LTD Brewing Company
8 8th Avenue North
Hopkins, Minnesota, 55343
Former home brewers Jeremy Hale and Blake Verdon opened LTD Brewing (Live the Dream) in mid-2014 in a space formerly occupied by a flower shop at the corner of Main Street and 8th Avenue in downtown Hopkins, Minnesota. This is a great spot for bikers in need of hydration. The Minnetonka LRT Regional Trail bike trail starts about 2 blocks from the brewery, and it is half a dozen blocks north and west from the North Cedar Lake Trail, the Cedar Lake LRT regional Trail, and the Minnesota river Bluffs Regional Trail.
I arrive at 3:00 on November’s first Thursday. Construction makes street parking a pain and I fail to figure out that there is free parking on the north side of the brewery. The brewery faces 8th Avenue and the entrance is past the patio on the northwest corner. The smell of brewing beer fills the air but it is pleasant and not over powering. It is a 3,000-square foot space with an industrial vibe. Despite the vibe, it is clean and neat. The brewery and taproom occupy about a third to half of the space. Jeremy and Blake recovered an 8-barrel brewery (small) from a failed Ohio brewery and the shiny copper and stainless-steel tanks sit at the back along the east wall separated from the taproom by a 3’ wall. The bar takes up the southeast corner. The restrooms are on the south side of the bar. You pass a rack of oak 9 oak barrels aging beer on your way to the restrooms. There is a rack of board games next to the oak barrels. A garage door on the west side (8 Avenue) opens to the patio that seats about 30. Today the garage door is open. A large bug net separates the patio from the tap room. A selection of swag for sale adorns the north wall next to another rack of oak barrels. An assortment of high tops with stools, lower tables, and well-worn couches and stuffed chairs along with half a dozen seats along the bar provide seating for around 80. Brewery sounds and contemporary rock provide the background which is generally low enough to allow conversation.
Alicia the bartender greets me with a cheery hello when I enter. There are 12 beers on tap and they are listed on a chalkboard above the bar. I order a Curt’s Wet Dream – a wet hopped IPA, settle into a chair and wait for my friend Gregg. At 3:00 there is a guy at the bar drawing in a notebook who turns out to be the illustrator of LTD’s beer bottles, a Gen-Xer at the bar, one millennial couple at a table, a young couple with a couple of elementary school kids with some food from somewhere else sitting on the patio and a couple of brewery employees sorting through the swag, pricing hats and organizing T-Shirts. Gregg arrives by 4:00. The crowd gradually thickens with groups of 2 to 4 ambling in and it reaches around 25 paying customers by 4:30. Although Gregg and I are the oldest folks there it is a pretty mixed house – a fair representation of flannel balanced by an assortment of people having an after-work beer. Its comfortable and friendly.
There is no food or food trucks, but you can bring in anything you want to eat and there is free popcorn at the end of the bar.
LTD’s slogan is limited batches, unlimited possibilities. I have reviewed several of their beers and they rate from very good to exceptional. Their tap offerings are always varied and interesting with something for everyone. Their current offerings include a milk stout, a blond ale, a blueberry blond ale, an American IPA, a blackberry sour ale, a pale ale, a squash spiced beer, a brown ale, a chocolate porter, and a double IPA. If you are looking to meet someone on the west side of the Twin Cities for a beer, this is a good choice.