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Community Keg House Set to Open in Northeast on 1/15

Community Keg House

Here is a Q & A session I conducted with Nate Field from Community Keg House which is set to open on Friday, January 15th. This “beer room” is located in the Grain Belt Brewing Keg House and it provides a different experience than the other taprooms in town.

When was the idea for Community Keg House born?

I came up with the idea around 6 years ago. This was before the taproom boom. I wanted to create a space where beer enthusiasts could get closer to the experience of enjoying and understanding beer. I liked the experience I’d had at some wine bars and I modeled much of it on that form/vibe.

How did you secure that location?

My real estate broker found the space for us. We knew we wanted a location in NE where I live. When we found the space in the Grain Belt Keg House it felt right. We liked the idea that we would be celebrating the history of Minnesota beer while showcasing the next generation of what we are brewing.

How does the system work?

A patron walks up to our bar. Rather than order a specific beer they order a glass (either 16 or 10 oz size).

They enter a self-contained room we refer to as the “pour room.” Within the pour room is a 17-foot long table with 16 taps on it. Each tap is a different Minnesota brewery. Located and monitoring the tap table are “taptenders.” The taptender is there to help you. You can talk with them about beer, get a sample or directions on how to pour the perfect pint.

When you decide which beer you would like to drink, you POUR YOUR OWN PINT!

Now, beer in hand, you exit the pour room. You return to one of our seating areas. When you want another beer you return to the bar and get a new glass. The cashiers at the bar (bar control) can cut you off if you’re drunk). And the system repeats.

How will you make sure that people are pouring their beers correctly in regards to proper sanitation?
Well, each time you go back to the table you have to get a new glass. We will have some signage on proper pouring and the taptenders are there to advise.

Will you have options for people who don’t like beer?

Yes. We have two ciders on tap at all times. Also, there are NA drinks in the kitchen.

 

Which local beers will be available?

Belgian

Boom Island Witness
Insight Sunken City
Harriet Dark Abbey
Schell’s Snowstorm 2015

Winter

Northgate Stronghold
Summit Winter Ale
Bauhaus Tallander
Indeed Stir Crazy

Hoppy

Surly Furious
Fair State Pomp Le Moose
56 Brewing Polonaise APA
Able Seedhouse & Brewery First Light

Alternative

Grain Belt Nordeast
Bent Brewstillery Maroon & Bold
Four Daughters Loon Juice
Sociable Cider Werks Freewheeler

Community Keg House
34 13th Ave NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413

Hours:
Monday 4 pm to 12 am
Tues-Wed Closed
Thursday 4 pm to 12 am
Friday 4 pm to 12 am
Saturday 1 pm to 12am
Sunday 1pm to 10 pm

Cheers!

5 comments

  1. With people pouring their own you’re likely to have far more foam going down the drain than with a properly trained bartender. I wonder if the larger losses will impact pricing.

    I’m also curious about sanitation. At the typical bar you have a small number of bartenders coming in contact with the beer taps and glassware. Those bartenders are suppose to be washing their hands frequently per health code guidelines. In this type of setup you have far more hands on them and it doesn’t seem they’re required to wash their hands before pouring. Someone walks in there with a bad cold and pours a pint. What happens to everyone else enjoying beers from those taps that day? I’d be interested in how this is handled from a sanitation standpoint.

    Also curious about the liquor license. Can’t imagine they were able to somehow get a 90/10 but the food menu seems so small and not a focus that I imagine it will be hard to hit their requirements.

    Looking forward to the addition to the neighborhood. Excited to check the place out.

  2. It is an intriguing and curious model. Do these types of places exist elsewhere? If so then there is some precedent and experience to draw from.

    My first thought was people pouring a little, taking a few sips, topping it off again, etc. Unfortunately not all beer drinkers are honest folk. I’m assuming these taptenders can’t be everywhere at all times. While I’d love to trust the common man it seems that this is a system ripe for abuse. Not to mention the foam pour offs and sanitation questions, as were mentioned.

    I wonder about price too. Some of these beers would normally cost more than others but if you buy an empty glass I assume you would pay a set price. I wonder if that would be higher or lower than you’d expect?

    It sounds like a fun and creative idea and place. I hope it works out. I’m sure there will be some kinks.

    • There are other bars like this across the US. Most operate with taps at each table. They measure how much beer is poured by those sitting at the table. When you’re done the server simply looks at how many ounces you’ve poured and charges you accordingly. They generally have automatic shutoffs to keep people from drinking too much.

  3. Will each individual person have to go back to get their own beer? If so, I see this meaning longer wait times, since there are only so many taps.

    If not, how are the owners dealing with the safety of patrons who have someone else pour their beer? As a woman, I never drink something I didn’t see made or poured, in case someone added something to it. I would be uncomfortable with the idea of someone else pouring for me without supervision.

    • At a place like this, the person pouring the beer is generally the person that will be drinking it. Hence the “pour your own” idea behind the place.

      If you ask a friend you’re there with to pour you a pint while they’re getting their own then you should trust that friend. If you’re there with someone you think may spike your drink then the bigger problem is the company you’re keeping rather than the system itself.