The Mill: Bent Paddle building new taproom and pilot brewery

Rendering of Bent Paddle's new taproom // Photo courtesy of Bent Paddle Brewing Company

Rendering of Bent Paddle’s new taproom // Photo courtesy of Bent Paddle Brewing Company

Bent Paddle Brewing is relocating its taproom to a larger space in a historic building right across the street from its current production brewery. The move will result in an expansion both for the taproom and for production, with the addition of a seven-barrel pilot brewing system for more experimental small-batch brews. There will also be more space for events, a fireplace lounge, a small performance area, a pet-friendly patio, and space to showcase work by local artisans.

“When you visit our new taproom we want you to feel at home—we often refer to it as our ‘living room,’” says taproom manager Pepin Young. “The space itself will have distinct areas that offer our guests different levels of experience that we hope highlight all those different situations where you may enjoy our beer in everyday life or simply to come in and shake off the trail.”

Much of the wood being used for the build is being salvaged from the infamous Fourth Street construction project. “The bar is a place where people have traditionally gathered to have lively and passionate discussions about things they agree or disagree about,” says Karen Tonnis, Bent Paddle co-founder. “There were a lot of mixed emotions with that particular project and rather than see those beautiful trees get sold off for firewood, we jumped at a recent opportunity to give them new life as a repurposed surface that can support many more lively discussions to come.”

The old taproom will close as soon as the new one is up and running, with an official opening date to be determined early 2018. “In the end, we hope to have a gathering space for our local and greater community to grab a pint, enjoy our brand in our “living room” and relive that experience every time they enjoy one of our beers no matter where they are,” says Joseph “Hutch” Hutchence, Bent Paddle taproom lead.


A rendering of the First Draft Taproom & Kitchen location in North Loop Minneapolis // Photo courtesy First Draft Taproom & Kitchen Facebook

A rendering of the First Draft Taproom & Kitchen location in North Loop Minneapolis // Photo courtesy First Draft Taproom & Kitchen Facebook

First Draft Taproom and Kitchen will completely eliminate the pesky interference of human bartenders with a self-serve bar when it opens in the North Loop in Spring 2018. Using technology engineered by a company called iPourIt, patrons will be charged by the ounce using cards given out upon arrival. There will be 54 taps to choose from, making it the biggest self-service bar in the state, followed by Union 32 Craft House in Eagan in Farm + Vine in Minnetonka.

Tickets are now on sale for three 2018 Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild festivals: Autumn Brew Review, All Pints North Summer Brew Fest, and Winterfest. The Autumn Brew Review is held on the banks of the Mississippi, and stands as one of Minnesota’s oldest and largest craft brew festivals. All Pints North, held at Duluth’s Bayfront Festival Park, will feature over 100 local and national brewers pouring unlimited samples. Winterfest at the Union Depot will feature a partnership of 20 restaurants to pair good eats with top-quality craft beer.

Grand Marais gained a new resident with the arrival of Voyageur Brewing’s new head brewer, Stuart Long. Hailing from Southern California, Long worked as a brewer and cellarman at Lost Abbey and worked under Brett Thomas at Silver Moon in Bend Oregon. Long will be tweaking Voyageur’s flagship recipes and hopes to bring consistency to the brewery.

Sam Adams Boston Lager is the new official beer of the Boston Red Sox, taking over the sponsorship from Budweiser. The multi-year agreement also means Sam Adams will take over the right field roof deck, which will be known as the “Sam Deck.”

A brewery in Brooklyn received a cease-and-desist after releasing Bïeryoncé, a Pilsner inspired  the queen herself, Beyoncé. Lineup Brewing’s owner Katarina Martinez told Pitchfork, “We’re disappointed she didn’t take it as a compliment, but oh well. It was fun while it lasted!”

Surly Brewing and Surly Bikes, unrelated brands yet complementary by nature, have finally come together for a collaboration. The two Surlys are teaming up for Surly Masher, a celebration of winter biking and beer that will benefit South Minneapolis’ Full Cycle, a nonprofit bike shop that supports homeless youth.

