Barley John's Brew Pub

Not Rated.
Barley John's Brew PubBarley John's Brew Pub
BEER AVG
3.66/5
Based on:
90 Beers
464 Ratings
Place Score: 91
Ratings: 77
Reviews: 53
rAvg: 4.07
pDev: n/a
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

781 Old Hwy 8 SW
New Brighton, Minnesota, 55112
United States
phone: (651) 636-4670

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

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Place added by: BeerAdvocate

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Ratings: 77 | Reviews: 53
Photo of PlatonicOtterLuv
4.09/5  rDev +0.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4

Tiny place, decent food, friendly service (but very hit or miss - though they buy you beer if they do you wrong), very solid year round beers and exceptional seasonal stuff. High gravity and BA brews are outrageously expensive though.

Photo of spacecake9
5/5  rDev +22.9%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5

My absolute favorite place to drink beer! I really enjoys their beers plus the food is awesome and the atmosphere is very friendly. Whenever I'm in the Twin Cities I stop in and I always end up in a good conversation with one of the locals.

Photo of crewfan16
3.88/5  rDev -4.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 3.75

Barley Johns is only about a mile from my apartment building, so its somewhere I stop in as much as I can. First of all, the beer is top notch and they are constantly rotating seasonal brews in with their regular selection. I havent had a bad beer here yet, but standouts include the the wild brunette, old 8 porter, the Belgian strong ale (usually a summer beer) and the dark knight if you are lucky enough to get there when they have it. the food is constantly good and typically involves either organic products or produce they have grown themselves. in the summer, they keep a garden going, so all the produce is as fresh as possible. All the food is good, nothing spectacular or ground breaking, but very good pub food. While I like all the servers here, they are my only complaint. It is not a big place, but there is typically only one server for the dining room and service is usually on the slow side. It is even worse when the weather is nice and they have their awesome patio open. There is usually only one server out there for at least 12 tables and it can get a bit slow. They are very knowledgeable and attentive when you can get their attention, but speed is not their thing. Prices are reasonable, right in the pub food range. burger and fries will run you around $10, where a NY Strip will run closer to $22. Very on par with the rest of the city. The only other complaint is the place is TINY. I wish it was a bit bigger, especially in the winter without the patio. Not really their fault, but it fills up really quick (the dining room only has maybe 8 tables). Overall, I love this place and will continue to recommend it to anyone who asks for a great brewpub in the MSP/SP area.

Photo of Beerlover
4.15/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 3 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

A good friend of mine introduced me to this very quaint jem, thanks Jeff! The place is VERY small only a seating capacity inside of maybe 40 people but there is a patio that can seat another 60 people if the weather permits. The first time here i had one of the BEST pale ales i've ever had and have since had, a pale ale brewed with kaffir limes, not overly fruity or limey but very balanced and delish! there porter was also very solid.

The last time I was there i tried their flagship "wild brunette" which is brewed with wild rice, again very different, very balanced and very good! also tried a "sour mash rye" that was so good i ended up getting a growler of it for 17 bucks, thats PURCHASE of growler and FILL, idk if this was so cheap because of being there at happy hour or if there normal prices are just this great. This beer was very sour and rich but again a great tasting beer that i can't really compare to anything else. also tried an imoerial ipa that was good and worth trying but nothing great, i think it was called "give me liberty or give me death...? something like that.

there food menu is in my opinion their weakest link. the menu options are very limited, everything i've tried was very good but a little on the spendy side, so even thoe the beer is resonably priced, again i was there durning happy hour there food is not what i would say "reasonable" but not ridiculously priced either. if you like trying different styles of beer that are hard to come by i would strongly recommend this place

Photo of jsprain1
3.95/5  rDev -2.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

This is place is tiny. I mean tiny... In summer it's probably nice with the patio, but in winter, everyone is packed in their shoebox. Which has it's redeeming charm as well. The beer is fresh and you can see some of their vats from the bar. Everything is well done here and it feels like an oldtime local joint. There are four regular beers, a couple seasonals and about eight guest taps, all decent or good selections. The food here is ok, but I haven't had anything that wowed me. Come here for the beer, the food is passable.
As far as price/value, the beer are very fairly priced, the good is overpriced. Weight together, I call it reasonable.

