Harriet Brewing

August 15, 2016

Hoping once again to use our Northern Ale Guide and an expired Groupon we joined up with our friends Mitch and Megan to make a trip into Minneapolis for yet another weeknight brewery trip. This time we were headed to Harriet Brewing which is located in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis.

Our last visit to Harriet Brewing was a couple of years prior for a food truck event. We were able to try to the beer but because it was so busy we weren’t able to get inside the taproom at. At that very same event we would try a food truck that we would later have cater our wedding: Cafe Racer. Since it wasn’t clear whether they would have a food truck serving the night we were visiting we decided to make the short trip over to Cafe Racer’s newly opened restaurant. If you’ve never had their food I would recommend seeking them out and if you need a food recommendation then the pulled chicken with arepa is divine.

After the excellent dinner we headed to the taproom and arrived just in time for the band to be taking the stage. My first impressions were that this brewery would be unlike any other I’d visited. Where most breweries lean towards clean and industrial Harriet Brewing takes the complete opposite approach. Their taproom feels more like someone’s basement. This is by no means a criticism. Art hangs on each wall and stickers are plastered to any surface where they’ll stick. Above the door there is a stuffed mountain lion with a man’s arm in its mouth! After a night in their taproom I can confidently say that no other brewery has embraced the arts and music scene quite like Harriet Brewing.

While taking in the unique taproom experience we looked for a spot on their patio but ultimately grabbed a table in front of their stage. As Trench Size Trio were tuning up their instruments we went over and ordered our first pint. We must have had poor timing as there were only three beers available on tap. This is one disadvantage of visiting during the week as sometimes you can be in between batches.

As I remembered, Harriet focuses mostly on Belgians and each beer that night was of that style. It’s not one of my favorites but I was optimistic as I brought the West Side IPA back to our table. The sunset filling the tulip glass with a brilliant amber glow was followed by the taste of an excellent beer. The normal sweetness of the style was counteracted extremely well by the addition of hops. Great balance! This is their flagship beer for a reason.

Having finished our first beer we migrated outside under the tent. It was a little quieter which was much better for conversation. It seemed like the music was getting louder with each song. Maybe I’m just getting old! My second and final beer was their Divine Oculust. This is a Belgian-style Golden Strong Ale. At 8.3% I was expecting something a little more boozy but while it was super sweet the alcohol notes didn’t overpower the flavor. It had a relatively medium body yet there was still some syrupy sweetness combined with a melon/banana fruity flavor and floral aroma.

Reflecting on our visit I would say that the brewery I was reminded most of was Thirsty Pagan Brewing. It’s got the same hippy vibe and hole in the wall music venue feel. This one just one just happens to be much closer to home. Their website posts events but doesn’t list any food trucks. There was a truck available on the night we visited but we had grabbed dinner beforehand because we were unsure. If you’re growing tired of the same old brewery and taproom vibe across the metro area then Harriet Brewing might be the shot in the arm you need. Between the graffiti in the parking lot, the extensive vinyl collection, quirky lights, haphazard seating, and sticker craziness, it’s the most unique taproom I’ve visited. It’s not for everyone but it’s definitely worth a visit.

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