Category: Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery

Blessing of the Maibock

Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery is bring back their oldest tradition this Saturday at 5pm – the Blessing of the Maibock. Reverend Aron Kramer returns yet again to bless the Maibock at Town Hall and usher in spring. This is an awesome event and we think you should go! Bonus: free maibock!


Saturday, May 4, 5 p.m. blessing, following by free maibock until 6 p.m.

Town Hall Lanes Fresh Hop Fest

Now in its 5th year, Town Hall Lanes’ Fresh Hop Fest will take place this year on Saturday, October 14. This year’s Fest will include about 30 breweries with a variety of fresh hop and other fall-inspired beers like Oktoberfest, Pumpkin, Wood-Aged, ciders and more. The event will also feature live music, food and more. Tickets to the event are  $40 and you can grab them

For Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery this marks year 12 for their fresh hop beer, Fresh Hop 100.



1–5 p.m.Saturday, October 14
Town Hall Lanes (outdoor event)
5019 South 34th Ave., Minneapolis

Participating Breweries:

  • Bad Weather Brewing Co.
  • Badger Hill Brewing Co.
  • Bent Paddle Brewing Co.
  • Boulder Beer Company
  • Castle Danger Brewery
  • Fair State Brewery Cooperative
  • Founders Brewing Co.
  • Inbound Brewing Co.
  • Indeed Brewing Co.
  • Insight Brewing Co.
  • Lake Monster Brewing Co.
  • Lift Bridge Brewing Co.
  • Loon Juice
  • Mankato Brewery
  • Milk & Honey Ciders
  • New Holland Brewery
  • North Loop Brewing Co.
  • Surly Brewing Co.
  • Sweetland Orchard

Northern Lights Rare Beer Fest Saturday

As I write this, tickets are still available for Saturday’s Northern Lights Rare Beer Festival at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. In its short history, the event has quickly become Minnesota’s premiere Winter (…er Spring?) festival with a finely-curated list of rare, one-off and specialty beers from 30 select breweries from Minnesota and across the country. Suffice to say that this event includes plenty of excellent food, entertainment and more.

I am, of course, a dumbass and won’t be there so here are Five beers I’ll really f&#@ing miss from this year’s Northern Lights Rare Beer Festival:

  • Indeed Wooden Soul: Ephemeral
  • August Schell Electric Empress
  • Fitger’s Brewhouse Tequila Barrel 1100 Wheatwine
  • Bemidji Brewing Flanders Sour Red
  • Steel Toe Brewing Before the Dawn with Tart Cherries

That being said, there are a lot of interesting beers. Learn more by checking out the program or visiting their website.

Download the program here.

Buy your tickets here.

Northern Lights Rare Beer Fest, Saturday, March 11th, 7-10pm.
Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul

Town Hall Brewery Barrel-Aged Week Preview

Barrel-aged beers are trending in Minnesota and across the country. Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery has always been ahead of the trends here in Minnesota winning a gold medal in 2001 at The Great American Beer Festival for their Russian Imperial Stout, Czar Jack.

Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery is celebrating Barrel-Aged Week beginning on Sunday, February 19th at 10 am with the pre-sale of 750 ml growlers. This means that you will wait in line to get tickets which will allow you to return to the brewery the day that beer is released and pick up your growler. There will be new beers released every day of the week beginning with the Foolish Angel Series.

Barrel Selection:
The art of barrel-aging beers begins with the barrel selection process. Head brewer Mike Hoops heads down to Kentucky every year to select the whiskey barrels that he will use to concoct many of these beers. There are a multitude of factors that go into choosing the correct barrels. Most bourbon barrels are made out of white oak from the southern portion of the United States. The barrels are then “charred” which mellows the tannins found in the wood and acts as sort of a carbon filter. This will contribute to the flavor of the whiskey, and afterwards the beer stored in the barrel.

According to Town Hall head brewer Mike Hoops the barrels are an ingredient just like hops and grain. The base beer can be the same every year, but the beer will come out a little different each time. “Barrels are harder and harder to get now” says Hoops. Back in the year 2000 (the first year that he made Czar Jack) he was able to purchase that barrel from the Jack Daniels General Store. “We paid $45 for that first barrel, and $75 to ship it” he said chuckling.

One of the biggest factors is the level of humidity in the space where the barrel is stored. This often means that barrels that are stored higher up in the warehouse could be considered more desirable. Barometric pressure causes the bourbon (during first use) to penetrate deeper into the staves which creates the ideal vessel for imparting flavor into the beer during the barrel-aging process. Hoops wouldn’t elaborate on the extent of his standards but it was clear in speaking with him that the level of char, and the depth that the whiskey penetrates the staves are important in this process.

Manhattan Reserve is one of the best barrel-aged beers made at Town Hall. The story behind it is just as interesting. Hoops’ father-in-law loves a good Manhattan cocktail. Mike wanted to create those flavors in a beer and gave it a whirl. The result is nothing short of spectacular. This beer starts out as a Grand Cru on red tart cherries, and is then stored in Woodford Reserve bourbon whiskey barrels for a number of months.

This is the best event put on the brewery all year so you don’t want to miss out. For the full schedule of releases, see below:

Barrel Aged Week Release Schedule 2017:

Sunday, February 19th | 10am

750ml Growler Pre-Sale | If you’re looking to take home this year’s barrel-aged releases, this is your chance! Tickets go on sale at 10am; beers can be picked up once they are released on tap.

