Taproom Cinema event series combines local beers and cult classics


Americans are always on the lookout for new ways to enliven their film-watching experiences. Movies at the park are great on nice days, but mother nature is always capable of turning family fun into great escapes from torrential downpours or mosquito hell. VIP seating at the theater is always an option, but there comes a time when we can longer justify paying for overpriced popcorn and beers --especially after the already expensive movie tickets.

Chris Meyer gets us. The Minneapolis resident recently debuted Taproom Cinema, a series of film showings that will take place at a new microbrewery each month. The concept is mutually beneficial for participating breweries and patrons in that films will be shown for free, but you'll still be expected to supplement the economy by paying for locally crafted beer and snacks. See also: Gluten-free brewery goes against the grain

Meyer says he came up with the idea while drinking beers and chatting about taprooms with his wife. It had always been his dream to open a movie theater, and suddenly it clicked -- what if he combined his love for cult classic films with delicious craft beer?

"I don't know how much I really thought it was an idea that would fly. But the more I looked into it, it seemed it might work -- at least once," Meyer says. "When I contacted Summit about it, they jumped, and it's sort of snowballed since then."

Summit Brewing Co. in St. Paul is hosting the first of what will hopefully be many Taproom Cinema events on August 6 at 6:30 pm, with a screening of Big Trouble in Little China. If we can take Meyer's first film choice as a sign of what's to come, we're beyond ecstatic.

"In keeping with the style of craft beer, I'm more interested in showing movies that offer something unique and different than what we find at the large theaters," Meyer says.

Meyer plans on involving audience members as much as possible through trivia, contests, and crowd-sourcing for movie ideas, and has teamed up with Twin City Fritter and Philly Company to supply food for the film screenings. But most importantly, Taproom Cinema will help Minnesotans familiarize themselves with a variety local breweries and beers.

"My first and main goal is to promote Minnesota craft beers, as many of them as I can, through the screening of movies," Meyer says. "New breweries are popping up all the time yet, despite this, Minnesota craft beer is still something new to many. I hope that this could be a unique way of helping those folks discover all the great beer that Minnesota is brewing."

Send your story tips to Hot Dish.