango pit that’s been soaking in IPA. That about sums it up–far too pithy and distracting. Funny that I called a 7.7% beer a “drinker,” but the 1800 was amazingly quaffable for its heft. And Michelle says it was a foul to use the word marmalade to describe a beer called Marmalade, but I say it was well-named.
Eventually, we ordered dinner. I went for the pulled pork, which was tasty and filling, though not Eastern North Carolina-style–my preference; Michelle had the fish tacos. Both good. With my meal, I went for their Dortmunder Local Export Lager (a golden, pils-toast quaffer). If I lived here, I would frequently refill my growler with this stuff.
We shared a pint of the coffee porter with a lava cake dessert–excellent combo. And I couldn’t help but order a glass of La Folie, which was one of their guest taps. Here was the odd surprise. I’ve known and loved many batches of this beer over the years, and this glass tasted completely different from the sour bomb I’ve so oft enjoyed.
In more than three words: Up front the aroma was cherries and sourness, and the taste started that way, but it was a dash of cherries followed by a sustained pineapple character with a little raspberries thrown in the finish. The pineapple kept going, and it had body. It was much less sour than my previous experiences with this beer–good, but different. If this was my first experience, I wouldn’t have fallen in such deep love. This one was a little sweeter and less attenuated, and I can’t believe this keg slipped out of the brewery so very different from everything else I’ve tried. Or it’s aged in a new direction, but really, it was much sweeter and not the same beer I’ve had before–beyond the minor batch-to-batch fluctuations.
But I digress. We had a great meal and beers at Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery and I’d definitely recommend this place.
1430 Washington Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55454