Eastlake Craft Brewery, which opened in December 2014, is located inside the multicultural Midtown Global Market, where they brew “post-modern American and traditional European beers.” The brewery features an 88 seat taproom and a 48 seat patio, when seasonally appropriate.
Eastlake Craft Brewery
920 E. Lake St., #123
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Beer (Variety, Self Brew/Local, Taste)
IDK: As per their mission statement, they carry both European and American-inspired styles, and they have a pretty impressive variety. There were 11 options on tap during our visit. They offer two different flights of four pours–the “Euro” flight and the “Hoppy” flight. Half pours of most beers are also available. I went with the “Euro” flight–notes below, from most successful to least:
- Arcturan Mega Saison (3.75 out of 5): A strong saison brewed with pink lemons and ginger. Hides its almost 9% ABV very well. Had the potential to be gimmicky, but was very well-balanced and refreshing. Lemon and ginger are apparent, but not overpowering.
- Eye of the Tiger (3.5): A Vietnamese-inspired Belgian Strong Dark ale with ginger, coriander, jasmine rice, palm sugar, and coconut. I don’t think I could have picked out all of those flavor elements if I hadn’t known what they were–the coconut and ginger were evident but restrained, and I assume the palm sugar serves the purpose of the Belgian candi sugar that the style would normally include. Tasty, but I’m not sure I would have wanted more than 1.
- Laeger-Hagemeister Pale Lager (2.75): A European adjunct lager. It’s well-executed and goes well with food, but it tastes like a pretty typical adjunct (rice) lager, which is to say boring.
- Kirby Pucker #6 (2): A sour saison with pink lemons and ginger, aged on yellow birch. This was way, way too sweet and kind of tasted like a syrupy mess.
Overall beer score: 3 out of 5
DHM: I’ve been to East Lake a few different times now – mainly because it’s attached to the Midtown Global Market. Aside from some of the pun-heavy names in their beer list, I honestly can’t think of one that I remember being over the moon about. I had the “American Flight” (points again for having flights available) and there was one that I thought was better than the others. To be fair however… even after looking at the list of beers on their site, I can’t remember which one it was. I tried some of Ian’s Kirby Pucker – and I didn’t mind it as much as he hated it. It was too sweet for a sour beer, but it was still good. Edging almost cidery in it’s taste.
It did have a pretty decent selection though. If I was just out drinking I could have found one that would have sufficed for the evening. The fact that they had Flights was good. The fact that you had to choose either a European Flight or an American Flight wasn’t quite as fun. I wouldn’t have minded trying a few of the others in a self serve style flight. 2.5 of 5
Aggregate: 2.75 of 5
Environment (Noise, Service, General Ambiance)
IDK: It’s not a huge space, so it can get a little cramped with strollers, but we had no issues while we were there. You could also very easily stash a stroller outside the taproom, in the market area, and still keep an eye on it. Not much room for older, more mobile kids to play around, but there’s more than enough room in the rest of the building. There were several other kids there on our visit, and I’ve always seen other kids on past visits. A nice older woman seated nearby told us we looked cute with our kids, so bonus points for that.
One minor quibble–most of the tables are high-tops with stools, which isn’t ideal for sitting with a kid on your lap, and the stools may be too high for older kids to sit on their own. I imagine it would be pretty uncomfortable to nurse on the higher stools, too. The wide variety of food available within MGM means you’re bound to find something for even the pickiest eater. 4 out of 5.
DHM: Ian said most of the important pieces above. I love the Midtown Global Market. All of the inclusiveness of the building seems to wash into the Brewery as well. Quite the mix of people were there during our visit. From crusty looking biker punks, to hipsters, to families with kids. They all seemed to mesh pretty well. I believe they even had a air hockey table somewhere by the bathrooms.
The brewery specific does fall short as Ian mentioned. Tables and set up weren’t ideal for parents with young kids. (In total understanding that this isn’t their main target audience) I’d love to see some other low tables at some point. All in all the MGM makes up for where the EastLake falls short. Now if I could only bring a beer out there… 3 of 5.
DJB: The seating area had several generously-sized booths, which comfortably fit three guys and our babies. The room was sufficiently large and busy that there was enough noise to drown out the sounds of the babies to others nearby, but we could still easily hear ourselves talk. The wooden booths made the space feel more inviting than Sisyphus, despite being located in a repurposed building with concrete floors and ceilings. 4 of 5
Aggregate: 3.67 of 5
Facilities (Changing tables in bathrooms, kid “area”)
IDK: There are bathrooms within the brewery space, but they don’t contain changing tables. The main bathrooms within the MGM do, however, and they’re not that far away. We didn’t see any high chairs available for use in the main area, but later realized that there was a huge pile of them in the hallway that leads to the bathroom. I wish I had realized it earlier, but it’s good to know they’re there for next time. 4 out of 5.
DHM: Pretty much what Ian said. It was nice to have some space for us to have the strollers – and the bathrooms aren’t that far away. I feel as though we’re giving them higher ratings because they’re attached to the MGM. Maybe we are. Probably just fine. Also – Air Hockey. Another family had a board game going too, so there is that. 4 of 5.
DJB: As the others have mentioned, there were no changing table in the bathrooms adjacent to the room, but there were changing tables elsewhere in the building. It would be nice though if a changing table could be provided in the brewery’s bathroom. 3 of 5.
Aggregate: 3.67 of 5
IDK: I stuck with beer, but they have local kombucha on tap and a variety of botanical sodas by the bottle. You’re not technically supposed to bring beverages in from other parts of the market, but I don’t know how much they police that–I know my wife drank a horchata in there once when she was pregnant. NA
DHM: That’s because you don’t mess with a pregnant woman. If she wants a horchata you damn well find or make or allow her to drink a horchata. Lots of kombucha – and even offered a kombucha flight. Added points there. I’ll give points because they actually make the kombucha (I believe) which is harder than just buying the different sodas. 4 of 5.
DJB: Once again I found myself in the mood for Coke rather than beer, but like Sisyphus, East Lake also doesn’t carry Coke or Pepsi products. Artisanal “cola” and root beers were offered though, and my weariness of artisanal colas led me to opt for root beer, which was just fine. I do prefer being able to choose a nationally-known brand like Coke or Pepsi though. 3 of 5.
Aggregate: 3.5 of 5.
PatP Final Say:
You should be going to the Midtown Global Market anyway since it is amazing. You also get to have craft beer. What are you complaining about? While it wasn’t one of our reviewer’s favorite spots for beer, the simple fact that it exists in the amazing environment makes it worth it in the long run.
FINAL SCORE: 3.4 of 5.