Yes, you get to pour your own beer. No, it’s really not hard. Yes, there are people watching to make sure you don’t suck on the taps like Barney Gumble when Moe turns his back.
And yes, Community Keg House was once a storage building for Grain Belt beer. But the true gist of this new Northeast drinking hall isn’t a novel twist on history or an attempt to relive those red-cup kegger glory days. It’s a simple attempt to marry taproom and bar, solving the taproom’s limitations on choice while maintaining its laidback atmosphere.
It’s a beer-only bar that showcases Minnesota-made products, with an educational focus. Sixteen taps of local brews all in one location.
Technically speaking, Community Keg House is a restaurant. The kitchen is inspired by food trucks, and serves a basic repertoire of simple sandwiches and small plates. Staples like a Red Table charcuterie board and pretzel sticks from Aki’s BreadHaus are on the menu, as well as Grilled Cheese Sliders, B.L.C.T. (BLT with cucumber), a mixed greens salad, and pie for dessert.
It’s basic, quality food aimed to satiate and tide one over through a couple pints. The hummus plate is served on toasted naan with cucumber and tomato, a light alternative to beer pairing. Heavier options include a chicken sandwich and pulled pork, both of which are dressed up with unique sauces.
The beers come in a variety of styles: Seasonal (winter or St. Patrick’s Day at the moment), Hoppy (IPAs), Belgian, and Other (think cider and the truly unique). The bar serves only one beer per brewery, meaning that a visitor can theoretically come to the Keg House and sample 16 different breweries (though maybe not 16 full pints, okay?). None of the beers are exclusive to Community Keg House, so don't expect to find one-off experimental beers like you would at a taproom.
Aesthetically, Community Keg House follows the minimal and industrial vibes of other Nordeast taprooms. There’s the now standard shelf with board games, but as a nice touch the restaurant has added an 8-bit Nintendo system in the corner.
The beer layout is simple. Pay $6 at the cash register up front and you’ll be handed a pint glass. Run a tab if you're planning on more (they'll get you a new glass and ring up another $6 for each return trip). After payment, just follow the arrows into the supervised pouring room where you'll find those beer stations. Then pick and pour. Taptenders grace the area to keep it orderly and to offer tasting samples. They’re ready to give pouring tutorials as well. Hesitation or a partial tug gets air in the line and makes a less effective pour.
On the whole, the experience is novel, but not gimmicky. Community Keg House provides a niche: a wide local beer selection but without the go-go stress of a taproom crawl. With mostly community tables, an old fashioned two-controller Nintendo, and a lot of beer, this is entertainment for an evening or an afternoon, a place to forget about the clock and socialize.
Community Keg House
34 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis