Photo Courtesy Short or Tall Eatery and Drink Hall
Minnesota—especially the Twin Cities—is a craft brewery hotspot, giving bars and restaurants plenty of options for their craft beer selection. And while choosing the best beers to feature is obviously a key to success, these three bars are also playing with the experience itself.
Photo Courtesy Short or Tall Eatery & Drink Hall
Short or Tall Eatery & Drink Hall
Most people wouldn’t think of the northwest city of Rogers as a beer destination, but Short or Tall Eatery & Drink Hall, a concept created and executed by hospitality expert Brian Conneran, is quickly changing that. The building’s unique shape and color, extensive outdoor seating (the ultimate goal is to allow for outdoor dining all year-round—yes, even in freezing weather!), and to-die-for burgers (I recommend the Midnight Burger with blackberry chipotle jam and goat cheese) are all reasons to visit Short or Tall. But the biggest draw, no doubt, is the bar’s half-million-dollar suspended keg cooler and 80 taps.
According to the bar manager of Short or Tall, David Marzorati, the insulated beer delivery system that gets the craft beverages from the keg cooler to the taps ensures the highest quality of whatever you happen to be drinking that night. On the 80 taps are more than 60 beers—52 of which are locally brewed in Minnesota—and four Tattersall cocktails, pre-mixed and specially made for Short or Tall. Stick to your traditional Budweiser (a bar necessity, according to Conneran), try Indeed Brewing Co.’s newest Flavorwave IPA, or check out one of the nitro stouts or porters. If you’re in the mood for an on-tap cocktail, the draft Strawberry Vodka Collins is a winner.
Photo courtesy Tap Society/ Michael Nienaltowski
Relatively new to the Kingfield neighborhood, Tap Society is a friendly burger and fries joint with a twist—a self-serve tap wall that allows visitors to pour their own beer, cider, or wine with 26 pour-by-the-ounce taps. Upon arrival, you simply walk up to the check-in desk, show your ID, and activate your Society Card which you then take to the tap wall and place into the reader of whatever drink you want to try. Currently, the tap wall includes everything from Miller Lite ($0.20 per ounce) and Schell’s Oktoberfest ($0.44 per ounce) to Freewheeler Dry from Sociable Cider Werks ($0.44) and 2Brew Coffee Kolsch by Broken Clock Brewing Cooperative ($0.47). Wines include Angeline Rose and Piont Noir ($1.50 and $1.66 per ounce, respectively) and a Marietta OVR Blend and Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc (both $1.50). Fun fact: Tap Society doesn’t accept tips—instead, they simply request visitors give a donation that goes back to the community.
Photo courtesy First Draft Taproom & Kitchen
First Draft Taproom & Kitchen
Located in North Loop, First Draft is one of the first restaurants in Minnesota to include a self-serve tap wall with a selection of 54 beers, ciders, and wines to choose from. This is First Draft’s second location (the first is in Denver), and it uses the iPourIt system. Visitors pay by the ounce, but instead of a swipeable card like Tap Society, First Draft hands out bracelets, which visitors then hold up to the screen above the tap to be scanned. Since opening in July 2018, First Draft has poured over 64,226 ounces with an average of 4.9 ounces per pour—nothing’s stopping you from pouring as little or as much as you’d prefer. Try 612Brew’s Margarita-Style Kettle Sour Ale, the S’mores Ale from Excelsior Brewing Company, or Strawberry Shandy from Loon Juice.