Tanzenwald (translated “Dancing Forest”) Brewing Company recently celebrated its second year in business. Jenaveve Bell-Pittman (Co-Owner/General Manager); and Steve Pittman (Co-Owner/Head Brewer); are the navigators behind this already highly-successful establishment, which presents live music every Friday. The couple, along with Kitchen Manager David Jasper, occasionally feature brunch specials on Sundays, but typically, they offer lunch and dinner, with a seasonally rotating menu and special weekly features.
“One of our most popular items at the restaurant is simply the Brussel sprouts. They are flash-fried, then tossed in a honey, apple cider vinaigrette and topped with a choice of bacon or walnuts; all served with a side of chipotle aioli,” said Bell-Pittman.
Another signature item on the menu is the Just The Wurst Plate. It includes a bratwurst and polish kielbasa, by Kramarczuk’s Sausage Factory in Minneapolis, and Tanzenwald’s own roasted garlic mashed potatoes, Brussel sprouts, house-made kraut, beer cheese sauce and ale mustard. Other best-selling items include street tacos (choice of chicken tinga, pulled pork, breaded flounder or black bean) and three types of mac-n-cheese: (Mama’s Mac; house-made beer cheese sauce, pepper jack cheese, red peppers, and sautéed onions topped with grilled Polish sausage); (Memphis Mac; house-made beer cheese sauce, Havarti cheese, pulled pork, BBQ sauce, and crispy onion strings); (Popeye Mac; Tanzenwald’s famous cheese sauce, Swiss cheese, spinach sautéed onions and mushrooms).
Steve and Jenaveve’s taproom actually resides in Northfield’s first water department, which is a rehabilitated building from 1887. It boasts a beautiful, exposed blonde-brick encasement and the original Douglas Fir woodwork. “All of our tables and bar top were custom-built locally by the fine folks at Peterson Equipment, utilizing reclaimed Minnesota Barnwood. Our chandeliers are hand-made from honeysuckle and grapevines, by a woman in Illinois. The artwork and bathrooms are muraled by Minneapolis-based artist Arianne Zager. The ambiance of our taproom proves that breweries don’t have to be industrial man-caves. Ours is definitely romantic and clearly has a woman’s touch,” explained Jenaveve.
Tanzenwald is a fast-casual or counter service-style restaurant. Simply stated, people need to approach the bar or counter area to place an order. This type of service is becoming more and more common in the restaurant industry, and especially in breweries. Unlike brewers in many small companies, Tanzenwald’s Head Brewer Steve Pittman is professionally trained. He was a microbiologist before receiving his Master’s degree in brewing, from the University of California-Davis. He worked as a brewing manager for Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma, California, for six years. He also holds his International Master Brewers Certification from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, London.
“Our biggest and best event is our “Cowboy Chili Cook-Off” – on the Saturday of Defeat of Jesse James Days; which lands on September 7 this year. Tickets are $10 without a DJJD button and $5 with the button. There is live music, unlimited chili tasting and $5 beers. All proceeds go to the LivLyme Foundation!” Jenaveve exclaimed. Tanzenwald serves an eclectic list of beer styles in their taproom, including growlers for off-site consumption; and they also distribute kegs, locally. Head Brewer Steve Pittman spent many years developing his own recipes, which feature bold, hop-forward IPAs; clean, easy-drinking pale ales, pilsners, and unique barrel-aged and sour beers. Additionally, Tanzenwald prepares German-inspired food, like house-made sausages, soft pretzels, and sauerkraut. The brewery’s goal is to source as many ingredients from Northfield and Minnesota farms as possible. (103 Water Street North; Northfield); Open 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. – Tue. – Thur.; 12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. – Fri. & Sat.; 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – Sun.; Closed Mon. – (https://tanzenwald.com).
Column by Pat Garry
Photos by Jason Larson