It’s about time I made it out to a new taproom! Unlike most of my latest travels, this one was close to home – in the heart of Downtown Minneapolis.
While Finnegans is technically a new taproom in Minnesota, they are anything but a new brewery. This staple in MN beer was founded in 2000, but until recently was contract brewed at Summit Brewing Company in Saint Paul.
In addition to their relatively early break into the Minnesota craft beer market, the distinctly Irish branding and trailblazing owner make Finnegans a brand worth noting. However, it’s the business model that truly sets this brewery apart: it’s a non-profit! Proceeds from Finnegans are donated to their Community Fund, which “turns beer into food.”
While “giving back to the community” is oftentimes more a gimmick than a business practice, Finnegans walks the walk where no other brewery does. Philanthropy is intertwined with the very nature of Finnegans’ business, from its volunteer squad to the “reverse food truck.”
Needless to say, I was excited to spend my beer money at Finnegans. Even if your life’s work isn’t feeding the hungry, you can put your money where your mouth is to make a difference in your own small way.
The Finnegans brewery is a massive structure in Downtown Minneapolis. The taproom is on the ground level (there are multiple floors in the complex). The immense polished bar, low and easy lighting, ornate wooden sculptures, and friendly staff make the taproom feel more like a pub than a typical downtown bar. A floor-to-ceiling glass wall separates the taproom from the brewery, where even on a Saturday the team was busy at work.
Settling in at the bar with my Jimmy John’s (I don’t believe in grocery shopping), I ordered a couple rounds including the Cluster Truck IPA and the Tipped Cow Farmhouse Ale. Both pours were easy drinking and relatively light in a world of hop bombs and booziness.
Two gals close to my age worked behind the bar that afternoon, chatting with patrons and the pizza delivery woman alike. I asked one for advice, and she told me, “Be an open learner. You never know enough; it makes you go into every setting ready to listen. Being an open learner makes you open to the different ways people are and the ways things can be done without any judgment.”
Especially at my stage in life, operating under this assumption—that everyone has something to teach you—is beyond valuable. Getting wrapped up in ego and Instagram and forgetting how much bigger the world is than we are is dangerous. It creates segregated and polarized groups. As tempting as it might be to create a cozy bubble with a filtered reality, we must work to expand our worlds. That doesn’t mean we have to agree with everything we hear, but at least we’ll be a little more well-rounded than we were yesterday.