Opening soon: Sisyphus Brewing

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July 7, 2014
By: Ben Johnson
Inside the Sisyphus tap room
Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson
Minneapolis's smallest brewery may double as a comedy club in the future

Sisyphus Brewing will be Minneapolis’s smallest brewery when it opens in Loring Park on July 11.

The “nanobrewery” can only brew about 60 gallons of beer at a time, pumping it straight from the storage tanks where the beer is finished to the taps behind the bar. The set-up allows owner and head brewer Sam Harriman to quickly cycle through a big variety of styles.

“The idea is that we’ll have something new for people to try almost every week,” he said sitting behind the bar in his new tap room, a 1,500-square-foot space across the street from Dunwoody College at 712 Ontario Ave.

Harriman honed his recipes as a home brewer for five years while trying to make it as a stand-up comedian and working for a health insurance company. He began getting serious about starting his own brewery while pursuing an master’s degree in business at Hamlin University.

“I was pretty much planning the business side of [the brewery] as I was going through classes, just trying to apply everything we talked about to my idea of opening a brewery,” he said.

Later Harriman went on a month-long road trip visiting tap rooms out on the West Coast with his wife, Catherine. They wrote Surly Brewing about their plan and the Brooklyn Center-based brewing giant donated him six cases of beer to trade with other brewers.

“I still have 40-50 beers left I can break out for special occasions,” he said.

Sisyphus will start as a tap room open from noon until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and if things go well Harriman will increase hours, starting with Sunday and Thursday. There’s also another 1,500 square feet of space connected to the tap room he plans on turning into a standup comedy venue.

“Looking at standup places in Minneapolis, there’s [Acme Comedy Company], [Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy, at Mall of America] and that’s pretty much it. For a city of this size we should have multiple, multiple, good clubs you can go to on a Friday or Saturday night,” he said. “And we have tons of great comics in the Twin Cities, there’s just not a spot for that kind of scene yet.”

Harriman said he’d like to build the standup room within a year, but he has no plans to perform.

“We’ll definitely be keeping the brewing and my comedy separate,” he said, chuckling.

After a successful Kickstarter campaign Harriman was able to pay local artists Jawsh and Adam Turman to create a mural on the side of the building. Work on the mural started July 8.

Left: A sketch of the planned mural