It isn't often that my jaw literally drops, but it did when I glanced at the handsomely presented beer menu above the bar at Tilia a couple weeks ago. As a resident, I've often grumbled about Southwest Minneapolis's lack of a good beer bar (or at least a restaurant with some warm corner lighting, a handful of stools, a giant hunk of wood that begs to be cozied up to—oh yeah, and great beer). Thanks to this welcome new addition to Linden Hills, the grumbling has been replaced by a grin.
The beer menu, which was put together by owner-chef Steven Brown in collaboration with his good friend Tim Elm—a longtime bartender at Selby-Dale's the Muddy Pig—boasts an impressive 21 taps and a good selection of bottles. Brown and Elm offer a respectable variety of local brews (Fulton, Summit, Tyranena, Rush River, and the more obscure Dave's Brew Farm all make the list), but they also go global with aplomb: Almost half of the menu is Belgian in either origin or style. According to Brown, several of them are the finds of Lanny Hoff, founder of Artisanal Imports.
"Compared to wine, one can truly have one of the best beers in the world at a relatively modest price," Brown says. "When was the last time you could say that for $7 you had one of the best wines in the world?"
On a recent visit, our friendly server, in addition to being knowledgable and helpful with selections, informed us that Tilia will do half and quarter pours on request—an offer I felt compelled to oblige. A spot of "faux" gras and an impromptu Belgian flight later, and this Southwest Minneapolitan was a happy man.