Rock Bottom has been a fixture in Downtown Minneapolis for many years, and has spawned several great brewers over that time. The brewers from Surly started here, and even more recently Brion Tonnis, who is starting up a brewery in Duluth. Last year the brewers were Bob MacKenzie (the guy from Sherlock's Home, not from Strange Brew...) and Peter Mack, both have since moved on. I don't know much about the new brewer Piotrowski yet, but based on this most recent sampling of beers, I think he knows what he's doing. I do know that he was sent out from Colorado, where he brewed at another RB. Over the years and brewers the beers have certainly changed...for instance Erik the Red Ale was changed to a Vienna lager.
The food here is always good, with slightly upscale pub feel. Service is usually good too, and most servers actually know about the beers they serve. It is always funny to overhear newbies in the booth next to you asking servers, "Don't you have any regular beers here?" In the past they usually have had a Christmas beer dinner, and I hope they continue.
The aforementioned Peter took our brew club on a tour of the brewery last year, and gave us a lot of insight into how the process worked. That was a fun time! I hope the new brewer embraces the local beer geek and homebrew communities.
|It kills me to see this as a display and not filled with beer in my basement|
|Growlers filled from taps so drink them quick!|
Since the chain was bought out by Craftworks there have been several changes, and that just might have prompted the switch in brewers. The brewery now has four basic beers they have to brew and the recipe is the same for all the sites: Red, Kolsch, Belgian Wit, and IPA. The Kolsch is actually very good, better than last time I was here. The brewer still has some lee-way in seasonals, so each site is still distinct. The Molly's Titanic Brown was very nice and nutty, but the winner of the day was the Cocoa-Motion Porter served on Nitro. Overall, I think this is a great place to stop before or after a show or a baseball game. I should get to try a RB in Seattle next week and will be able to compare the two.