Hammerheart Brewing Company’s Tap Room
A perk that comes with traveling for work is that ability to expand upon the breweries that you tend to visit. Getting out of your bubble, your comfort zone, can be difficult when you are home. During my trip to Wyoming, Minnesota I was able to experience the wonderful Hammerheart Brewing Company‘s Tap Room. Their tap room is located in Lino Park, Minnesota. From the outside you maybe deceived and confused. As I rolled into the gravel parking lot the first half of the building is decorated in a sort of log cabin like decor while the back half of the building looks like a warehouse.
As you walk through the door the Scandinavian influence is very apparent, starting with the antler for a door handle. There is a really cool vibe with this tap room, it makes me feel like I just came back from a hunt and now I am enjoying a celebratory beer. The tap room is dimly lit from the antler chandeliers hanging throughout the bar area. After grabbing my first beer, Attebeint Hest an American IPA, I find my way to barrel table. They roughly have 5 barrel tables throughout the bar along with seats at the bar and a large communal table off to the left of the bar.
Above the bar is an old Nordic shield as well as swords and axes hanging all around the room adding to the Scandinavian feel of the tap room. Behind the bar is a glass wall that allows you to look directly down the hall to where the brewing magic happens. The left side of the hallway is lined with barrels that they are using the age the next batches of their barrel aged beer. At the end of the hallway you can see the brewing equipment. I asked the bartender if they give tours, but unfortunately they do not give tours. From what the bartender tells me, it really is only what you can see from the bar.
The tap room rules are posted on one of the three chalkboards hanging to the left of the bar. They are very simple rules to follow.
- Racism, sexism, homophobia & violence are NOT welcome here
- Tip your server please
- We reserve the right to refuse beer to those we deem intoxicated
- Please clean up after yourself
Hammerheart breaks down their growler and 750mL pricing on the second chalkboard into four tiers. The third board lists the 11 different beers they have on tap and the growler tier they fall under. Along with pricing for tasting flights of 4 beers.
As I order my second beer, Flanary’s Brew an Oatmeal Stout, I am able to grab a seat at the bar. Their bar is about 9 feet long and is all hard wood. My bartender for the night is Andrew and I am joined by two other gentleman. One of them is enjoying a flight while the other is enjoying a draft pour of Hammerheart’s Dublin Raid, which is Bourbon Barrel Aged. As he gets his beer he brings up the topic how how Bourbon Barrel Aged beers are becoming so popular. There are three things that can keep a person coming back to a tap room,the beer, the atmosphere and the conversation. I was already digging the Nordic log like atmosphere and their beer and now I was able to enjoy some conversation.
The craft beer community is an inviting community. While we discussed the bourbon barrel craze we wondered what the next craze would be. In my opinion the next craze is sour beers. You can already see the trend starting to pivot. As the topic died down we moved onto pop culture and the news that was just announced earlier that week, Super Trooper 2 was coming and in the process of crowd funding. Finally the conversation went on the topic of Kevin Smith and the announcement of Mallrat’s 2. I learned something that day, Mallrats was filmed in Minnesota. We were speculating that Mallrats 2 could and should be filmed in the Mall of America? That would be excellent and by the sounds of it, all of the cast members from the original will be reprising their rolls. Anyway, back to Hammerheart Tap Room.
For my final beer I ordered the Dublin Reid Bourbon Barrel Aged English Brown Ale on the recommendation of my bar mates. While enjoying the Dublin Reid I discuss with Andrew the history of Hammerheart Brewing Company. Hammerheart’s story starts with two brother-in-laws, Nathaniel and Austin, a couple of home brewers. As luck would have it, on a previous trip to Norway, Austin came in contact with his favorite Brewery, HaandBryggeriet, and he now had an opportunity to internship for some months in Norway working beside Andreas Riis at Haand. Upon Austin’s return from his internship in Norway he packed up his things and moved from Kentucky to Minnesota and he and Nathaniel started Hammerheart Brewing Company. After two years on planning and construction, the brewery opened in late summer 2013.
Though this brewery doesn’t serve food they do have food trucks park outside on Fridays and Saturday. This is something that I am learning is a big thing here in Minnesota; It is hard to find breweries that serve food in their tap rooms. Andrew explained that there is a law in Minnesota that doesn’t allow most breweries to serve food, in order to keep competition down for the restaurants.
Overall, Hammerheart Brewing Company has an excellent tap room. The atmosphere is very warm and inviting and the beer is top notch. Leaving Hammerheart I felt like I could go pillage a village. If your travels bring you near the twin cities I suggest you make the pilgrimage up to Lino Lakes to visit Hammerheart Brewing Company’s Tap Room.