Tuesday 13th October 2009
In a very cold wind I caught a No 22 bus from 7th Street in Downtown to this watering hole at 1430 Washington Avenue South (see photo). On a previous time in the city I'd visited this pub and was impressed.
I took a seat at the bar and asked for the usual sampler tray and was told that there were two, the standard one and another consisting of fresh (green) hop beers from various breweries. As the hop harvest was only just finishing the second option sounded superb. Nevertheless I took the normal tray first. After all, I was lucky to be there a second time in my life and couldn't miss anything.
The first tray of 5oz (1/4 pint) glasses consisted of the pub's regular five beers: Dortmunder Local Lager (5.4% abv), Masala Mama IPA (6.0% abv), Hope and King Scotch Ale (6.0% abv), Black H20 Oatmeal Stout (6.0% abv), West Bank Pub Pale Ale (4.8% abv). All were good. I started with the lager as I thought the strong tastes of the British style ales would overwhelm it and wasn't wrong. None the less, it was quite pleasant and hoppy. The others were outstanding with Masala Mama IPA taking the crown. A true American IPA with intense bitterness, wonderful!
Now it was time for the green hop beers, also known as fresh or wet hops (see photo). These beers use hops that have not been dried. Because of this they are heavy in hop flavour, as well as the usual bitterness. Firstly, one from the home side, Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery Fresh Hop Ale, fantastic. Next were two from the 2 Brothers Brewery of Warrenville, Illinois, both named 2 Brothers Heavy Hand IPA. One was 100% Cascade, the other 100% Willamette hops. The former had the citrus traits of Cascade yet with a much fuller flavour. I'm not familiar with Willamette but the flavour was very full, yet earthier.
Next was from Longmont, Colorado; Left Handed Warrior IPA (6.6% abv) using Warrior hops. They're from the Yakima Valley in Washington, and had a floral taste. Final brew was Surley Wet, from northern Minneapolis with a mix of green hops from Washington. All were 6.0% abv or more so please forgive me if went back to my hotel in the very early evening.
The next morning I left on a train odyssey to Portland on the Pacific West Coast behind iconic steam locomotive 4449 (see photo) but that's another story.
The Town Hall Brewery, 1430 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN
Tel: (612) 339 8696
Open: Monday to Thursday 11.00-01.00; Friday and Saturday 11.00-02.00;
Food: Monday to Wednesday 11.00-23.00; Thursday to Saturday 11.00-24.00;
Happy hours: Monday to Friday 15.00-18.30; 21.00-24.00. Wednesday 17.00-18.00
The pub is about a mile east of downtown at 1430 Washington Avenue South. The Metrodome and University of Minnesota are close. Bus 22 stops outside, others pass nearby. It's less than ten minutes walk from the Hiawatha line station of Cedar-Riverside.