We’d been inside The Tap Room for about two seconds before I turned to my brother Jacob and declared, “These are our people.”
He didn’t reply. He was too busy starting at the beer list. We’d clearly found our home base in Minot.
Actually, it might be more accurate to say that The Tap Room found us.
We’d spent most of the afternoon shopping in downtown Minot (check back for more stories about shops like this one) and we were looking for a place to eat when we saw a sandwich board in the distance promising craft beer. We decided to investigate.
There were colorful arrows chalked all over the sidewalk leading the way.
This turned out to be a good thing, since I’m not sure we would have found The Tap Room on on own. The entrance is off on a quiet side street that might not catch your eye.
We followed the arrows all the way to this door…
…and down the reclaimed wood stairway to a cozy basement bar that’s part speakeasy and part English pub. It’s all warm wood and cement and stone with just a touch of an industrial, DIY vibe.
Owners Erin and Cory Hash opened The Tap Room just this summer. Erin told us that almost all the wood in the bar comes from an 1800s barn that was a tear-down project before the Hash family got their hands on it. They also built a cool, abstract fiber optic light installation into the wall by bar that tends to hypnotize people after a beer or two.
The atmosphere is comfortable and mellow, with a steady stream of beer nerds like ourselves stopping in to sample the rotating selection of craft beers chalked on menu board on the wall. There’s a stack of board games in the back, so it’s clear that this is a place where you’re encouraged to settle in and stay awhile.
The staff at The Tap Room is passionate about beer. They’re eager to offer suggestions and trade beer trivia with their customers. If you’re not sure what you want, they offer samples and $9 beer flights so can explore their options. This is the only place in Minot you’ll be able to find many of these beers, so it’s a great place to experience something new.
Western North Dakota is influenced by states in the mountain time zone and beer is no exception. You’ll find lots of great selections from Montana and Colorado at The Tap Room. There was also a brand from Utah that I’d never tried. (Distribution patterns must be different in the eastern part of North Dakota.)
They also offer cider and wine if beer’s not your thing. Or you can ask for a beer-based cocktail if you want to ease into beer drinking gradually.
We had some of our favorite beers and tried a few new ones. Since I was in Minot, I tried the Souris River Swill from Minot’s Souris River Brewing Company. It was a mellow mix of malt and and hops with almost no head and enough complexity that I’d totally order it again.
We stayed until bar close and lingered in the stairwell before heading out into the late summer night. We’ll definitely be back the next time we’re in town.
If you get to downtown Minot before I do, have a few beers at The Tap Room for me. And don’t forget to tell them Prairie Style File sent you! (I told them lots of you are beer fans, so they’ll be expecting you.)
The Tap Room
23 Main Street East
(The entrance is around the corner on 1st Avenue)
Minot, North Dakota
Monday – Thursday: 5 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 4 p.m. – 1 a.m.
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