Barrel Theory Beer Company

Barrel Theory Beer Company

Traveling Vegan in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

At This and That Kitchen, we are so excited to see the continued growth of the craft beer industry, and as a result, we seek out any opportunity to check out new or unique breweries during our travels. But given that growth, we always run into the problem (not necessarily a bad one!) of there being dozens of incredible craft breweries in virtually any major city we visit but only enough time to try a few. Because of this, we always make sure to do a bit of research in advance of traveling to a new city to help narrow down our list to make sure we try the very best – and following our recent trip to the Twin Cities, we couldn’t be happier that we decided to stop by Barrel Theory Beer Company!

A small, relatively new (they recently celebrated their 1-year anniversary!) craft brewery in St. Paul, MN, Barrel Theory was founded in 2017 by two former employees of Minneapolis-based Surly Brewing Company (another great brewery we managed to visit during our trip) and a friend of theirs. According to its website, Barrel Theory got its name from Liebig’s Law of the Minimum, which basically states that the capacity of a barrel is always limited by its shortest stave. Given this underlying philosophy, the folks at Barrel Theory say that their measuring stick for success is the overall quality of the beers they brew and the customer service they provide. And we must say, based on our visit, this philosophy really shone through in an amazing way! Not only was the beer great across the board (we’ll get into this a bit more below!), but everything from the intimate, modern-rustic design of the taproom to the employees working when we visited (who were helpful, knowledgeable, and great to chat with!) showed that quality is a top priority at Barrel Theory. 

From Left to Right: Rain Drops, Double Dry-Hopped Rain Drops, Boat Shoes, Why Go Hard When You Can Go Home?

From Left to Right: Rain Drops, Double Dry-Hopped Rain Drops, Boat Shoes, Why Go Hard When You Can Go Home?

In terms of beer selection, Barrel Theory had a fairly extensive tap list (10-12 beers on tap), and it was very heavily focused on IPAs, stouts, and fruited sours. Fortunately, they offer taster-sized pours (4 oz.) of all of their beers, meaning we had the chance to try most of what was available on tap at the time! Honestly, one of our biggest takeaways after sampling a variety of their offerings was that literally every beer we tried was high-quality, unique, and flavorful (perhaps the “barrel theory” behind Barrel Theory really makes a difference!). That said, there were a couple of beers that we identified as our absolute favorites: Threat Level Midnight and Rain Drops! 

Threat Level Midnight is an Imperial Stout brewed with maple, coffee, and vanilla, and it seriously blew us away! Being from Chicago, we’ve had a lot of great imperial stouts/porters brewed with adjuncts like coffee and maple from great local breweries like Half Acre Beer Company and Spiteful Brewing, but this one was on par with some of the absolute best we’ve tried! And from what we could tell, this beer is pretty limited, so if you see it on tap or hear about an upcoming release, we highly recommend that you stop by ASAP!

Rain Drops is a hazy, NE-style IPA (dry-hopped with Citra and Mosaic), a style that we absolutely fell in love with during a trip we took to the Northeast, where we had the opportunity to visit iconic breweries like Hill Farmstead, Alchemist, and Trillium. And at the end of the day, this awesome hazy IPA from Barrel Theory stands up to even the best we’ve tried. It’s incredibly juicy, flavorful, and full-bodied – everything we want in a hazy IPA! Whether you’re new to hazy IPAs or you’ve had them by the dozen, you seriously need to check out this incredible offering from Barrel Theory. If it was available back in Chicago (maybe someday!), we would be sure to have this beer in our fridge at all times!

From Left to Right:    Java Oats, Key Sublime, Threat Level Midnight, After School Snacks

From Left to Right:  Java Oats, Key Sublime, Threat Level Midnight, After School Snacks

Overall, we are huge fans of everything that Barrel Theory is about – they make unique, high-quality beer served in a well-designed taproom by incredibly knowledgeable and friendly employees! If you’re in the Twin Cities, Barrel Theory Beer Company is an absolute must-visit!

Want to read more about our experience Traveling Vegan in Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN? Check out this article for all of the places we ate, drank, and explored while visiting the Twin Cities!