Photo of FightingEntropy
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Unfortunately, I live on the wrong side of the twin cities to visit Barley John's to be a regular. Recently, visited BJ's again for the AHA Teach a Friend to Homebrew day, and actually brought a friend to learn from the welcoming Minnesota Home Brewers Association. I attended this same event several years ago when I started homebrewing and the learning from it gave me the confidence to brew my first batch.

On to Barley John's, who has always been a great host. For 10 am start, BJ's had a breakfast back special, including a veggie version that was much appreciated by me. Also, two additional options offered two different sausage versions of the egg bake. Over the years, I've been to BJ's maybe a dozen times--and have never been disappointed by the food. In fact, the food is one of their strengths.

On this trip, I started with the Imperial Stout, which was a very respectable version of the style. I finished the keg of the Biere de Garde, which the server said was the staff favorite. It wasn't a favorite of mine, but it was the bottom of the keg (comped for half the glass). Moved to my standard favorite Old Eight Porter. When available, the much acclaimed Dark Knight is very much worth the effort to drink.

If you're on the north side, or if you're looking for a way above average dinner with your craft beer, Barley John's should be a serious consideration. This small place with friendly service, great food and solid beer won't disappoint.

Photo of TIMMYJ21
4.2/5  rDev +3.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

Stopped in the other night for some Dark Knight

I grew up in New Brighton and have been going here since i have been of legal age to enjoy there beer. They don't have a huge selection of offerings but they have a great selection of different brew, 3 to 4 regulars and few guest and a seasonal, I always get the Stockyard IPA and the Maibock when on tap . If you have seen the size of this place you will know why they don't offer a bunch of different beers.If you can get here during the tapping of the dark knight you will be in for a treat such a great brew. The food is above average for a pub, pizza's are great and the Habenero Hummus with Pita Bread is awesome. They have a really nice patio, but can be really busy on a nice night and on Friday and Saturday night. Service is always great here, have never had a bad experience here.

Photo of MilwaukeeCrusher
3.66/5  rDev -10.1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3

Stopped here after the St. Paul Beer Fest. Was somewhat disappointed that they didn't have much extra for beers they made other than what I tried at the fest. The beers that they did have were quality and pretty solid. Prices were reasonable and it seemed like it would be a nice place to visit on a nicer day despite the weird interection it was on, as it appeared to have an area outside. Inside it was cramped as I was that day. I would like to visit again, but only if they have their heavy hitters on tap.

Photo of KarlHungus
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3

Barley John's is a fun place to hang out. The atmosphere is very cozy, and Northwoods like. It is very small inside, but they do have a large patio. All of the beers I have had from them have been very solid or better. The selection leaves a bit to be desired though. Four regulars and two seasonals, plus a dozen or so guest taps seems to be the norm. Which would be fine if the seasonals were rotated a bit faster. If I'm visiting a brewpub once a month I like to see new seasonals every time I visit. The last time I was there they were down to one seasonal, and weren't pouring one of their regulars, because it was "off." With just four house beers to choose from I ended up ordering a guest tap at a brewpub for the first time. I enjoyed the beer, but I visit brewpubs to drink the beer they brew not someone else's.The servers have always beer very knowledgeable about all of the beers they pour, but can be quite slow to refill your glass.

Photo of jrallen34
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Our first night in Minne for Darkness Day and we headed here for dinner. Super small inside with a big outside patio. As you walk in you get a total feeling of a small town place, way more small town than Minneapolis, think 700 miles from a major city West Texas. Inside is quaint but weird. Plain brown walls with painted on hop plants dancing around the ceiling. A selection of 4 regulars and 2 seasonals. The taps were all pretty good, with some super unique tastings. You should order a sampler because it comes with the coolest sampler holder ever. Overall, a very cool experience that you must visit. However, I was SUPER disappointed that did not have dark night or ba rosie. Come on guys, its Darkness weekend people from all over he country are coming and you can't have your heavy hitters on, weak!!!

Photo of EwaldEichstaett
4.45/5  rDev +9.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

I love going in to Barley Johns. Whenever I have a friend from overseas come to visit, I make sure to take them there to get some "real" American beer. It is a very small cosy place to have a beer and get lunch.

Their menu is quite small but they have lots of good diverse choices. Also with Vegetarian options; their Hummus is to die for! The daily specials are also great and unique. Friendly staff, but it always seems to take a while for them to get to you.

