Visiting Harriet Brewing Company’s Taproom

Tuned In Brewed In rocks live music and fresh beer at Harriet Brewing Co.’s Taproom.

By Brian Kaufenberg

One of the chief joys of craft beer is the mental space it affords a person as they sip their favorite pint.

Craft beer allows its drinkers to slow down, soak in their surroundings and contemplate not just the flavors and aromas of the beer, but the sights, sounds and company around them. The time between the first sip and that last sudsy drop is a short vacation allowing whatever the heart desires, or at least those things than can be done with a beer in hand.

Harriet Brewing Co. in Minneapolis wove this sensory experience into the very fabric of the brewery, filling their taproom guests’ time with local art, live music, and fresh beer on tap. My first visit to the Harriet Brewing Co. taproom was like going to a house party rather than a brewery, with founder Jason Sowards acting the part of gracious host, moving couches to accommodate the steady flow of people showing up to the door.

Photo by Davin Haukebo-Bol / Harriet Brewing Co.

With music filling the air and a pint in hand, I walked through their collection of paintings by resident artist Jesse Brodd, which double as Harriet Brewing’s beer labels, and I thought to myself, “This is a craft experience.” The atmosphere created by the bold colors and inventive sounds of the jazz band echoed the avant-garde, bohemian feel of the brewery and its brewing team. If you have yet to make it down to the Harriet taproom, be sure to put it on your list of New Year Resolutions and join the party.

Here are a few acts playing at Harriet Brewing in the next two months:

February 7 – Jazz Night with Zacc Harris Group

Zacc Harris, a dynamic jazz guitarist who plays in Atlantis Quartet, Vital Organ, and Monk in Motion, will be bringing his brand of bebop to the stage with The Zacc Harris Group. Pianist Bryan Nichols, bassist Chris Bates, drummer JT Bates, and saxophonist Brandon Wozniak round out the jazz group that melds the richness and soul of Miles Davis and the furious inventiveness of Charlie Parker to create a modern sound that brings new life to the Twin Cities jazz scene.

Ask for a West Side IPA, Harriet Brewing’s bold flagship blending Belgian and American brewing traditions that push the boundaries of styles, to pair with Zach Harris Group’s imaginative music.

February 9 – Bernie King and The Guilty Pleasures

Bernie King’s hound-dog howling rings out atop the twang of guitar, scratch of washboard, steady strum of upright bass and plucking of mandolin, as he bends each note to shape his band’s purely Americana sound. Songs ranging from folk tales to swinging blues licks to back porch bluegrass ditties possess true country charm, paying homage to the American music tradition and successfully avoiding sounding like a tired cliché.

An Elevator Dopplebock is a great pairing with Bernie King and the Guilty Pleasures, with its rich body and enjoyable bite of alcohol. Put simply, Harriet Brewing’s description of Elevator doubles for Bernie King and the Guilty Pleasures’ country sound: “hearty, yet clean and complex.” (

March 22 – i like you.

They say never judge a book by its cover and for i like you. this adage holds true. Part ska, part gypsy jazz, part sugar pop melodies, i like you. has a remarkably polished sound considering its mélange of styles and the band’s bohemian look. Lead singer, Wendy O’Sunshyne, wields her sweet voice with complete control, blending it seamlessly with the warm strings, vibrant horns, and O’Sunshyne’s playful ukulele. The band’s name is no lie as they exude a genuine feeling of the love, just like in the hearts of those 1960’s Flower Power followers.

Try the Divine Oculust, a Belgian strong golden ale named to reflect the harmonizing unification power of love that is sung by i like you. This ale is full of subtle flavors that reward an attentive drinker in the same way the band’s sound rewards an attentive listener. Be careful though, with both the band and the beer, you may end up not just liking it, but loving it.

March 29 – William Within

The term “haunting” is thrown around quite a bit these days in reference to many lead indie-rock singers’ voices. In fact, I dare say it is thrown around so much that it detracts from the potent redolence of voices like Alexander Simpson’s of William Within. With the intimacy and lo-fi quality of Peter Wolf Crier combined with the strange wavering vocals of freak-folk singer Devendra Banhart, William Within’s vaporous melodies are captivating, bordering on hypnotizing.

Harriet Brewing’s Dark Abbey is my choice for listening along to William Within, as its base of cloying malts and “rum-raisin and dried fruit flavors” complement the understated complexities of the band’s sound and Simpson’s lyrics. ( A beer with a sacred monastic brewing tradition, Dark Abbey presents itself like William Within: modest, but with moments of pure transcendence.

Be sure to check out these bands and the rest of the live music at Harriet Brewing Co.’s taproom and enjoy your own craft experience first-hand.

Harriet Brewing’s Live Music Calendar

Feb 1 – Mary Cutrufello – 9pm
Feb 2 – Lonesome Dan Kase, Matt Yetter, Bill Cagley, Silver City Millers
Feb 7 – JAZZ NIGHT – with Zacc Harris Group
Feb 8 – Charity Huot & The Summit Hill Band, Fletcher Magellan & The Great Lakes
Feb 9 – Mill City Hot Club, No Man’s String Band, Bernie King and the Guilty Pleasures
Feb 12 – Dick & Janes Big Brass Band, Brazilla
Feb 14 – Wailing Loons
Feb 15 – Matt Griswald, The Galactic Cowboy Orchestra
Feb 21 – Knots on a String
Feb 22 – Tommy Bentz Band
Feb 28 – Refrigerager
March 2 – Electric Children
March 22 – i like you.
March 29 – Diet Folk, William Within
March 30 – Matt Ray & Those Damn Horses


About Brian Kaufenberg

Brian Kaufenberg is the editor-in-chief of The Growler Magazine.

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