Monday, April 22, 2013

Dangerous Man: A Dangerous Proposition

On our recent pub and taproom crawl, our second stop of the day after Northbound Smokehouse was the recently opened Dangerous Man Brewing in Northeast Minneapolis (or Nordeast if you like.)  The brewery is in a pleasant little neighborhood and street parking is fairly easy to come by.

This taproom was hopping when we arrived at around 1:30 on Saturday afternoon.  They were close to capacity and there was an appropriately bearded man at the door keeping count of people entering and leaving to make sure they didn't break fire code.  For such a new brewery, these guys are packing the place and selling a lot of beer!  They have no food, but encourage you to order pizza or bring in some food from local vendors like Anchor Fish and Chips.  In the past I've heard of the taproom pretty much selling out of beers, but this particular day they had 4 different beers on tap, sold in short (8-10 oz), regular (16 oz) or tall (20 oz) glasses.  You had to line up at one end of the bar to get your beers since they apparently aren't supposed to serve "over shoulder."  This does keep it a bit more manageable for the servers, but waiting in line is kind of lousy and crowded.

The room itself is spacious (though full of people!) and has lots of seating at the bar and around the center and edges of the room.  They have some crazy mixed-media artwork on the walls that seem to meld freaky paintings with brass or bronze sculptures.  I think I saw a Jake Keeler fish mural in the back somewhere.  The back of the bar is a work of art in itself, combining layers of rough timbers with sheets of copper, steel and other metals.  The bar top is one huge plank of solid wood and has some serious mass to it.  We did run into a couple homeless looking guys sitting at the bar when we arrived...Oh wait that was just Dan Herman, and Tony & Drew Kutzke!  Those pesky Primary Fermenter folks just pop up everywhere.

It was hard to get close enough to the bar to get a good pic...

Branding is important in a business of any kind, but especially in breweries nowadays, as you need something to set you aside from all the others.  Dangerous Man has a great logo, a good style and a unique attitude that really does make it stand out.  Not since Surly has a local beer brand hit so hard and fast.  Their shirts were selling like hot-cakes and I was sad that they were out of the logo tulip glasses.  And yes, Sj and I both bought shirts.  Pretty sure that just about everyone in there did so as well.

Even the floor is branded!

I tried three of the four beers they had on tap, and all were good.  My favorite was a Coconut Milk Stout that was very well balanced with subtle coconut flavor.  The Matchbox Coffee Porter was also very good, but a hint too astringent from the roast malts.  They also let me sample their IPA which was made with Nugget and Chinook hops--not surprisingly it was pretty bitter and strongly flavored.  From what I hear, the brewery aims to keep making small and different batches, more like a brewpub typically does.  This is good if you like variety, but sad if you find one of their beers that you love and may never see again!  Overall I found their beers to be the most solid of all the new taprooms we visited on this particular day, however my favorite beer of the day was Town Hall's Coconut Chocolate Porter.  That beer was nigh perfection.

So the upshot here is that Dangerous Man is an immediate success in terms of popularity and style, and back that up with well crafted and interesting beers.  The taproom is unique and bustling, well worth a trip out there.  Make sure to plan an afternoon around it and visit nearby 612 Brew and Indeed as well since all are nearly walking distance from each other.  I wish I lived closer to The Cities!

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