The beer is excellent across the board. The Wild Brunette (wild rice brown ale)is my favourite; it is very unique and interesting. They also have great seasonal beers.

I would definitely recommend stopping by, having lunch, and bringing a growler home.

Photo of blackie
3.58/5  rDev -12%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

Barley John's was the first stop on a full-day karmic adventure with my man, dirtylou

Must have been somewhere around 11 am on a Saturday when we rolled in. The place was dead aside from 3 chatty old gents at the bar and a group performing some manner of fantasy football maneuvers on the patio.

The brewpub is set on a pretty dreary suburban street corner. Poor landscaping, a wooded lot and an enterprise rent-a-car across the busy street - not exactly scenic. The patio sports lots of stained wooden tables, worn/cracked/bumpy pavement underfoot, and some hop vines. Inside had that mopwater smell with a small barroom and dining room to the side - vibe mostly nonexistent.

A decent amount of brewpub stuff on tap - maybe 6 or 7 total, and some guest beers as well. I went with the Wild Brunette - a brown featuring wild rice, so points for creativity. Standard pint serving. The beer was fresh and certainly had an interesting flavor - can't say it's an award winner or anything, but I was happy to have it in hand.

The server was friendly enough though I get the feeling she wasn't having a great time. Samples easily obtained. Brownie points for clowning on dirtylou's Wisconsin ID.

Photo of dirtylou
3.64/5  rDev -10.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4

interesting stop on the north-end of MSP.

Selection was decent with a number of standards and a handful of guest beers (not sure who orders guest beers at a brewpub).

I sampled the highly regarded porter and found it pretty flat. I went with the IPA, which was also dissapointing.

We stopped in early on a Saturday and the atmosphere was odd - seasoned AM drinkers at the small bar, gents drinking CANS and executing a fantasy football draft on the patio.

I wasn't very impressed - spend your time at town hall if the choice exists.

Photo of jera1350
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Pretty small place inside with a quaint little bar. The outside patio is very large and pretty dark to make a cozy experience. There was a fire pit that was attempted to be lit but didn't stay so. Oh well. Bartender was very cool and kept the beer flowing. Very attentive as well. Nice selection of in house beer which I enjoyed a couple. Everyone in our group found something to their liking. Also had some guest brews. We ordered the chips and salsa which used fresh grown tomatoes from on the premise. Awesome chunky salsa that was definitely fresh. Prices seemed to be about perfect. Had a good time and will definitely go back again.

Photo of Ragingbull
3.78/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

My wife and I stopped in for lunch with our children. I was pleased with the overall quality. The beers were good and the food was good. My daughter loved her kids mac and cheese and has asked if we can go back so she can get it again. The selection is good and probably above average for the size of the establishment. There are some other very large brewpubs in the area, so its tough to compare and you just have to take Barley John's for what they are. . . a smaller establishment with good beer. 6 or 7 of their beers were available though I didn't try them all and didn't check to verify that everything on the list was available. My plan was to simply return and get more into the beer list at a later date. We tried a sampler and everything was good. We each picked a pint of our favorite and that was that. Service was good. I felt comfortable there with my three children as they had high chairs and crayons and were welcoming. They do have growlers. I am glad I went, and plan to return. . . perhaps as soon as this weekend.

Photo of slander
4.14/5  rDev +1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Gone super sleuthed Duluth's goings on and rode the long road back down for what seemed like I might have been napping and don't know. Having awoken and spoken about that other place a little ways north of the cityapolis, it just seemed reasonable for the stop in, is all. A plan to meet a friend not mine for drinks later, we've got a patch of now unspoken for. Timing is timing is timing is...

Little place on the side of the road. Enter off the corner and take in some views of the brewroom holding a baby 3 barrel system and through past there to a teeny straight bar of light wood seating 5. Barback is a light wood wall unit, the trim pasted with foreign currency. A row of 16 taps off center sport the same glass bowl handles we saw in Duluth, 3 rows of wines on their sides above shelved glassware & booze all around, and pitchers & sampler racks. Beer books on the end of the bar for the reading of words and drop glass lamps overhead. 2 cut tree tables sit adjacent to the bar with inlayed cribbage board action and a logo'd brewery piece above. Through to the rear room hooking an "L" around the bend to nowhere really. 14 tables of mostly seater 2's pushed together here below beige painted walls with painted vines along the tops and the ceilings over wood slat lowers. Ceiling mounted glass lamps, blinded windows on the corners, and some stained glass pieces on the dividers separating the rooms.

