Tom Petty once sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.” This usually applies to me in regards to a longer than usual commute after a couple Fiber One Bars. However, lately, it absolutely fits what the folks at Wabasha Brewing Company have felt during the new taproom construction project. To say that these chaps are excited to open a fantastic space to enjoy their craft beer is an understatement. I sat down with Tiki and Brett to chat about the new space and enjoy some beer together. This was their first beer in the new taproom space and I felt privileged to have witness this monumentally historic event; never have I seen two grown men weep so violently.
When I first set foot in the space last spring, it was bare bones and down to the studs. Head Brewer, Brett Erickson, is ready for people to see what they have all put their blood and sweat into since then to transform it into a warm and welcoming space to drink a craft beer. Of course, there were setbacks along the way; they wanted to have the taproom open officially by the beginning of August. Unfortunately, anyone who has ever done any type of large scale demo or remodel knows that those timelines are always going to be extended. After much anticipation, Wabasha Brewing Company’s new taproom will officially open the weekend of September 23rd. There will be an official ribbon cutting ceremony on that Friday night and other events goi ng all weekend long. They will be soft opening starting 8/17 and going pretty much up to the official opening weekend. Once the new taproom opens, the original taproom in the back of the building will no longer be in use to the public.
Now, let’s talk about what the new space will entail. Much of the original building is what you see, it has just been polished up a little bit. The tin ceilings, the hardwood floors, and the exposed brick are all original and the building has been around for a long time. Wabasha worked with Nate Shanklin of Next Level Renovation to bring Brett’s vision to fruition. Brett wanted it to feel like a cigar lounge with dark wood and comfortable seating. The bar is breathtaking and is made up of dark, reclaimed wood from a barn in southern WI. Wabasha worked with Long Leaf Reclaimed Timber on this and I think that it really turned out well. It creates a very cozy and relaxing feel as it definitely anchors the space well. The space will have room for 61 people and when you add in the outdoor seating, it will be able to accommodate a nice sized crowd. The 12 taplines will eventually all be in use with different beers, but for now, will be set up to pour the six main Wabasha beers. The neon sign in the front window was crafted by a regular named Tim Keran. Tim and his wife are at Wabasha every Thursday playing cribbage.
You will notice art on the walls curated by Sean Santer and can be bought directly through Wabasha Brewing Co.’s POS system. The artwork will rotate quarterly and be a great showcase for local artists. The artwork is unique and really adds a great dimension to the taproom. In addition to the artwork, the shade of orange on the wall is warm and accents the modern stainless steel behind the bar with the original exposed brick. From a practicality standpoint, there are outlets underneath the bar along with coat hooks. The bar stools have backs and are comfortable to ensure that you will want to stay for a while and relax. It seems like such a silly detail, but I cannot tell you how many times I have been to a taproom and the seating is almost medieval in regards to lumbar support. If my ass falls asleep during the first half hour, I am probably not sticking around for a second beer.
The community that supports Wabasha Brewing Company deserves something really nice. I can honestly say that they are in for a treat because they absolutely knocked this out of the park. The new taproom immediately jumps into one of the nicer taprooms in the Twin Cities. Don’t take my word it though, get down there and try it for yourself!
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