In yet another upsetting development contributing to the downward spiral of Dinkytown, Espresso Royale announced that it’s closing its doors due to low sales. Since the 1980s, Espresso Royale has been a mainstay of Dinkytown, in addition to its two other Twin Cities locations (Fairview Avenue in St. Paul and Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis), which will also be closing.

Cocktail lounge Sphere Kitchen + Bar debuted in the Minneapolis skyway last month. Cocktails on the menu include mojitos, margaritas, and flavored martinis, in addition to a small food menu.

Hamm’s fans rejoice: Skinner’s Pub & Eatery in St. Paul is hosting a visit from the one and only Hamm’s bear this Thursday. The beer mascot will be there from 5pm to 7pm to pose for photos and hand out $1 cans of Hamm’s.


An architect's rendering of the Dayton's Project // Photo courtesy Gensler Architects

An architect’s rendering of the Dayton’s Project // Photo courtesy Gensler Architects

Andrew Zimmern is joining forces with the Dayton’s Project to debut the Dayton’s Food Hall & Market on Nicollet Mall, expected to open mid-2019. The market will spread across two floors of the historic 40,000-square-foot space, with a wide variety of food vendors as well as purveyors of meats and seafood, artisanal cheese, and baked goods.

Mac-Groveland’s Bottle Rocket is permanently closing its doors after less than a year in business. The restaurant’s parent group Blue Plate Restaurant Co. told the Pioneer Press that they’ve determined Bottle Rocket to be more suited for “fast-casual” dining, with potential for a future spot at MSP Airport.

Gluten-free bakery Sift opened in South Minneapolis on the corner of 46th Street and Bloomington Avenue. Previously the home of Sister Sludge, the celiac-friendly bakery offers a wide selection of sans–wheat flour goodies as well as Bootstrap Coffee and Young Mountain Tea, out of Oregon.

Northern Waters Restaurant, the more experimental offshoot of Duluth’s wildly popular Northern Waters Smokehaus, has announced that it’s closing its doors after less than two years in business. Regarded as one of Duluth’s must-visit restaurants, its impending closure signals a blow to the city’s food scene. Another yet-unnamed locally-operated restaurant is due to move into the space after the new year.


Andy Matson and Chelsy Whittington are planning to ope the boutique Hotel Pikku in Duluth, MN // Photo courtesy of PerfectDuluth

Andy Matson and Chelsy Whittington are planning to open the boutique Hotel Pikku in Duluth, Minnesota // Photo courtesy of PerfectDuluth

A stylish boutique hotel is opening in Duluth next spring in the Lincoln Park craft district. Hotel Pikku, Finnish for “small” or “odd,” will be the first hotel of its kind in Duluth with a cozy three-suite space on the second floor of a historic building on Superior Street.

Aerospace manufacturer SpaceX announced that it’s sending barley seeds on a round-trip space mission to the six astronauts currently on the International Space Station, in part of a research project backed by Budweiser. The barley will spend a month on ISS before returning to earth to be analyzed, with the goal of understanding how they react to the micro-gravity environment in space.

Weisman Art Museum debuted its newest exhibition, a show entitled “Prince from Minneapolis.” The multi-artist exhibit features a six-panel painting of Prince shredding on his guitar and work from Rock “Cyfi” Martinez, the painter responsible for the Prince mural on the back of Sencha Tea in Uptown, the winner of this year’s Kind-of-a-Big-Deal award for Best Public Art Installation.

Twins fans celebrated far and wide yesterday as Jack Morris, St. Paul native and 1991 World Series MVP, was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame*. The decision has been frustratingly long-awaited, but Morris has offered an olive branch to the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, saying, “I want all the writers to know that I’m not mad at any of you.”

The Mill is The Growler’s regular digest of all things new and notable in the world of food, drink, and culture. Stop back weekly for restaurant news, brewery rumors, and more. Have some news you want to share? Got some gossip to dish? Drop us a line at [email protected]

*Correction: Jack Morris was not inducted, but rather elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame this week.