Monday, February 20th | 5pm

  • Foolish Red | Belgian-style Quadrupel aged in French oak red wine barrels.
  • Foolish Angel | Belgian-style Quadrupel aged in bourbon barrels.
  • Single Barrel Reserve Foolish Angel | A very special single-barrel offering.

Tuesday, February 21st | 5pm

  • Manhattan Reserve | Belgian-style Grand Cru with red tart cherries, aged in bourbon barrels.

Wednesday, February 22nd | 5pm

  • Twisted Trace | American Barleywine aged in bourbon barrels.
  • E.T. Wee | Scottish-style Wee Heavy aged in bourbon barrels.

Thursday, February 23rd | 5pm

  • Eye Wine Red | Minnesota Honey Ale aged in French oak red wine barrels.
  • Eye Wine White | Minnesota Honey Ale aged in American chardonnay barrels.
  • Le Baltique | Baltic Porter aged in French oak red wine barrels.

Friday, February 24th | 5pm

  • Project 3106 | Belgian-style Strong Brown Ale with kumquat and chocolate, aged in bourbon barrels.
  • Buffalo Bock | German-style Weizenbock aged in bourbon barrels.

Saturday, February 25th | 11am

  • Czar Jack | The grandaddy of them all. Russian Imperial Stout aged in Tennessee whiskey barrels.

Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery, A Minnesota Craft Beer Institution, Celebrates 19 Years

Like a "Mom" tattoo, only better. If you've ever noticed the quilted banners at the brewery that highlight Town Hall's awards, you've seen Pete's mom's work. A fitting memorial.

Like a “Mom” tattoo, only better. If you’ve ever noticed the quilted banners at the brewery that highlight Town Hall’s awards, you’ve seen Pete’s mom’s work. A fitting memorial.

Before Steel Toe Size 7, there was Masala Mama. Before Surly Darkness, there was Czar Jack, and long before barrel-aged beers were popular—Town Hall was putting beer in barrels. Nineteen years ago a young Pete Rifakes opened the doors to the Seven Corners mainstay, in hopes of bringing great beer to the Twin Cities. To say that he has accomplished that is an understatement.

At the time, brewpubs were where you went to get a great beer. Summit and Schell’s blazed the trail but you often purchased their selections at the liquor store, or at an upscale bar here in the Twin Cities. Places like Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery and Sherlock’s Home were where you went to find something different, or particularly interesting. You weren’t “hip” if you were seeking these beers out. You were probably a homebrewer or a beer geek looking for inspiration. These are the kind of people that keep head brewer Mike Hoops around after 16 years. “The nice thing [working at a brewpub] is you’ve got direct interaction with your customer base” he says. “As long as we’re making good beer they’ll keep coming in. Our growth is limited, but our fingers are the only ones on our beer. I really like this environment” said Hoops.

Mike Hoops, Barrel-Aged Week 2014. Photo: Ryan Anderson/

Mike Hoops, Barrel-Aged Week 2014. Photo: Ryan Anderson/

Brewpubs also tend to have a little more freedom to play around with different styles partly due to the batch sizes being smaller. It’s super fun making different beers” he says. “Let’s give ‘em a reason to keep coming in.”

Hoops (formerly of Fitger’s Brewhouse) was hired on in 2000 after their original brewer John Haggerty left and things could not have worked out any better. Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery has since taken home 15 Great American Beer Festival medals and changed the way we think about beer here in Minnesota. Their Masala Mama IPA was the number one rated American IPA on both Beer Advocate and Rate beer for years.

To celebrate 19 years, the brewery will release Three Hour Tour Coconut Milk Stout, Mango Mama (a mango version of their influential IPA Masala Mama), along with some barrel-aged releases later in the week.

Mango Mama was born at an Indian restaurant where Hoops and some of his brewers were enjoying a meal back in 2007. They ordered their food extra spicy he remembered and they wanted to cool their mouths off. “We ordered a Mango Lassi [Indian Yogurt drink] because our mouths were burning, and the fruit sweetness mellowed out the spice.” They played with recipes and found one that worked, deciding on the name Mango Mama.

Mike HoopsHoops wondered if he could do something similar with a Stout so he played around tirelessly with different forms of coconut before finally settling on coconut chips. That beer would be called Three Hour Tour (a personal favorite of mine), a Coconut Milk Stout.

What does the future hold for Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery? “We’re starting to mess around with sours. It’s on the horizon” he says.

If there’s one thing to celebrate with the West Bank brewpub, it’s that consistency, quality, and innovation are a recipe for success. Just ask your favorite brewer, it’s where they go drink and learn about beer.

Anniversary Week Schedule:
Monday, Oct 24: Double Beer Release! Anniversary Ale & Three Hour Tour | 5pm

Tuesday, Oct 25: Anniversary Beer Dinner | 7pm

Wednesday, Oct 26: Mango Mama in Pints & Growlers (64oz growlers available) | 5pm

Thursday, Oct 27: Beer Trivia at THB with Trivia Mafia | 730pm
Thursday, Oct 27: Throwback Thursday Menu | All Day

Friday, Oct 28: Barrel Sampler (Manhattan Reserve, Twisted Trace, and Buffalo Bock) | 5pm

Saturday, Oct 29: Free Brewery Tours | 12-5PM
Saturday, Oct 29: Russian Roulette Release | 11AM