The Mill: Travail tries Barbecue, Finnegans hires a head brewer, more

Kale Thome is cooking up barbecue this month at Travail's The Rookery // Photo via The Rookery's Facebook

Kale Thome is cooking up barbecue this month at Travail’s The Rookery // Photo via The Rookery’s Facebook

July 19–July 25

With summer in swing there are so many reasons to drink and be merry. This week there are a few new places to grab drinks on the North Loop, or if you plan to stay in, you can pick up a bottle of Dampfwerk’s barreled gin at your local liquor store. There is also the tease of new restaurants to come from some familiar chefs. If waiting isn’t your thing, get on over to Travail to try some old-fashioned Minnesota barbecue (yes, that’s supposed to sound unfamiliar but hopefully not for long).

Good vibes are moving through the Cities in the realms of music and sports, too. The Minnesota Orchestra looks forward to more performances with their tenured music director, and Ben Weaver wraps up his epic album tour.

All in all we feel like singing—maybe like Justin Vernon did with the Revolution, or to be more realistic, in a Beer Choir at the State Fair in a few weeks.


Upstairs Circus opened last week // Photo via Upstairs Circus' Instagram

Upstairs Circus opened last week // Photo via Upstairs Circus’ Instagram

Last week a new bar opened on the North Loop called Upstairs Circus that brings crafts and drinks to its patrons. Guests reserve seats ahead of time and choose a project off the menu with options ranging from wearables, home goods, leather accessories, and art.

Finnegans Brew Co has officially hired the head brewer of its new downtown Minneapolis brewery and taproom. Ryan Mihm has brewed for New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Colorado, and Allagash Brewing Co of Portland, Maine, before most recently setting up shop as head brewer with Insight Brewing Co. of Minneapolis.

Minnesota craft brewers took home 15 medals at the U.S. Open Beer Championships, including four golds. Check out the list of winning Minnesota beers and put them on your taste-testing list if you haven’t already.

Indeed Brewing took home two awards at the National Honey Beer Competition put on by the National Honey Board. Mexican Honey Imperial Lager won gold in the General Lager category, while Lavender Sunflower Honey Dates won silver in the Fruit and Spiced Beer category.

A microdistillery with a German-American bent recently opened in St. Louis Park called The Dampfwerk Distillery Company. They offer an apple brandy, grape brandy, a barreled gin, bitters, and have a whiskey in the works for 2019. Schedule an in-house tour or get a taste of Dampfwerk at the Fine Spirits Classic on July 27.

An unknown, cold-resistant yeast has been retrieved from the foothills of the French Alps by researchers at the University of Manchester. The discovery could bring new opportunities to lager production.

Engineers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have developed a microcapsule that stores and allows reuse of carbon dioxide. If applied to the beer industry, brewers could become self-reliant by reusing their own emissions and potentially derive income from selling excess CO2.

Beer choir is picking up speed in Minnesota with three events in the bag and a big one planned for the Minnesota State Fair in September. Of the 17 chapters around the country, Beer Choir Twin Cities is considered the flagship due to sheer number of attendees.


The former bar area of Heartland, soon to become a casual seafood restaurant in the Market House Collaborative // Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler

ICYMI, a quadruple threat is coming to Lowertown St. Paul called Market House Collaborative. St. Paul native Tim McKee is taking over the previous Heartland Restaurant & Farm Direct Market to install a four-part food hall including a bakery, butcher shop, fish market, and seafood restaurant and bar.

A new name from a familiar source is emerging in smoked meats. Chef Kale Thome of Travail plans to open a barbecue restaurant in Minneapolis next spring to put Minnesota on the BBQ map, so to speak. You can try Thome’s bark-crusted, savory ribs during this summer’s Spotlight menu at Travail.

Chef Erick Harcey (of Victory 44, The Dirty Bird, and Upton 43) announced he’ll be opening a new restaurant in South Minneapolis as part of the development in the Capp Building near 46th and Hiawatha.

Community-focused Chowgirls Killer Catering acquired more space last summer in order to double their square footage. The renovated space will allow them to meet increased demand while staying committed to their values of conservation and sustainability.

Whiskey-driven bar and restaurant, Dalton & Wade Whiskey Common, is now open in the North Loop of Minneapolis. They boast over 200 whiskeys and are serving Americana food in a choose-your-meat-and-sides kind of way. And in case you’re wondering, yes, the movie Road House influenced their name.


At Rock the Garden this past Saturday, headliner Justin Vernon of Bon Iver joined Prince’s bandmates from The Revolution on stage to sing “Erotic City.” If you missed it, watch the video.

Osmo Vänskä has been the Minnesota Orchestra’s music director for the last 16 years, and his contract was recently renewed for an additional three. As done in the past, he will continue to conduct 12 weeks of concerts per season, as well as continue recording.

Singer-songwriter Ben Weaver is set to give a final performance on his “Sees Like a River” album tour here in Minneapolis at Creation Studio on August 3. General admission tickets are $20.

Forbes recently published a top-50 list of the world’s most valuable sports teams, ranking Minnesota Vikings at 30 with a value of $2.2 billion. The rankings included teams from NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, F1, soccer, and Nascar, however no NHL, F1, or Nascar teams made the cut.

The University of Minnesota announced that Mariucci Arena will have a new name come the opening of the 2017-18 hockey season: 3M Arena at Mariucci. Naming rights were part of the $11.2 million sponsorship deal struck between 3M, and both parties are looking forward to the partnership.

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]