The Twin Cities area has four exciting new venues to taste beer, wine and spirits. Try one or hit them all this weekend.
Dampfwerk Cocktail Lounge
Dampfwerk Distilling, the German-style spirit-maker, has a new cocktail room as hot as the burn of a pear brandy drunk neat. Black walls surround a massive, black counter, with notches that hold and display the brand’s ornate bottles. Inside them are the fruit brandies, barrel-aged gin, aquavit and herbal liqueurs the Loeffelholz family is introducing to American sippers. If beer and brats is all you know about German drinking culture, think again.
“We have unique spirits,” said Mary Loeffelholz. “We need to have a space to showcase our products.”
What to drink: Flights introduce new palates to Dampfwerk Distilling’s spirits. Daughter Bridgit designed the menu of signature cocktails and half-size aperitifs and digestifs. Sample her two takes on the classic Manhattan by way of Germany’s two sides during the Cold War. Port Apple Brandy and Pear-Mut are matched with olive and lemon to represent the East; cherry juice and bitters represent the West. Now open.
What to eat: France 44 supplies a cheese board, and eventually, salumis, too. On Sundays, come for Kaffeeklatsch (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Instead of cocktails, sip on Dogwood coffee and German-inspired pastries from Honey & Rye Bakehouse.
6311 Cambridge St., St. Louis Park, 612-460-8190, thedampfwerk.com
For Minneapolis’s first bar focusing entirely on natural wine, a long vacant historic building on the North Side (next to a notorious topless bar) has gotten a sleek remake. The location is something of an homage to the bars where co-owner Dan Rice first fell in love with natural wine in New York City. “Natural wine bars are usually in up-and-coming neighborhoods,” he said. Lower rent, for one thing, helps them break the mold.
“It allows you to serve wine in a much less pretentious format” than people might expect of a wine bar, he said. Small pours here also give inquisitive customers a chance to sample more of the unfiltered, low-intervention wine, which can be cloudy, tangy, even orange. Opens Friday, Nov. 15.
What to drink: A four-page bottle list curated by Rice and Jill Mott runs from the high $40s on up. If you’re willing to share a bottle with friends in a porrón, a long-necked pitcher that pours wine directly into your mouth without needing to touch your lips to the spout, you get 5% off. Otherwise, work your way through the glass list (with your server’s guidance). There are bubbles, reds, whites, vermouth, as well as cider and beer. Occasional meet-the-winemaker events will make the trending natural wine movement even more accessible to new drinkers. If you find something you love, many of the bottles are available at Henry and Son wine shop.
What to eat: A Spanish-inflected menu from chef and co-owner Nick Anderson provides several shareable plates (think patatas bravas and Spanish tortilla) and a few entrees, like a seaside-evoking Catalan ramen with lump crab. Look for a future late-night happy hour menu of even smaller bites.
1914 N. Washington Av., Mpls., barbravamn.com
Open Tues. -Sun.
One Fermentary & Taproom
The North Loop takes another step toward all-out craft beer districthood with the opening of One Fermentary & Taproom. The brewpub is the brainchild of Sally Schmidt, a taproom enthusiast; Joe Alton, a founder of the Beer Dabbler and former editor-in-chief of the Growler magazine; and brewer Ramsey Louder. Both the name and the concept are meant to invite communities that historically have not felt at home in craft beer culture.
“The community that got built up around craft beer wasn’t quite reflective of my friend group ... and it became kind of homogenized, and a little one-note in terms of guys who looked a lot like me and were about my age and had a similar amount of facial hair,” Alton said.
He recruited Louder from Grand Rapids, Mich., to join the team. Louder is one of the few African Americans working in beer in Minnesota. “I’ve managed my way to where I am despite the fact that there’s very little diversity,” Louder said. At ONE, inclusion is “in our DNA everyday.”
All manner of beverages will be offered for those who don’t do beer, and the space is meant to be “a little fancier, a little warmer, a place where people can sit all day and be comfortable,” Schmidt said. That includes table service and finishes like a fireplace built out of pavers from nearby N. 3rd St., and Hennepin Made lighting.
What to drink: Collaborations with other Minnesota breweries, as well as Louder’s house beers, such as Pilsener, amber ale, pale ale and hazy IPA. Don’t miss the cognac barrel-aged imperial ale. Though not made in house, there’s also kombucha, coffee, wine, and draft cocktails from Tattersall.
“If an old person comes in here and they know that they want white wine,” Alton said, “who are we to say, you should really try our sour beer?”
What to eat: “Noshy-type foods” by way of the kitchen at chef Alex Roberts’ Cafe Alma and assembled on site. The charcuterie, antipasti, salads and sandwiches all have a fermented element: yeast breads, pickles, kimchi, smoked whitefish.
618 N. 5th St., Mpls., fermentary.one
Forgotten Star Brewing Co.
Located in a former naval cannon factory, Forgotten Star Brewing Co. brings craft beer to a forgotten corridor north of the city. It’s Fridley’s first brewery, and it’s embracing its location’s past and present.
The name refers to the stars on the building’s preserved brick smokestacks, which represent production awards the factory earned from the U.S. military during World War II. Those stacks come all the way down into the soaring, exposed-brick taproom, where they bookend brewer and co-owner Matt Asay’s equipment. They also loom over the rest of the industrial park, whose other tenants are expected to become the brewery’s regulars. But destination drinkers ought to make the trek, too; an unobstructed view of downtown Minneapolis skyline shows how close it really is.
“Everyone’s jacked up” about the history of the site, said co-owner Andy Risvold. Opens Sat., Nov. 16.
What to drink: Asay’s “approachable” and “true-to-style” beers, which include a light cream ale made with all Minnesota-grown ingredients, amber ale, West Coast IPA and porter. “You’re not going to see a lot of sugar-bomb, fruit purée beers,” Asay said. “We want beers that are more about the people than something to take a photo of for Instagram.”
What to eat: Rotating food trucks park outside. Otherwise, order delivery.
38 Northern Stacks Dr., Fridley, forgottenstarbrewing.com