These days it’s almost like there is a race to see who will be the next Minnesota brewery with beer on the street. Jack Pine just opened up north. Northgate’s launch is close at hand. The prediction looks good for Bad Weather. 612 should be coming any day now.
Here in the Metro the next new kid on the block is Dangerous Man Brewing Company. After a start-and-stop journey to find a space and get approvals and a long process of construction, the husband and wife team of Rob Miller and Sarah Bonvallet will celebrate their grand opening this Friday, January 25th.
Dangerous Man Brewing almost never happened. After attending school and frequenting brewery taprooms in Montana, Rob Miller returned to Minneapolis intent on opening a taproom-only brewery. He wrote up a business plan and started scouting spaces only to learn that his idea wasn’t legal under Minnesota statute. The plan was shelved and he went into the job grind.
When the “Surly Bill” passed allowing Minnesota breweries to sell pints for on-premise consumption, he dusted off his plan and got back to work. He found a space at the corner of 13th Avenue and 2nd Street NE and started the process of getting licenses and approvals. The space was perfect. The location in the heart of the “Nordeast” nightlife district promised a steady stream of traffic. The 1920s-era bank building offered a stately yet comfortable space with massive columns rising from the floor all the way to the high ceiling. He fell in love. The only problem was that it sat directly across the street from a church. A prohibition-era city ordinance prohibited establishments that sell alcohol within 300 feet of a place of worship. It nearly derailed the project once again, but Miller was persistent. Working with the church and his city councilman he got the ordinance changed.
That’s a good thing, because the space does have a great vibe. The ambiance – which I have dubbed “industrial arts” – evokes a mix of trendy bar, early 20th-century factory, and junior high shop class. It’s a minimalist look with lots of metal and lots of wood. Shop stools line the bar and surround the high-top tables. The bar top is an impressively thick hunk of wood – a beam salvaged from an old, downtown Minneapolis building. The brewery is just visible behind the welded-metal and wood bar back. It looms in the dark like some fantastical, steam-punk contraption. The room just feels good.
The beers that I tried at Dangerous Man were a mixed bag. The two standouts for me were at opposite ends of the flavor spectrum, a rich and creamy chocolate milk stout and a light and lovely cream ale. The chocolate milk stout was hands down the best, and it is fantastic. This silky-smooth brew is moderately sweet and boasts a boatload of chocolate flavor. Roasty bitterness is light, just enough to balance the sweetness. Subtle toasted grain flavor sends it over the top. The cream ale is light and quaffable with delicate grainy sweetness and bright, orange-citrus hop flavors. The least successful beers for me were the IPA and Belgian golden strong ale. Both were under-attenuated, leaving them too sweet on my palate. The Belgian especially lacked the dry, spicy sharpness that the style demands. Because Miller plans an ever-rotating selection you can always expect something new. The beer you loved (or hated) probably won’t be there the next time you visit.
Grand opening festivities get underway at 4:00 PM on Friday, kicked off with a bagpipe serenade. Dangerous Man is located at 1300 2nd St NE in Northeast Minneapolis. If you’re hungry you can order in fish and chips from the Anchor bar across the street.