Courtesy of Pryes Taproom
Since founding Minneapolis’ Pryes Brewing Company in 2012, brewer Jeremy Pryes has longed for a place to test and improve new beers before serving them. So, he decided it was time to construct a new establishment in the North Loop—Pryes Taproom, open as of this month. Featuring some exclusive, limited-time-only, small-batch beers, the new taproom also serves cuisine from local restaurants, with guest chefs dishing out food from their kitchens and Pryes staff members serving it to guests. I got a chance to check out the limited-edition beer, flavorful food, and laid-back ambiance.
On the private preview night, people gathered around tables on the Pryes patio facing the Mississippi River, eating and drinking under warm, yellow lights strung through the air. The bar and tables immediately caught my eye for their warm, smooth stripes of dark-brown and beige wood, reminding me of something I’d dreamed of making in high school wood shop. The high ceilings and the retracted, garage-style door leading to the patio let airflow in from the outdoors (maybe a little too much, considering bugs flew into my beer three times). I opted for their lightest, easiest-to-drink beer, which was a small-batch blonde with lemon and peppercorn flavors—fresh and smooth. This was one of six beers offered that evening. There were two year-round beers and four taproom exclusives: the blonde that I drank, two IPAs, and one stout.
The night’s guest chefs came from Red Wagon Pizza Company with three kinds of pizza, plus wings and chips. I put in an order for a 10-inch with thin crust. The ingredients—soppressata, fig balsamic, sriracha-glazed chicken—put this pie far above Papa John’s, but it wasn’t so fancy that I needed a cloth napkin on my lap. It was nice, but not too much—an idea that defines the taproom. The decorative light fixtures and pristine woodworked elements make the space feel elegant, but as I looked around the room, it was just a bunch of people kicked back and eating wings with friends.
That easy ambiance accommodated a diverse crowd that night. Some people dressed business casual, as if they had just come from work downtown, while others still wore construction uniforms, hats on, tanned arms showing. Some brought their children along. A taproom seems like an odd place to have children running around, but luckily, the little ones were entertained with a strange game in the back. The game is called feather bowling, and it takes up the majority of the length of the back wall. It looks like a combination of shuffleboard and curling on a putting green. According to the Pryes staff, the taproom is one of only three locations in the United States to offer the game.
On my way out, I received a Pryes Brewing Company beer glass and two free drink tokens for my next visit. Sure, the free drinks are enough to convince me to go back, but I would’ve gone back anyway for the beautiful décor and casual atmosphere.