And a doorway to the outdoor seating area; a pen running an "L" to the side and up front; partially canopied and camouflaged fenced with climbing hop vines, roughly a dozen and a half tables beneath. And they've got veggie gardens up front; one committed to the tomato of many varieties and the other relatively roadside with much tomatoage, peppers and squash type gourds.

The sampler is 4 beers regular (Little Barley Bitter, 3.5%, slight malty sweetness, a nice session beer; Wild Brunette, 7.2%, a decent brown done wild rice; Old Eight Porter, a Baltic that doesn't taste like the 8.0% it is, rich with a good roastiness, I do like; Stockyard IPA, 6.8%, earthy, piney, not too hoppy, okay), and the others, 2 seasonals (Triple Oat Stout, 5.5%, smooth and sweet, with a good oatiness; India Brown Ale, 7.8%, a bit a bit of butter but nicely roasty and hoppy too) and a special crazy (Barrel Aged Rosie's Old Ale of unknown ABV, aged in 15+ year Pappy barrels, ooooh bourbon, now I know how Van Winkle was rendered unconscious for 20 years). And they wouldn't serve me it in a sample size so I had to get a big boy glassful (oof-ta!) Of the lot, I was diggin' most on that Porter, uh huh.

And they've got guest taps, a mix of microsotas (Flat Earth Hep Cat, Surly Furious), beyond (New Holland Ichabod, Sierra Nevada Belgian Trippel, Ommegang Rouge & Hennepin), imports (Tripel Karmeliet, Stella) and a cider squozen from an Ace Pear.

We are having some good fun with the serving staff; talking beer, I like what Monica doesn't and vice versa. Holtman behind the bar, too, I'm sure we've not let his Holtman name slide. Good folks, we're trading Simpsons barbs 'cause we're, like, children, and we can. Hey! It's local Bob with his bad back (his L5 is out but beer makes it better, he's renamed the LBB the "Lumber Barley Bitter"). And Witzel made a new friend and was drifter grifter gifted 3 wishes or something, I'm not quite sure what he got out there in the parking lot but you could tell there was special quality time with them two and he conveniently wasn't murdered so it was a pretty good day.

Didn't see the food menu but I saw some nice portions go by and heard them readin' the specials off, some crazy salmon special there (you know how salmon and I get on), the menu pricey pricey. Good crowd and a comfortable house; they are piping in some tunes of decentness. Mostly nice beerings here hiding out just outside of town.

Photo of jake65
4/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Small pub with crowded seating. Nice wood decor and pretty laid back feel overall. Cozy, but that means a little crowded too. Bartender was friendly and attentive, food was above average pub grub. Soup was excellent. Sampler was four of the eight house brews on tap, all 5 oz pours. Missed the Dark Knight returns, but did catch the barrel aged Rosie's Ale. Four regulars and four seasonals, I think. They did have a couple solid guest taps as well (Surly, Flat Earth, Lagunitas). I'd certainly come back, next time I'm in the area.

Photo of Erdinger2003
4.38/5  rDev +7.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 5 | food: 4

This place is a little out of the way, but I found it entirely by accident. My friend was driving us around the area near his Chinese Medicine college and as my eyes were defocused, they picked up the words barley john's and it woke me up. I told my friends, look! lookt! it's Barley John's and they looked at me and said I was getting way too excited and then we stopped for a light lunch. This place is cozy and the beer is good. They even had furious on tap as well as their beer. Nice small restaurant quality service with well made food and spicy hummus :) Great pints of Furious and their own selection at a price that I didn't feel was too high. Great place.

Photo of Mistofminn
4.33/5  rDev +6.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Stopped in for lunch with the girlfriend for some good food and a couple beers.

It's hard to judge the atmosphere, as we were the only two people in the place. But it is very small and cozy. From the outside, it's hard to believe they have a dining area, kitchen and brewing area all in the small building, but it works nicely. I like the cozy environment. We sat at a table and not the bar, but I would have felt at home at either.

The quality in general was great. Quality beers, food and service.

