As is hip to do I suppose, having a guest blogger on your site can’t hurt. As part of my adventure to the Rare Beer Festival, I met Mike who was gracious enough to have Karl and I stay at his place. Little did I know at the time but Mike was also a fellow blogger and runs the BeerforBrains.com site/blog. Seeing as though I am a Wisconsin boy it only made sense to get a take on the Twin Cities Craft beer scene from a local and expand my horizons a bit. Worst case scenario it gives us both some cross promotion! 😉
Picking the top ten destination breweries in the twin cities is no small challenge. I want to start with a few disclaimers. First, I have not been to every brewery in town but I’m working on it. Second, this is about destinations, you’re here for the weekend and don’t want to miss something your beer snob friend back home will ask you about. And third, this is almost entirely subjective and based on my own opinions. And by the way, I am writing this post at the request of a friend who lives a few hours away (here you go Rob).
Dangerous Man Brewing Company is at the top of the list for a few reasons. When you walk in, you’re in the tap room immediately and the atmosphere always puts me at ease. The tap list has grown steadily over the last few years and, with 14 beers on tap right now, there is something for everyone. The staff are always friendly, never pretentious, and are happy to make a bit of small talk when it’s not too busy. Dangerous Man is consistently a go-to for my friends and I when we go out.
Favorite Standard: Peanut Butter Porter
A stone’s throw from the University of Minnesota, Surly Brewing Company’s Minneapolis location is a spectacle. The massive facility was constructed in 2014, as Surly outgrew their first location in Brooklyn Center. The tap list is great and at times they will put a keg of Darkness on with little fanfare. But the beer isn’t the only thing worth stopping for as the food is also outstanding, especially if you want to splurge on the Brewer’s Table. For more on that see my Valentine’s Day post.
Favorite Standard: Todd the Axe Man
I actually have the good fortune of living just a few blocks from Barely John’s Brewpub. Just outside downtown, this is a nice quiet spot to get away and still have amazing beer, and pretty good food too. Not only do they have a hearty selection of beers brewed on-site, but they also have a handful of rotating guest taps. And this isn’t just on the list because it’s convenient, they brew the award winning Dark Knight.
Favorite Standard: Wild Brunette
Fulton Brewing is just a few blocks from Target Field making it a great pick as a destination brewery. They don’t serve food but like most breweries in town this is a common haunt for some great food trucks. Last summer Paste magazine did a blind tasting of 247 American IPAs, Fulton 300 finished in the top 50, so my favorite standard should be no surprise.
Favorite Standard: 300
I know I’ve gushed about Town Hall Brewery on the blog before, but they really are great. For the size of their operation, they have so many beers on tap. And like Barley John’s, they also feature select guest taps. For more about Town Hall, check out my post on Barrel Aged Week.
Favorite Standard: Masala Mama
Lift Bridge Brewery is worth the stop, especially if you’re on the east side of town. They have a cozy tap room and solid beers. They are probably best known among beer snobs for Barrel-Aged Silhouette.
Favorite Standard: Chestnut Hill
Fair State Brewing Cooperative is unique in being the first brewing co-op in Minnesota. They were the first brewery in the twin cities to get into sours in a big way, and they do them quite well. You don’t have to be a member of the co-op to get their beer but, if you want to join, membership is just $200 and comes with perks.
Favorite Standard: Roselle
Probably best known outside Minnesota for Rum King, Indeed Brewing Company is a nice stop on any craft beer tour through Northeast Minneapolis. I am personally a fan of the infusions they usually have on tap.
Favorite Standard: Midnight Ryder
Tin Whiskers Brewing is a nice little place in downtown St. Paul with some fun takes on classic styles. For example, their Ohmic Stout is “brewed with malt which has been smoked in a meat smoker with whiskey”. You’re curious, right?!
Favorite Standard: Short Circuit Stout
To be honest, I’m sending you to Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub for the BBQ. The beer is great too, but it’s some of the best BBQ in town even though they don’t pitch themselves as a BBQ joint.
Favorite Standard: Smokehouse Porter
TL/DR: There is no shortage of great breweries in the twin cities, these are 10 of my favorites but there are plenty of others that are great too.
I want to give Mike a special thank you for pulling this one together. I look forward to meeting up with you again in the near future my friend!