Local Current Blog

Tunes in Twin Cities taprooms: Local beermakers make music part of the mix

courtesy Harriet Brewing

Celebration calls for beer and music—or at least Harriet Brewing thinks so. To commemorate the brewery’s third year in business, the company is hosting the Harriet Brewing 3rd Anniversary Extravaganza on January 31.

The celebration serendipitously coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Cedar Cultural Center, where the event will take place. “The Cedar’s 25th Anniversary Beer called ‘Juhla Brü’ needed a release date,” said Jesse Brodd of Harriet Brewing. “So we thought, why not release their special beer and celebrate on the same night?”

Bluegrass bands Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Sans Souci Quartet, i like you, and the Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins will provide entertainment for the night; a variety of Harriet’s beers will be served on tap.

Harriet Brewing hosts live music in its taproom through a mix of regular weekly local artists, such as the Dead Pigeons and Jim Walsh’s Mad Ripple Hootenanny. A number of Twin Cities breweries also support local music by hosting performances in their taprooms and in the community.

Last year Art-A-Whirl, an annual event sponsored by the Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association, saw participation from 612Brew, which hosted a two-day party featuring mostly local hip-hop artists such as Kristoff Krane, as well as involvement from Indeed Brewing, who hosted a more folk-centric lineup.

Lift Bridge Brewing Company, in Stillwater, has also embraced the live taproom experience. “It’s all about beer and what the craft beer lifestyle is. People coming into the taproom want to chill out and enjoy a beer with friends,” said co-owner Brad Glynn. “Having music complements that experience.”

The Cedar was a natural partner for Harriet’s celebration, said Brodd. “We choose to work with the Cedar because of their genuine and continued support of culturally diverse live music and our community. The Cedar has always supported our brewery and currently pours our beer at most of their concerts.”

This sense of community that exists between breweries and music in the Twin Cities runs deeper than the fact that crowds like to drink at shows, however. “You can’t really run a business in isolation,” said Carey Matthews, marketing coordinator at Summit Brewing, which has sponsored Rock the Garden, the Minnesota Music Coalition, Music in the Zoo, and its own Backyard Bash. “It’s all about the community and the people and relationships. Those people support you and you have to support them.” One way Summit contributes is by donating half of the cover charge for its Backyard Bash to the Minnesota Music Coalition, amounting to approximately $42,000 for the organization over the past three years.

As Brodd put it, “We are brewing more than just beer. We are brewing a community.”

Paul Schmitt is a literature major at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota. He’s inspired by bass lines, metafiction, and lengthy mealtime conversation.