Our server, also the bartender, was great. He knew a little about each beer and explained what they were, offering suggestions. He came back frequently to make sure we were doing ok, overall a solid server. The food came out relatively fast as well, and looks like it was handled properly.

The beer selection, while short and sweet, was also pretty good. The brewpub offerings were all great. I had the Stockyard IPA, Old Eight Porter and BA Rosie. I enjoyed all for what they were, and had a great time. They have some guest beers that included Surly, Triple Karmeliet and Paulaner.

The food was great. We ended up splitting a Pizza Laura, a vegetarian pizza. It was loaded with veggies and was delicious. A great choice.

Nothing was overpriced and I feel everything was fair.

I enjoyed my time there, I will definitely be stopping back.

Photo of mothman
3.65/5  rDev -10.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Went to Barley John's for BA Rosie last Saturday.

Arrived and took a seat at the bar. Seemed like a nice atmosphere. A lot of people were there, but no one at the bar. A nice county type theme to it. We got our beers right away and I was very impressed with the beer I ordered. They had a decent selection, nothing to crazy, but I got what I came there for. The food we got was good. Nothing fancy as it was only apps, but still good.

The only part of my trip was the service. The bartender seemed to hate life and us for that matter. I don't think he smiled once. When I go back, I will see if he is bartending and if so, I will not sit at the bar.

Great place and definitely worth a trip.

Photo of kbutler1
4/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

I started going to Barley John's a couple years ago and still go every once and a while. The service is great as the staff is extremely friendly. The food too was better than what I thought it would be. The one drawback I have found is that they sometimes are out of their beer, which is dissappointing. For being such a small place they do make some real good beers and offer some others in bottle as well. Their Old 8 Porter and the Wild Brunnette are my 2 favorites. They have a really cool outside patio that is great to sit at in the summer/fall when the weather is nice.

Photo of br3wmeister
4.15/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

I went to Barley John's today to check out the Dark Knight, This was not exactly an easy place to find but I made it there. Walking up to the building I was wondering how they fit seating and a kitchen in the building, then realized they have a brewery in there as well. This place is small I am amazed they can get everything in there. The inside actually had pretty good room and seating. Almost everything in there was made of lightly stained wood, it looked really nice. I ordered a burger and a Dark Knight, both the food and beer were great. I was very impressed by this place and will definitely be going back.

Photo of WYVYRN527
4.44/5  rDev +9.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

A co-worker of mine that lives nearby told me about this place and suggested we head out there after work some time to try a few of their offerings. Small on the inside, it is yet very cozy. The lighting is perfect, and the backround music isn't too loud. There is a patio area, but being the fact that it was 16 degrees below zero, we were confined to the interior. The brews they offer that are made there are unique, adding a touch of Minnesota heritage to some of them, including a wild rice brown ale. The service was great. They were very nice and helpful in selecting what to try. The selection of house beers is good. There are numerous offerings, along with some other local favorites offered as well. I didn't get a chance to try the food, but I have heard good things. The price is very reasonable for the beers, and the menu prices aren't bad either. I'll definitely make a point to stop back and try a few more of their brews.

Photo of lhaqq
4.5/5  rDev +10.6%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

This brewpub is next to my undergrad college, so I have a lot of good memories here with friends. It's a small places that is always welcoming. The size, the lower ceilings, and the location give this brewpub a really warm feeling. The servers are always knowledgeable, kind, and quick. They have a fair amount of there own brews and some guests--maybe fifteen or so total. Though the selection isn't as big as some places, generally all of the beers they have are top notch. The last time I was there this winter they set up a fire pit and gave customers reign over their firewood.
They also have a pretty good selection of scotches, too.

Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev -1.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5

A very small bar/restaurant north of the city and Town Hall, but worth a visit and a cab fair if they have one of their top-rated seasonals on. Very friendly bartender, and Minniseota-friendly customers. I had everything, and the Bourbon barrel Dark Knight Returns is the sipper that kept us an extra hour. The Wild Brunette, as a brown ale, is a standout made with substantial brown rice. A second brewpub and bottling out-of-state is planned. The hope is for more, as so little beer can be made physically here, and the demand from word-of-mouth is just growing exponentially.

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Barley John's Brew Pub in New Brighton, MN
91 out of 100 based on 77 ratings.