Minnesota craft beer with a Latin influence.” This is the main point that Sergio Manancero arrives at as we discuss the genesis of La Doña Cervecería, the latest taproom to open its doors in Minneapolis’ Harrison neighborhood.
The fusion of Manancero’s heritage and Minnesota’s craft beer scene extends beyond the beer filling the glasses at La Doña and goes into every element of this exciting new space. A fenced-in, three-on-three turf soccer field occupies the outdoor patio. There’s an art gallery adjacent to a large, multi-use space that hosts a variety of events including Latin night every Saturday. Vibrant murals cover every inch of wall space that allows for it. And then there are the three big-screen TVs, which, without intruding on the space dedicated to art, allow patrons to watch games and matches of myriad sports, including both varieties of football.
“When I realized nobody was doing Latin craft beer in the Minneapolis market, I thought it would be an interesting way to pay homage to my parents, who are from Uruguay,” Manancero says. “And also reconcile my Minnesotan background through craft beer and combine the two together to do something that was new and different.”
Manancero established his operation under the name Doña Chela in 2016 and began contract brewing through Sand Creek Brewing in Black River Falls, Wisconsin. Doña Chela sold more than 100 barrels of a recipe Manancero and a friend had created together as homebrewers. But Manancero wanted a space of his own.
“The whole time we were looking for a space we just couldn’t find anything,” Manancero says. “We finally signed a lease here in January of this year, started construction in April, and started brewing in August. We finally got the doors open and we’re kind of ripping right now.”
“Kind of ripping” is a bit of an understatement. Less than a month after opening its doors (still far ahead of its grand opening on October 20), La Doña already boasts a robust schedule of events. The aforementioned Latin Night begins with dance lessons at 9pm on Saturdays. A DJ takes over at 9:30pm and spins until 1am. More than 200 people were in attendance on a recent Saturday. The brewery will also host the Calaveras Fest Latinx Music Festival on October 13, starting at 5:30pm.
The chilly October nights haven’t stopped the soccer fields from being used or multiple leagues’ seasons (one competitive and one casual) from continuing. Add to all that affordable yoga on Tuesday nights at 6pm ($10 buys an hour on the mat and a pint at the bar), and, in just its first month, La Doña has firmly established itself as a go-to place for casual events and to celebrate Latino culture.
None of that would be as impactful without good beer to back it up. Fortunately, La Doña has that, too. “We have Dicky Lopez as our head brewer who came from Fulton to work with us,” Manancero says. Beer drinkers might also be familiar with Dicky’s work as NorthGate Brewing’s head brewer. “We’re really happy with him, and the beer that he’s making is very good.”
Customers can enjoy multiple kinds of IPAs, a session IPA, and Bromista pale ale (“bromista” means “joker” in English), which are all currently on tap. More beers are planned for the grand opening, including a brown ale, a coffee brown ale, a lager “that’s not quite the lager we used to make—it’s a little more boozy,” and two lager infusions: one with serrano peppers and one with mango.
In addition to the new beers, the grand opening will also feature a soccer tournament, Que Tal Street Eats (who are at the brewery every Friday and Saturday), and the big reveal of a four-foot-tall Doña sculpture by local artist Kordula Coleman.
Brewer: Dicky Lopez
Beers: Lite PA (session IPA), Bromista (pale ale), El Rey (IPA), Sueños (brown ale), Sueños de Cafe (Mexican coffee brown ale)
Address: 241 Fremont Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN 55405
Hours: Sunday: 11am–11pm; Monday–Thursday: 3pm–11pm; Friday–Saturday: 11am–1am
Grand Opening: October 20, 2018