It’s March in Minnesota, and I’ve gotta tell you – I love both of those things! It’s no secret I have hometown pride, but why do I love March, of all months? Well here in the North, it’s the first time things start to feel bright and shiny and warm after the doldrums of wintertime. Those of you who are also from here know that the second the temperature outside hits 50 degrees everyone floods the streets like it’s a sun-induced zombie apocalypse because we’ve been cooped up and need all the vitamin D we can manage to soak up through our sweatshirts and jeans. That said, there is usually always also a snowstorm since reliability is never something associated with Minnesota weather.
Therefore, in the honor of March and it’s spirit of “whatever the hell Minnesota wants to throw at you”, I’ll be throwing some outstanding Minnesota libations your way. To help cope with the “I don’t know if I’ll need my snow pants or my rain boots” mentality we’re all going through, I will also be featuring TWO different things each week: A local craft beer (Tuesdays) and a Minnesota-inspired cocktail (Thursdays). After all, how can we expect to make up our minds about what to drink if March can’t decide what season it falls under?
First up is an absolute staple. For those of you who know me, it’s probably absolutely no surprise whatsoever that it hails from Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery.
For those of you who don’t know me, here’s the short version: Everyone has “their spot” and Town Hall is mine and Josh’s… technically it was his first, and I just jumped on that very tasty bandwagon. It’s where we claim to have had our first date (since we can’t actually remember when that was), and it’s where we’ve had some of our best conversations. Since college, it has always been and will always be our go-to establishment. Not to mention, the people that work there… they’re stellar. Best bartenders in town!
Town Hall has been open since 1997, and has been brewing tasty things ever since. You can always count on them for a solid lineup of 5 house taps, and a healthy, creative rotation of seasonals including both beers on cask and nitro. They have other people’s beer too, but don’t bother with those. Going to a local brewpub to order someone else’s beer is like walking into your local pizza joint and asking for an order of sesame chicken. Just plain wrong.
Typically, I go for the seasonals (and the Southwest Egg Rolls – you should definitely also order those). What I love about their seasonals is that there is always something different, and they are always playing with flavors. I’m a particular fan of infusions, and very rarely disappointed by what Town Hall turns out. That said, the drawback to seasonals is the limited run they have. They only brew a certain amount, so it’s possible to fall in love with something and never be able to order it again. Read: Heartbreaking.
With that in mind, you can always most certainly count on each of the 5 house beers that are always there: Black H2O Oatmeal Stout, Dortmunder Local Export Lager, Masala Mama IPA, West Bank Pale Ale, and my personal favorite: The Hope & King Scotch Ale
Hope & King is a Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy style beer that’s full in body and rich in malt. It. Is. Tasty. Brewed with both English and American barley and some specialty malts, it’s got a lovely roasted toffee, caramel and chocolate flavor. The hop presence is pretty minimal, and I’m totally okay with that. This is just a really solid “go-to” beer that’s easy to drink and even easier to enjoy. Pro tip: If they have it on cask, it’s even better!
Anyone else out there have a Town Hall favorite?