This Wednesday, July 13, Grand Rounds Brew Pub is going French. A day before Bastille Day, the brewery is celebrating the French national day with a Rochester-style party reflective of French culture. It’s their second annual Bastille Day celebration and first in the brewpub itself. Last year, the party took place at Peace Plaza with a turnout that kept crepe cooks Tessa Leung and Dawn Finnie busy all day long.
Expecting to make around 100 crepes last year, Leung says the final tally was closer to 500. This year they’re planning for games on the sidewalk patio and vendors inside the barroom, with the band playing on a corner stage.
“There’s a strong French contingent here,” says Leung, and celebrating Bastille Day is something outside of the norm in the Minnesota beer scene. Bastille Day marks the Storming of the Bastille in 1789 and is a celebration of French liberation. The Minnesota-styled celebration focuses on French food, beverage, face painting, and games instead.
While last year’s plaza turnout was greater than expected, a scheduling conflict moves it to the pub for 2016. With the crepe kitchen, a unique French-Belgian style Saison called 100 Grand, and live music from The Francine Roche Trio, it brings a one-day only atmosphere to their home turf. They’ll also team up with Tessa’s Office Wine Boutique next door by offering discounts on French wines, waiving the corking fee for any bottles consumed within Grand Rounds.
“It’s a neighbor to neighbor special,” Leung says, stressing cooperation between businesses. The party itself is a result of the Rochester Downtown Alliance, which promotes heart of the city activities and bringing businesses together.
Grand Rounds will also be serving the last of their unique Alien Candy brew, a peanut butter milk stout they prepared for the recent Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America festival in Milwaukee, which received positive feedback among Wisconsin press and is named after the movie E.T.