There’s no reason why Minnesota can’t be a national beer leader: We grow barley and hops right here, and we certainly have the talent, as the critical success of local breweries like Summit and Surly show. To get a sense of how bright the future is, and how sky-high the horizons are, report to the new Town Hall Tap, the little sister location of one of Minnesota’s best brewpubs, Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis’s Seven Corners district.
Order a mug of the tap’s Marmalade Sky Pale Ale—light copper colored, citrus-touched (but not distractingly so), with a clear astringent finish. Then, try the Parkway Java Porter. Just what a dark porter should be, it’s complex and layered, but not muddy or too sweet. Finally, finish up with the house Belgian ale, called Triple Vision, a true tour de force: clear as a bell and apple- and biscuit-scented, like some wonderful halfway point between a forthright beer and a lilting Champagne. Okay, that’s a lot of beer for one person, so perhaps you should bring a group for dinner. If you do, please know the burgers were merely good enough: big and meaty, but sort of flabby, and lacking great flavor. The beer-cheese soup, however, was superb: Light and well nuanced, it was easily the best rendition I’ve had in my long and mediocre-beer-cheese-soup-saturated life. Be sure to order it with the optional bread bowl from the nearby Turtle Bread Company. You get a whole tidy little loaf to sop up the soup, just the thing to go with a beer—or three.