Minnesota on Tap

Ryan Tuenge is an avid home brewer and craft beer lover who is not afraid to spend his last $5 on a pint of beer at the local pub. As a member of the Minnesota Home Brewers Association, Ryan has tried a wide variety of beers and has toured many of the local breweries. He also has a blog about craft beer in Minnesota. He likes to read, write and travel with his wife. Follow him on Twitter @lodgefather.

Town Hall Brewery Re-Opening with Barrel Aged Week

Posted by: Ryan Tuenge under Beer, Food, beer, wine events, Beer Updated: April 13, 2014 - 2:16 PM

The doors to Town Hall Brewery opened wide on Friday, just in time for the always popular Barrel Aged Week. The newly renovated space is beautiful; complete with stained glass, updated restrooms, and cozy booths. 

One of the greatest improvements was adding an event space in back, complete with a tribute to owner Pete Rifakes' mother who passed away last year. A photo of her is displayed on the wall just below her beautiful glass-encased, handmade tapestries recognizing some of their nationally awarded brews. “She didn’t even use a machine,” said head brewer Mike Hoops. “We decided to lock them in for life.”

The brewery itself gained more space, which is especially important considering all the house beer that needs to be produced to satisfy the other two sister locations. This added space allows Hoops and the brewing team to make more seasonal beers and one-off beers as well. “I’m really excited about the new space,” said Hoops. “The seasonals are super fun, and they keep the creativity flowing.”

The additional brewing space also allows them to continue their barrel aged program, which culminates on Monday with the beginning of Barrel Aged Week. The schedule looks like this:

Monday 4/14 5 pm Release

Twisted Trace- Town Hall's Twisted Reality Barley Wine aged in Buffalo Trace Oak Barrels. Recipient of 2013 Great American Beer Fest Silver medal honors Denver, CO

Tuesday 4/15 5 pm Release

Eye Wine -Town Hall's Eye of the Storm Honey ale aged in Gambling McDuck French Oak Cab Franc Wine Barrel from Napa, CA

Wednesday  4/16 5 pm Release

Manhattan Reserve - Town Hall's Belgian style Grand Cru aged with tart red cherries and finished in Woodford Reserve Barrels

Thursday 4/17 5 pm Release

Buffalo Bock- Town Hall's Weizenbock aged in Buffalo Trace Barrels 

Friday 4/18 5 pm Release

Big #7 - Town Hall's Strong Belgian Bruin Aged in Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey Barrels

Friday 4/18 5 pm Release

Project 3106- Town Hall's Strong Belgian Aged with Belgian Chocolate, kumquat, and finished in a Buffalo Trace Barrel

Saturday 4/19 **1pm Release**  

Czar Jack- Town Hall's Jack Frost Imperial Stout aged in Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey Barrels

Saturday 4/19 **5pm Release**  

Double Barrel Aged Jack Frost- Town Hall's Jack Frost Imperial Stout aged in Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey Barrel then aged in French Oak Red Wine Barrel

Of these releases the Manhattan Reserve aged on Woodford Reserve barrels (being released on Wednesday) is one not to miss. Tart cherries stand out in this one but subtle hints of plum and spice can be detected as well.

Others that were sampled and held true to Town Hall’s reputation were the Czar Jack, aged in a Jack Daniels barrel, and Buffalo Bock, which was aged in a Buffalo Trace barrel. 

The Czar Jack had some very nice vanilla notes to go along with a hint of smoke and plenty of chocolate. Buffalo Bock was quite nice with esthery banana notes from the yeast and caramel and toffee flavors that really come through as well.

To sum up the improvements you can expect:

  • The bathrooms are much better—this was probably the most needed improvement of all!
  • The brewery gained more space and 3 new fermenters, while the overall capacity shrunk by only 9 seats. Basically, they can make more beer without losing a whole lot of space.
  • The event space in back is very intimate and is complete with a drop-down screen and projector. Fantasy Football draft or home-brew party anyone?
  • The charming fireplace remains along with the leather chairs, which now face two brand new flat screen TV’s. 
  • Comfy booths now adorn the east wall of the bar area. A good use of space here, but has the potential to get crowded at peak times.
  • Exposed wood adds character to the ceiling in back and a steely blue paint job lends to a great modern look.
  • Stained glass throughout. Is there anything more aesthetically pleasing than stained glass? The design even incorporates the clock tower and a glass of beer.
  • Two nitro tap handles. Can you imagine Mango Mama on nitro? How about Three Hour Tour? This could very well happen.
  • Ten cider tap handles were added. This bodes well for those who love and appreciate cider. There will also be 10 guest beers on tap at any given time along with 15 house beers.

Be sure to check out the new space and try out the new food menu while you are at it.

Cheers!

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