Beer is booming. Rochester sprung from one brewery within city limits to four during the last year, and the Twin Cities metro has somewhere around six times that number. It’s hard to keep up with the growing beer scene, especially when breweries are focused on their own taproom first. Sisyphus Brewing is a small Minneapolis brewery that emphasizes the small batch experience of getting beer at the source. It’s rare to find a keg or crowler off their premises; to try their beer, aficionados must seek them out.
The building itself is tucked on a quiet corner between Interstate 394 and Dunwoody College. It’s an unassuming unit that faces Aldrich Avenue but blends into the rest of its industrial block. Inside, it opens into a double concept brewery: taproom is on the right, and a comedy club on the left. The comedy club is a unique touch, but it’s mostly a ticketed venue, while the taproom is open to all.
The aesthetic is modern industrial. Exposed brickwork and open ceilings tie the buildling’s industrial history to its current use, merging production and pub. A shiny tile mosaic decorates the back of the bar, modern booths and community tables adorn the modestly sized room, and shuffleboard tables are available on a first come first serve basis. The comedy club is more modern, with bright LED lighting and stainless steel that matches the brewhouse.
The beer is in steady rotation; there’s a different line-up each visit. In early December, the tap selection was IPA heavy and rounded out an experimental bent: Argyle Penguin Amber, Nelson Amarillo IPA, Isaac the Faxman wheat IPA, West Coast IPA, Black IPA, and Semi-Barrel Aged Semi-Imperial Stout. While every Minnesotan seems to love an IPA, the line-up at the time of visit was a holdover from a recent IPA contest the brewery did.
Of the bunch, Black IPA stood out as a favorite with a dry, roasted bitterness. With coffee notes and a big malt profile before a resinous Cascade hop finish, it’s just what the style demands: bitter as an IPA but hearty like a darker beer. The Semi-Stout, an imperial stout infused with barrel-aged cold press coffee, fits the name as somewhere between a stout and an imperial. The limited time offering is boozy at 9% ABV but with a silky mouthfeel, more nutty than bitter. Nelson Amarillo IPA is a big IBU kick and a lemongrass note and the Argyle Penguin was a light body amber, more crisp and direct than the rest of the line-up. On a typical night, Sisyphus beers run the gamut of styles, often a little experimental. A unifying trait is a preference for a bitter and dry finish.