Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Northern Ale Guide, Stop 7 - LynLake Brewery

Stamp Number 7: LynLake Brewery, 2934 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis

Uptown has always been one of the busiest places to visit in Minneapolis. Taprooms are the trendy place to go for an afternoon or evening out. So it's no surprise there's a taproom in Uptown. Also, because it's Uptown, the taproom isn't in an abandoned warehouse like so many others are, but rather in a historic theater.

The marque in front of LynLake, advertising that the building
is not, in fact, a movie theater. Blatantly stolen from their
website via screencap.
The taproom in question is called LynLake, named because it's located at the intersection of Lyndale and Lake in the heart of Uptown. It's located in the former Lyndale Theater. I don't know anything about the Lyndale Theater, except that it's NOT the Uptown Theater (where I saw an advance screening of The Blair Witch Project before people started realizing it wasn't actually a documentary) or the Lagoon Theater (where Nicci and I randomly saw Juno one summer night in the early days of our relationship).

Here's the thing about LynLake: I don't think we gave it a fair shake. They advertise an amazing-looking rooftop patio ... but the patio was closed for winter. They're located in a very cool old theater ... but we made no attempt to tour it. They're in an always-hopping neighborhood ... but we didn't make any other stops in the area.

Part of that was circumstances. We had our kids with us, and Uptown isn't a neighborhood for kids. The only spots available were at the bar at the window, which gave us great views, but wasn't ideal for the kids since they had to sit in tall chairs. And our son accidentally knocked a glass over and it shattered, which really killed the mood for us.

Another problem with LynLake was that it was our second taproom of the day, after we first visited the newly opened Utepils a few miles away. And Utepils might just be our favorite taproom.

There's no exaggeration here; I asked Nicci if she wanted to say anything about Utepils, and her response was "14 heart-eyed emojis." (She didn't text me a bunch of emoji; she actually said the words "14 heart-eyed emojis.")

Utepils is Norwegian for "cold beer," but they specialize in all the German-style flavors you could ask for. We tried a pilsner, an altbier, a hefeweisen, and k├Âlsch, and all of them were great. The interior of the place was designed to look like a German beer garden, and they nailed it; large windows make it seem like you're sitting outside even if you're not. There's also a large outdoor space that will eventually become a beer garden.

A view of the Utepils taproom, blatantly stolen via screencap from their website.
I didn't bother trying to remove the words.
We're going to go back to Utepils, probably multiple times if Nicci has any say over the matter. The kids were fine there, but we were lucky to grab a low table. Many of the tables were higher up, and I wouldn't want to have them sitting there, as I'd spend more time making sure they don't fall out of their chair or pull a "LynLake" rather than actually enjoying myself. But as far as a combination of good beer and good atmosphere, it'll be hard to beat Utepils.

As far as going back to LynLake, I'd like to go back in the summer time to get a better feel for the building and the area. But then again, I kind of hate Uptown, so it might be awhile before we end up back there.


So the next taproom I'm going to write about is ... to be determined. I've caught up to all the ones we've seen so far. We're going to at least one more this weekend, so I'll have something to write about next week. In the meantime, I'll either write about ones that we've been to in the past, or I'll do nothing. We'll see what choice wins.

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