Boom Island Brewing Company
2014 Washington Ave N
Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55411-2220
Phone: (612) 227-9635
Wed-Fri: 4pm - 9pm
Sat: 1pm - 9pm,
It’s in an industrial area – half a block from the iconic and now shuttered dive bar Stand Up Franks (home of the honest drink), in an area home to light industry, steel works, welding shops, glass manufacturers, lumber yards, dive bars, strip clubs and other establishments focused on solid working-class entertainment.
The address is 2014 N Washington Avenue – half a block north of W. Broadway just off 94. To get there you drive up to North 21st, turn right, make a right again at the alley, look for a Belgian-esque mural on the wall, and then turn inside the chain link fence and if you are lucky one of the 18 or so spots will be open. If that doesn’t work, park along the fence or find a spot on the street.
I walk in at 4:00 on a Thursday afternoon in mid-November. It smells like a brewery. It smells like my house when I used to brew beer with hops and malt heavy in the background. It has the ambiance of a brewery with a corner blocked off for entertaining. There is a small swag display next to the bar. It’s not a big place. There are 19 seats at low tables, 3 high tops that seat 12, 10 seats at the bar and room for about 10 to 12 each at 4 large picnic style benches. Full, it can probably accommodate about 80. I sit at a table along a 4’ high divider next to about 20 filled kegs ready for delivery. Soft jazz fills the background. I’m the first customer. Tap Room Manager Jim immediately greets me and explains the specials – $4 taps during happy hour and 6 taproom exclusives at regular price. Brewery dog Zeus, a white Coton de Tulear with areas of light brown tint sniffs my shoes and pant legs and introduces himself. Zeus is a small lap dog, bred to be a companion dog. Under the soft cottony fur, he is about the size of a loaf of bread and weighs about as much as a six pack or a growler. He appears to spend a significant portion of his life sniffing feet, begging scratches behind the ear and sitting in laps.
Over the next couple of hours the place slowly fills up – small groups and couples. At 5:00 a couple of boomers walk in with some foam boxes full of chicken wings and settle in at the bar. By 6:00 the crowd has reached a critical mass and people are talking to each other. The people are here for the beer. The beer is Belgian so there are not a lot of lager louts wandering about. The age groups are fairly evenly mixed and the attire is comfortable and the ambiance friendly. Jim and Kevin do a good job of making people feel welcome and at home. Most stay for more than one beer.