Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hopkins Tavern (Hopkins, MN)


I had a bit of time between Gloria's call and One Voice's performance later in the evening on this January afternoon.  I had a plan for dinner and some work for school, but followed a billboard on Hwy 169 to a multitap called Hopkins Tavern instead.  No idea what I was going to find, but I hadn't been on a beer adventure in some time and was game for it.

From the outside, Hopkins Tavern looks like a hole in the wall, but it is a huge double sided bar on the inside.  32 taps on the billboard, but I just counted 33 online. Range is fairly good, but several in the Miller Lite and Grain Belt area.  On the other end is Surly Furious and Alaskan Black IPA.  More than good enough in a pinch.

For being on the west side, I felt like I was at home in Iowa.  I was young-ish in the bar, like sitting at the VFW in Sibley.  I passed on the meat raffle ticket without explanation--didn't think the vegetarian angle would compute.  In the back was some sort of game of chance with pieces of paper placed in numbers on a board and the wheel would determine the winner.  It seemed very popular, so I watched for a while.  Listening to the charity gambling and sports betting options for funding a Viking's stadium, this game seems to be in the ballpark of those plans.

I started with an Alaskan Black IPA, which was frothy and very good on a chilly day.  Followed that pint with an Odell's Isolation Ale.  Needing dinner before the show and not wanting one of the various fried variations of pub grub on the menu, I opted for Heggies cheese pizza.  Granted I'm sucker for cheap pizza, but I really like Heggies.  On a recent "outing" at the High Timber Lounge, I confirmed my love of Heggies pizza.  To my surprise, a cheese pizza with parmesan and red peppers blended nicely with my second Alaskan Black IPA.  The roasted malt, hops and hot peppers duked it out to a tasty draw.

Hopkins Tavern isn't going to become my new local, but I see it as proof that good beer is pushing its way into every corner of society, including the meat raffle niche.  Every beer was well served and fresh, and Hopkins Tavern is doing a fine job representing craft beer.

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