Let's Make A Big Noise: Day Block Brewing Co. in Minneapolis
The second brewery in my Thursday night Minneapolis double-header was Day Block Brewing Co., which was also located downtown, and just a few blocks away from Finnegans.
One of the reasons I agreed to book these two shows in one night is because Day Block told me they had a sound system and soundguy on staff, so on the one hand this seemed easy, as I'd just have to hop out of my car after the first gig, plug in my guitar, and I'd be off and running. On the other hand, sometimes the house system sucks, and the “sound man” is just a stoner who sits on a stool and doesn't even have a pair of working ears. So you never know what you're walking into....
Day Block Brewing Co. - Minneapolis, MN
Beers are available at the taproom (tap, growlers, crowlers), and limited distribution throughout the area.
Luckily the system and sound guy at Day Block were both awesome. Day Block's layout consists of one room that is their primary taproom and restaurant, and then a totally separate room that is for live shows (and has it's own set of taps). The music room has a full sized bar in the front of the room that runs along one side, seating and tables, and open area in front of the stage, and a proper stage that is raised maybe 3 feet off the floor, has a big red curtain, and stage lighting. The sound system was great and capable of handling a full band, so for little 'ol me playing solo/acoustic it was awesome... nice big aerials, two huge monitors (one on each side of me, running in stereo), and sizable subs... so my sound was big and rich just plugging in, and then the sound guy (sorry, forgot your name!) dialed the EQ in beautifully. My go-to guitar is a high end Taylor (710ce, about 20 years old) and sounds unusually great plugged in, right out of the case, but with a system like this and a quality EQ that thing was really singing sweetly on this night. So half the battle was already won!
My first beer of the night (or, make accurately, my first beer of the second show) was the POG Slammer (8%) fruited wheat. Bright orange with a foamy white head, this is a great summer beer, with orange, pink guava, and passion fruit jazzing up a nice crisp wheat of lighter body. Heavy with tropical fruity goodness without being too sweet or sappy, POG is a thirst quenching refreshing brew, perfect for when you're coming in from the hot sun.
Next up was the Citra Favorite (5.3%) pale ale, obviously powered primarily by Citra hops, and their trademark floral/fruity overtones. A fairly crisp, golden pour with a light head and inviting aroma, again accenting the floral and fruit tones that the Citra is known for. The citra is also helped by Cascade hops, and then dry hopped during fermenting with more Citra. Medium to light body with a crisp delivery and a fairly clean back end, it's a well balanced, nicely hoppy American IPA for those who like a hoppy beer, but not a ridiculously hoppy taste.
The Leonard Day (7.5%) midwest IPA goes well with the Citra Favorite. Again a fairly heavily hopped IPA, this time locally sourced with ingredients from within the Midwest. The hue was a little darker than the Citra, and while the hops brought out the floral and fruity tones, there was also elements of spice and pine, which made it stand out more from the others, but not so dramatically that you wouldnt want to switch from one to the other.
The staff and crowd at Day Block were very friendly and engaging, and enthusiastic about the music, which is always nice. As you can see on their website and the photo below, the brewery had a nice selection that I didn't have the time to make all the way through, but I'd love to check out the others, as everything I sampled as very good. The kitchen smelled good, but I didn't get to try anything.... but the pizzas looked fantastic, and the sandwich menu was very interesting (lamb melt, Korean beef sandwich, etc.) and would draw me in if I had time.
If you're in Minneapolis and looking for a brewery I'd definitely put Day Block on the short list. On this leg of the tour I hit three breweries in Minneapolis (Day Break, Finnegans, and the Broken Clock co-op), and they were each completely different, and all three serving up great beers. You could hit all three in one day and have a very cool variety of beers, foods, and settings.
From here I head back to Wisconsin, for a stop in Racine, and the Oshkosh....