Not to get too personal, dear City Pages readers, but as a Chicana born and raised in the Midwest, stepping into La Doña Cervezería was a uniquely personal experience for your author.
In the Midwestern houses where I spent my formative years with my Mexican grandmothers, the walls were painted in vibrant hues; cumbia rhythms kept time while we cooked what felt like a million tamales in a very steamy kitchen -- despite the whistling winter wind outside. When I grew older, I drank a lot (and I mean a lot) of very good (okay, and sometimes very bad) beer per the Midwestern experience.
La Doña manages to seamlessly weave together the best aspects of Latinx cultures and Minnesota craft beer in a way that will appeal to so many. Owner Sergio Manancero is a first-generation Uruguayan-American who grew up around many different Latinx ethnicities and sought to create a place where all people, and all Latinxs, could feel comfortable kicking back and having a beer together.
His goal with this northside establishment was to engage the community. And as evidenced by the crowd on a recent Saturday night, he’s doing it. Parked in front of the building was local pupuseria Qué Tal, slinging fresh-from-the-griddle Salvadorian street snacks. Inside, another vendor sold dress-your-own Uruguayan chorizos, with three chimichurris to choose from and traditional mayo and tomato fixings to apply at your leisure. These kinds of rotating food options are typical for La Doña, as are the rotating events, including Tuesday evening beer-and-yoga, DJ spots, and local craft fairs. (Keep an eye on their well-organized, always-packed calendar for Zumba classes in December, and Spanish classes in January.)
On the Saturday we visited, they were gearing up for Salsa night, and the crowd was decidedly more diverse than your standard Minnesota taproom. Folks from many ethnicities were sipping beers like the refreshing Doña Fría, a crisp, light Mexican lager, or the Sueños Ale, a darker, malty brew with warm toffee and caramel notes. If you’re in need of caffeine, Sueños de Café is a version with local UP Mexican Coffee Roasters’ Mexican coffee brewed right in; if pale ales are your thing, they have three to choose from, as well as a lightly floral, well-balanced blonde ale.
Once the music began pumping from the speakers at the back of the brewery, dance night began, with old pros and beginners alike jumping to the floor for some instructional Salsa moves. Dancing together and having a great time, everyone glowed below the teal, orange and marigold-paint splashed walls adorned with calavera murals.
Prefer to pair your beer swilling with sports? The cervezería has you covered in that regard as well. Over the summer, La Doña hosted a three-on-three fútbol league on their personal outdoor box field. Not to be deterred by the weather, La Doña is fully embracing their Minnesotan roots: Registration is open through December 21 for their winter broomball league. And as if La Doña isn’t already going above and beyond with their “for the people” vibe, they also have ample space for hosting private business, personal, and community events.
I’d say I was surprised, but this is just the kind of vibrant, community-focused, and welcoming place La Doña is. See for yourself Monday through Thursday from 3 to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. through 1 a.m., and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
La Doña Cervecería
241 Fremont Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN 55405