Sneak Peek: Earl Giles Distillery

7 Min Read

Earl Giles Distillery is now open, kinda. Jesse Held, Jeff Erkkila, and Nick Kosevich are almost ready for prime time, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have you over for some laughs, yes? Time to crack into one of their signature ginger beers? With a bump?

It’s been four-ish years in the making, and the team has been working hard to get the last touches finished. Rehabbing a former stage coach factory and turning it into a restaurant, bar, distillery, canning line, apothecary lab, and event space is, well, no small thing. 

Let’s cut to the good news, it’s a holiday weekend after all. Since training parties and opening events have been going so well, the team is moving forward with a soft opening. 

This weekend they’ll finish up the round of training parties, you can attend one of these Early Bird special nights by reserving a spot. Throw in the $40 ticket to hold your spot, and the amount will be subtracted from your bill that night. 

After this weekend, and for the month of July, the restaurant and bar will be open on weekends, Fri-Sun. The goal is to get all the last bits of equipment and decor into place by July 29, start distilling, and then announce their presence with authority as open.

This isn’t even all the plants. By a long shot. In fact there are two full size trees coming still that we are all very excited about, especially Erkkila who is not sick at all of being asked how they plan to keep everything watered. The tallest shelving units are custom made on casters, so that they will be, essentially, living green walls which can be moved around the room to create different spaces. There’s so much light with the walls basically being windows. 

The kitchen anchors the west end of the room, and the plant game will continue along the top of the black bricked wall. There’s some nifty mosaic tiling on the pizza oven, done by the chefs in the kitchen. The menu is still being worked, so it will be limited during the soft open, but you can expect to find an assortment of pizzas, salads, and snacks. I did try some blistered shishito peppers that were great, and a Thai inspired salad that worked well with the drinks. 

Just past the main door when you walk by the host stand, you’ll notice a big round copper table. Yes, that’s a lazy Susan on top. Held mentioned that this will be used as the starting point for the distillery tours, once they can do them. The big copper pot still has been installed next to a new fangled still they referred to as a Hot Rod Still, of which there are only 14 in the country. Apparently the guy in Detroit who makes them has to like you to make one for you, so it requires a visit. There’s special tech which allows you to mess with the botanicals during the distillation process and this still maker, who used to build hot rods, is now an Earl Giles fan. 

There’s so much more, this should really just be called a sneak sneak peek. There will be a patio with fire pits, seating, and eventually its own bar. And the upper level will host private events, classes, and small gatherings. It’s also the place where Kosevich will conduct his particular brand of mad science in the Drinks Apothecary, which is still waiting on its own insane sounding equipment.  

But the bar is open, there are plenty of spirit free drinks on tap, which have suggested boozy additions or you can choose your own mix. The cocktail list is varied and the bartenders seem to be having fun. Get in on the early side of things and check them out!

Stephanie March

Food and Dining editor Stephanie March writes and edits Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s Eat + Drink section. She can also be heard Saturdays on her myTalk107.1 radio show, Weekly Dish, where she talks about the Twin Cities food scene.

Read more by Stephanie March

July 1, 2022

2:18 AM

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