Minnesota is in the midst of a taproom boom. Including open and soon-to-open taprooms, there are about 25 in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area, and many more across the state.
The taproom boom is happening thanks to the 2011 "Surly bill," which gave Minnesota brewers the right to sell beer where they make it.
The Heavy Table's James Norton and MPR News' Tom Crann recently paid a visit to HammerHeart Brewing Company in Lino Lakes, Minn. to talk about the taproom trend (hear their conversation above).
The Nordic- and Celtic-inspired brewery, which opened in 2013, resembles a hunting lodge and names its beers after people and places relevant to Norse mythology and the world of the Vikings. It has become known for its barrel-aged beers — everything from bourbon to brandy to aquavit barrels get used in finishing off the beers.
"I think there is a sense of place that comes through in a taproom. You're drinking beer that's brewed on site, sometimes as you're watching, which I think is one of the really appealing things," Norton said. "It's really fun to taste something that has such a vivid sense of place to it. That's something I think people can't get enough of, and that's a lot of what's driving the taproom trend, which right now shows no sign of abating."
Some other local taprooms that bring a twist to the taproom experience: Stillwater's Lift Bridge Brewing hosts community events including an annual cookie baking contest and a hop-cone picking party; Sociable Cider Werks is the first Minneapolis-St. Paul taproom focused on cider; And just across the border in Wilson, Wisconsin, Dave's Brewfarm presents creative brews in a space that is rustic, industrial, and wind-powered.
Map of breweries in Minnesota: