Brewery Review: Dual Citizen Brewing

A lot rides on a first impression.

A first impression can be the deciding factor on one college over another. It can determine if you’ll see that doctor again or be looking for a new one. It can influence whether you’ll be getting a second date or not.

A lot rides on a first impression.

For us, that’s certainly true when we visit a brewery. Was it easy to find? Was there easily available parking or did we have to drive around looking for a spot? Is there personality or a clear theme to the taproom? Are the aesthetics warm and welcoming or cold and indifferent? How’s the staff? Are they passionate about what they’re doing or just pouring beers? Is there plenty of seating or do we have to stand around or even leave? How’s the beer? Is there a variety or is it limited? Is it impressive or average?

These are all questions we consciously ask ourselves when we visit a new brewery. They’re important questions to ask; with 150-some craft breweries/microbreweries/taprooms around Minnesota, if a brewery doesn’t meet the mark on a first-time visit, there are plenty of others waiting for us. Armed with these questions, we recently visited one of the Twin Cities’ newer breweries — Dual Citizen Brewing.

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Located on the border of St. Paul and Minneapolis (get it?), we’d gotten good vibes about Dual Citizen. Leading up to their open, there was an excited buzz around the Cities, and feedback from their industry open was positive. They had a strong social media presence, and we continued to grow more interested in what we were seeing and hearing.

Needless to say, expectations were high when we visited. Maybe too high.

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Parking: The taproom was easy enough to find, though parking wasn’t. We ended up in the lot around back despite contradicting signs (Dual Citizen Parking Only/Resident Parking Only). We weren’t sure if we’d get towed or not, but we had no interest in driving around looking for an open spot just off University.

Taproom: The taproom was spacious and simple, albeit familiar — high ceilings, exposed metal and brewing equipment and wood accents created the same cold, urban/industrial atmosphere we’ve grown to see numerous times before. To us, it felt like just another brewery. 

Staff: Every new brewery deserves a grace period as they get their ducks in a row. Dual Citizen is no exception. Still, first impressions are important, right? The night we visited, the staff seemed frazzled. The man and woman behind the bar weren’t impersonal, but definitely seemed focused on staying afloat. Simple gestures like a smile or friendly greeting were absent and made us feel more unwelcome than welcome. There was no connection or relationship with the staff, which is what we’re all about — sharing stories and experiences as we adventure our way through Minnesota’s craft beer scene.

Beer: We would have been willing to overlook all of the previous impressions had the beer itself been exceptional. Instead, it failed to stand out. Named after streets in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (University IPA, Grand Imperial Stout, Osceola Amber — a cool idea, actually), all eight on tap were otherwise forgettable. The Kellog Cream Ale did catch the attention of our taste buds in an otherwise unremarkable selection of stouts, ales and IPA’s.

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As we left Dual Citizen, we found ourselves asking a new question — do the Twin Cities have too many breweries? Have they finally met their threshold and begun compromising quality for quantity? If the answer is “no,” then any brewery considering joining the ranks in the Cities needs to be able to answer questions like “What will set me apart? What will make me a great brewery and not just ‘another brewery?’ Why am I the right brewery for this place and time?” With so many options already available, the bar for any new brewery on the block is a high one, and for us — Dual Citizen just didn’t meet the mark.

Here’s our full review (categories are rated out of five 🍺):

  1. Beer Selection (number and styles available): 🍺🍺🍺
  2. Beer Taste (expected of style): 🍺🍺
  3. Location (find-ability/ accessibility): 🍺🍺
  4. Atmosphere/Venue: 🍺🍺🍺
  5. Service (of staff): 🍺🍺

We recognize impressions, tastes and experiences are all subjective and differ from one person to another. Give Dual Citizen Brewing a try for yourself; we’d be interested in hearing what you think.

– Adam & Katie, Ale Adventures

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