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Bad Weather's new taproom poised to be a St. Paul favorite

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It’s no longer sufficient to have a few tables and board games at your taproom; the people want patios and food trucks, artwork and lawn games. They want beer, but they want ambiance too.

Bad Weather is well aware of current expectations and they’ve more than met them with their new St. Paul beer hall.

The new space has a capacity of roughly 100, a second room for private events and overflow, and a three season patio that will still get a little use in 2015. They’ve mixed quality beers with a stylistic atmosphere that’s complemented by yard games, arcade games, food trucks and, of course, lots of beer.

Bad Weather’s already established beers (Windvane, Ominous, Firefly, and Migration) are all on tap within, but so is a new line-up of taproom-only options, ranging from tea-infused cask and nitro lines to a new porter and pale ale. While many breweries open the door with a mini-line-up ready to serve, Bad Weather has gone big. They have room for 12 taps (2 nitro and 2 cask among them) and 2 sodas and are serving 11 at the get-go.

How are the new beers?

Batch 001 S.M.A.S.H. pale ale was phenomenal: light, citrus, and bold; Galactic Rye porter is heavily roasted: smoky, dry, and fulfilling; and The Hopcromancer (whose label adorns the wall in mural form) is a fresh hopped IPA that’s equal parts bitter and malt, clean and light on the tongue but with enough hop to light up the room. The cask and nitro offerings were a mixed bag, perhaps in part because this writer doesn’t love tea infusions. Migration infused with mango black tea was heavy on the mango while the Tippin’ It Down extra special bitter with Earl Grey tea was a smooth drinking mid-body beer. While the core line-up is being served too, staff at soft opening said the new beers were the most popular orders.

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The room itself is modern and sleek. Previously a tire shop, the glass garage doors open to a lovely patio with a view of the St. Paul Cathedral. Inside it's light and earth toned, shifting from a modern bar into industrial brewhouse seamlessly, with a divider wall keeping worker from customer. A window is installed looking into the keg cooler to give an additional sense of openness with the room and to showcase their industrial side.

A Lucas Gluesenkamp mural covers a full wall in yellow, green, and brown. There's a nice mixture of seating along a large bar and at tables throughout the room. The adjacent overflow room is mostly windows that face W. 7th Street, giving natural lighting.

Outside, the patio shines. With a custom food truck parking spot it isolates the patio from the sidewalk while the brewery still spills into W. 7th Street. That open feeling is sure to be popular in temperate weather and the forecast suggests it will get a lot of use on opening weekend.

The beers are a range of prices and sizes: 2 oz. for $2, 10 oz. for $3, and 16 oz. for $5, with flights priced at a modest $8. Any of the beers, from flagships to casks, are available in the flight. Co-owner Joe Giambruno noted that he’s also a fan of raddlers so, while out of season now, watch for them in 2016.

There’s been a lot of curiosity about how Bad Weather would translate from production brewing to taproom and if it would change their brand. Rather than change the company, the taproom is an accent, emphasizing and expanding on their personality. It’s a space that feels neighborly and small with the doors open, easy to curl up in on a weekday afternoon, but also vibrant and social for a weekend when the patio opens and the room gets packed. Based on the reaction to their unadvertised soft opening, that’s likely to be a regular occurrence.

Bad Weather’s Grand Opening is Friday Oct. 9 at 3 p.m.

414 7th St. W.

St. Paul, MN