by: Jason Schober
“Another brewery opened in Minneapolis? Didn’t one just open last week?” This seems to be the sentiment around the Twin Cities as there are new breweries and brewpubs opening at an exponential rate since 2012. The latest to join the Twin Cities Craft Brewing scene is Day Block Brewing Company. Located at 1105 Washington Ave S it is going to have plenty of foot traffic from future Vikings games (stadium only two blocks away) and it is conveniently located between Downtown hipster hangout Grumpy’s and 7 Corners destination beer bars Republic and Town Hall Brewpub. The redevelopment of this area over the past 5 years (now referred to as Downtown East) offers a lot of opportunity for Day Block to be successful.
What Makes Day Block Unique?
There are two unique approaches that are very consciously showcased.
First, Day Block is a Brewpub, not just a brewery, with two distinct sides of their space. They have a taproom on the east side of the space that has more bar top and high top space for the “stop in for one” type of drinker in the neighborhood. The west side of the space is more of the dining area with low top seating for the full “going out” experience. The nice thing is, you have the opportunity to order food from their kitchen in either location. Their menu is highlighted by rotating Bacon and Pickle flights, along with some classic flavors, reinterpreted in pizza form like the Bahn Mizza and the Chimmi.
Second, they have partnered with local hop growers and malt roasters to offer locally sourced beer. Not an unusual concept, but they are pulling it to the forefront by showcasing and even naming the beers after their local varietals and hop growing partners. Hippity Hop Pale Ale has hops sourced from Hippity Hop Farms in Forest lake and the Northern Discovery IPA uses the hop varietal from its name, which is a rare breed grown in western Wisconsin.
It will be interesting to see if they can scale this locally sourced beer effort as they grow in the future.
How is the Beer?
I tried 4 of the 5 flagships, minus the Day Block Porter. (which was the consensus favorite from my group I was with. “A Porter worth drinking year round. Not heavy, with a nice dry finish.”)
Hippity Hop Pale Ale 6% ABV
This seems to be in line with a lot of American Pale Ales. It focuses on the locally sourced Cascade hops from Hippity Hop Farms in Forest Lake and Rahr malt from Shakopee. It has allows the cascade hops to come through the malt but doesn’t slap you across the face with it like a West Coast IPA would. The malt really balances it out for a middle of the road Pale Ale with only 43 IBUs. Closest to… Fulton Sweet Child o’ Vine
Northern Discovery IPA 5.5% ABV
Called a Session IPA, I believe more in the flavor/IBU sense rather than the classic sense (low ABV). This IPA has a bright, floral smell and taste without a bitter finish to make this easy to drink. The malt is tamer on this one allowing those hop notes of Northern Discovery to shine through. I am a real fan of this one, as I am normally opposed to the bitter, dry finishes of the traditional English-Style IPAs. Closest to… Founders All Day IPA
Frank’s Red Ale 5.3% ABV
I think there description says it best, “Frank’s Red is a malt forward ale with notes of toast and caramel.” This is a straight forward beer with light body and malt all the way through. Didn’t catch much hop notes in this at all, so a solid for those that don’t like hoppy bears. Closest to… New Belgium Fat Tire
Winter Witbier 5.8% ABV
Sometime you just need a good Belgian style beer to get over the cold Minnesota days. This is a classic Wit Bier (Belgian White) and I applaud them for trying a Belgian as part of their initial release. Many breweries stick with their flagships and one yeast strain before trying other varieties. This will be approachable from all types of beer drinkers. Closest to… Bell’s Winter White
Overall, this is a solid group of beer to launch. While none of them knock my socks off, I can tell there was some thought put into these beers and how they came to market in Day Block’s debut. For more information on Hours, Menu and Beer, checkout their website www.dayblockbrewing.com
In other Beer News:
- Boom Island is re-opening with a new Taproom this weekend. They specialize in Belgian Style beers and are located in NE MPLS.
- Tonight is the Minnesota Craft Brewer’s Guild Winterfest at Union Depot in St. Paul. A great lineup of brewers but unfortunately Soldout.
- Fulton is releasing their Coffee infused Imperial Stout, War & Peace, on Saturday at their Taproom
- Oskar Blues is being released in the MN market for the first time starting next week Monday. I will be attending an event at The Groveland Tap on Tuesday.
- Other events: Firkin Fest at The Happy Gnome on March 22nd and Northern Lights Rare Beer Fest at MN Historical Society in St Paul on March 29th