Updated: July 09, 2021 08:43 PM
Created: July 09, 2021 07:30 PM
Bent Paddle is always brewing something inside its taproom, but now there's something new growing outside.
The favorite local brewery has planted grass on what used to be 19th Avenue W between Michigan and Lower Michigan streets.
Director of Taproom and Retail Operations Pepin Young said it's a vision they've had for four years.
"With the 35 project over here, that opened up some doors that may not have otherwise been opened," Young said. "We had a lot of construction around us, so we worked with our partners at the city as well as MnDOT to lay down this space."
The city still owns the utilities that run under the former street. But now, visitors don't have to cross a road to get from the parking lot to the taproom.
"We have a front door exiting to a busy street, and then we have a parking lot right here. So we had a lot of back-and-forth, and so already this feels like it was meant to be," Young said.
He said neighboring businesses also signed off on the road closure. And over the past 18 months, outdoor space has become more and more valuable.
"We're not out of a pandemic, we're in a pandemic. And so we're trying our best to create as much space -- and with our big, beautiful glass doors that roll open, oftentimes we're full open-air in our taproom," Young said.
Cedar Bound, a local cabin kit company, built them a stage. Bent Paddle is launching the Live Music Revival free concert series starting July 15. Local artists will play every Thursday and Saturday, with proceeds going to nonprofits that support the arts, starting with the Bluebird Foundation.
The lineup was announced Friday:
People can't walk on the grass quite yet since it was just planted, but Young said they hope to have it all open in August.
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