Unlike most taprooms in Minnesota, Hayes’ Public House is hosted by Buffalo, MN – a town about an hour west of the Twin Cities. Growing up around his grandmother’s restaurant in nearby Monticello, the bristly bearded Pugs Hayes was born to be apart of this industry and found the lake side location in Buffalo to be a perfect fit for his public house. Pugs’ dream of opening an Irish pub and restaurant has yet to come true, instead, five years after his idea’s inception – the dream has evolved and come to fruition by means of public house via taproom.
A “public house” or pub traces its roots to the British Isles during the Early Middle Ages and has continued to be an essential part of village and community life throughout England, Ireland and even America – having transitioned to the New World along with many of our European forebearers. Pugs pays homage to this and his own Irish heritage with Hayes’ Public House.
As a certified welder, Pugs honed his craft on a homebrew system he built and he now brews on a 3 barrel system in the brewhouse at the back of the building – one of the smallest of any brewery in Minnesota (also making them a nanobrewery – a system under 4 barrels). Allowing for versatility and the ability to venture into uncharted beer waters, the only downside to this small of a system is it can be hard to keep up with demand.
Although Pugs is both owner and brewer, the journey has not been a lonely one. “There’s no strength without unity”, the mantra of Hayes’ Public House as emblazoned in Celtic (“Ni Neart Go Cur Le Cheile”) on their bar, which was crafted by Pugs’ father Brian and emblazoned by KR Customs LLC. His friend and first employee Kevin Rogers of KR Customs LLC also created the beautiful Celtic stonework that can be seen throughout the bar area. Pugs also found a mentor in local legendary Irish entrepreneur businessman Kieran Folliard who along with Jason Davis of Enki Brewing in Victoria, MN helped navigate along his hop ridden path.
As Pugs put it to me while I sampled his first bourbon barrel aged beer – aged in Elijah Craig 12 year bourbon barrel, “Every ship has to have a captain but without a crew – I never would’ve gotten to this point”. Hayes Public House has now been open for nearly 6 months and already has a following that call this pub their ‘local’; he regularly sees demand for past beers to come around again.
Pugs beer line up changes often (as you can imagine with such a small system) but focuses on British inspired ales that include: Hayes’ Irish Stout, O’Ruaidhir Irish Red, Bare Knuckle Bitter, Wee Heavy, Green Kilt IPA, Fountain Jacks Old Mild as well as not so traditional British ales: Sgt. Stella’s American Pale, Hillbilly Peach Picker and Imperial versions of a Russian Stout and IPA with more to come (Nitro versions are also available in limited quantities in certain styles for that authentic pub beer feel).
With summer just around the corner, there is no better time than now to go see Pugs. Hayes’ Public House sits just across the street from Buffalo Lake and will have a patio area which, rumor has – will be hosting a pipe night this summer!
Where and when to go?
Monday – Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: 5:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Friday & Saturday: 3:00 PM – 10:00 PM
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