Last month, the Hennepin County Millionaires Club, a local band from Minneapolis releasing their first full-length album this September, got a chance to brew a beer made expressly for them with the assistance of local brewpub Day Block Brewing Co. Though they are far from actually being millionaires, the band got their name as a joke because most of the members grew up in the generally affluent neighborhood of Edina. Naturally, their golden ale features ingredients such as saffron—and, lavishly, flecks of real gold. According to bassist and vocalist John Becker, “You could drink it all day. It was very refreshing.”
They were the third band to have this opportunity. Day Block started the series to give musicians a chance to work with their in-house brewers, cumulating in an unveiling of the specialized beer at an evening of live music in the brewpub itself. As Day Block comes up on its year-and-a-half birthday, events like these are starting to get the brewpub noticed.
“It just made sense to me,” said Jared Blair, who came up with the idea for the event. Originally hired as a bartender, Blair quickly moved to the position of music curator when Day Block decided it wanted to create a stage dedicated to live music. “Every musician I know, someone in the band is brewing. And then all of the professional brewers I know…they all wish that they could be in a band. I was like, let’s just bridge the gap here. Let’s just get everybody together.”
Co-owner Jeff Hahn says the beer brewed has a lot to do with what the bands like to brew or drink. “I don’t know that there’s any sort of magical pairing, like a pale ale goes with indie rock,” says Hahn, but they like to have fun with it. The featured band for May was the folky, country loving Federales, so their brew was a classic up-north Minnesota beer with an extra piney flavor—thanks to handpicked spruce tips from South Minneapolis.
In addition to the “Bands that Brew” series, Day Block also features a wide range of music on Thursday through Sunday nights. Becker appreciates Day Block’s focus on live music. “They’re really putting an emphasis on having a venue,” Becker says. “I’d say 90% of the breweries around here aren’t trying to have any sort of live music thing, and so that’s pretty unique and super helpful for the community. They’re doing a really good job.”
With bands booked through the rest of the year, it looks like “Bands that Brew” will become a staple feature for the still relatively new brewpub, helping it carve out its own territory in the brewery scene. The featured band for July is the bluesy local rock band the Lone Crows. Already having brewed their beer, they’re slated to tap the beer at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 17, and play music from 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. that same night.
Mackenzie Martin is a student at Macalester College.