Travel

Are you man enough to conquer 17 breweries?

Published On 05/03/2013 Published On 05/03/2013
612 Brew Minneapolis
Drew Wood

The land that introduced the world to Schell's, Hamm's, and Schmidt's is in the midst of a microbrewery renaissance so massive that hitting all of the super suds slingers might take you the entire weekend. Fortunately, you have said weekend, which is why we produced this very handy, 15 stop/ 17 brewery crawl. Grab a designated driver and bite off as much as you can.
Stop 1: Start in St. Paul at the grandpappy of Midwest craft brewing, Summit. They've been around since '86, but, thanks to a recent law change, only just opened a tap room. It's f***ing required that you grab their legendary EPA, but they also crack out firkins and one-offs only tapped on the premises, giving you mad bragging rights, assuming you can still talk at the end of this thing. ED NOTE: Currently the tap room is only open on Friday afternoons.
Stop 2: Further down West 7th, you'll find Flat Earth, where you can become a black hole of samples of the signature Cygnus X-1. Unfortunately, they don't have an official tap room license, but you can snag a growler for later

Stop 3: Before leaving West 7th, be sure to take in the once-glorious now-decaying carcass of Schmidt's Brewery. Given that they haven't produced a Schmidt's there since the mid '80s, the only drink you can get requires filling a bottle with water from the fresh water aquifer the brewery sits atop, which is piped directly to the front gate.

Stop 4: Unless you have time to brew your own beer at Vine Park, St. Paul is kicked. Skip Mpls for the time-being and head West, young man, towards Lake Minnetonka and make Exclesior Brewing your first destination. The brewery and tap room are teeny, but their Xlcr Pale and Big Island Blonde are, well... big

Stop 5: On to Minnetonka proper for the brewery trifecta of Lucid Brewing, Badger Hill, and Bad Weather, which all live under the same roof. At Lucid, you want an American IPA Foto; at Badger Hill, the complex Minnesota Special Bitter; and for Bad Weather, the super-hoppy flagship Windvane

Stop 6: On your way back to Mpls, swing by St. Louis Park's only brewery, Steel Toe, where the house-fabricated bar reeks of their working man ethos. Standards like their Size 7 IPA are tapped in perpetuity, but look for one-offs like their English barleywine aged in Templeton Rye barrels

Stop 7: Speaking of which, barrel your way back to the Minneapple and hit the actual true tap room in town, Harriet Brewing in Longfellow. The hippie-fied space garage space gets a basement party vibe thanks to live music throughout the day, and daring/tasty beers include the perfectly citrus-y West Side Belgian.

Stop 8: Everything you've done so far has been merely a precursor to this moment, as your next stop's Surly, the badass brewery that legalized tap rooms in the berg. Ironically, their actual tap room is soon-to-be under construction, but that doesn't mean you can't swing in for a quick tour and some furious Furious sampling. ED NOTE: Make a reservation well in advance or your tour ain't happening.
Stop 9: The second official tap room in Mpls was Fulton's, which is a stone's throw from Target Field, not that you should head out into the street and start hurling stones after a few Libertines

Stop 10: Not just an insensitive nickname for Hiroshima, Boom Island is also a Belgian-only brewery on the shores of the Mighty Miss, and it makes for a worthwhile break while making your way Northeast to finish out the crawl. No tap room here, so sampling/ tour only, but that means you can try their Thoprock IPA, Hoodoo Dubbel, Silvius Pale, and Brimstone Tripel

Stop 11: Northeast offers a nice little two-fer, kicked off at tap room-only Dangerous Man, which doesn't distribute anything other than hangovers. Eschewing names, they just refer to their endlessly-expanding lineup by style, with the chocolate milk stout being an eternal fave of all who try it

Stop 12: Next up's the smallest brewery in town, Northgate, which crafts English beers in a sub-700sqft warehouse space. Samples and growlers only

Stop 13: Stretch your legs at the most pub-like tap room in town -- Indeed. As a brewery, they pump out massive quantities of canned ales, including their ever-more-popular, "resinous and piney" American black Midnight Ryder. As a tap room, they're drafting all of those, plus experimentals like the Burr Grinder, a "beer coffee ale".

Stop 14: Just down the street's the copious tap room of 612Brew, where the tanks are mirrored and shiny as hell, and the session-only suds range from the American ale Six, to the West Coast IPA meets Midwestern rye known as the Rated R

Stop 15: Look, you've come this far, so cap things off at Roseville's Pour Decisions, where pints of frothy beers you won't find anywhere include the Scottish ale Pubstitute, and the floral-y "monk's daily ale" called Patersbier. Way to go, you are officially a golden ale god.

Drew Wood
Minnesota Public Radio
Drew Wood
Drew Wood
Drew Wood
Surly Brewing Company
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1. Summit Brewing Company 910 Montreal Circle, St Paul, MN 55102 (West Seventh)

The tap room at Summit Brewing Company is actually a giant beer hall with communal tables that features food trucks, live music, movie screenings, and 12 beers on tap ranging from seasonal and specialty to flagship. Sip on a limited release barleywine or the Coffee Milk Stout in the winter, or take the malty, toasty Maibock or the hoppy True Brit IPA for a spin on the patio. Bring your kids (and your loose pants) with you to enjoy flights, pints, and food truck fare.

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2. Flat Earth Brewing Company 2035 Benson Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55116

Flat Earth whips up a wicked selection of craft beers, fighting a self-proclaimed crusade against dull domestic brews. Stop by for a brewery tour to check out how the magic is made, or taste it for yourself and grab a growler of something delicious.

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3. Vine Park Brewing Co. 1254 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102 (Downtown St Paul)

Vine Park is the only place in the Midwest where you can brew your own beer on the premises. As if that wasn't enough, they also feature eight classic wine varieties and an assortment of blended fruit wines.

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4. Excelsior Brewing Company 421 3rd St, Excelsior , MN 55331

Excelsior's got a lineup of four no-nonsense brews, which means that you'll have plenty of time to sample each one before deciding on your favorite. Once you've picked a champion, fill your growler to the brim and take a tour of this Lake Minnetonka-inspired brewery.

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5. Lucid Brewery 6020 Culligan Way, Minnetonka, MN 55345

Previously only available at bars and liquor stores, Lucid's new, seasonal, and one-off beers're now also available in brewery-only growlers and 750s, including Craig's Ale (a 7.5% ABV chocolatey brown named after their biggest Kickstarter supporter), and a "high gravity" red called DUCE, which's pronounced "doo-chay", AKA how Craig's been acting ever since Lucid named a beer after him.

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6. Badger Hill Brewing Company 6020 Culligan Way, Minnetonka, MN 55345 (Downtown St Paul)

Badger Hill and Lucid Brewing share the same space, shattering the myth that lightning never strikes the same place twice. Although they've joined forces, the two breweries still maintain their own distinct identities. Drop by Badger Hill for a tour of the facilities, and while you're there you can try out one of its five signature brews.

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7. Bad Weather Brewing 6020 Culligan Way, Minnetonka, MN 55435

Bad Weather Brewing places great emphasis on variety, as well as being unrestricted by tradition or convention. All of this means that they've got a wicked seasonal selection, and they're in good company operating out of the joint partnership facilities of Lucid Brewing and Badger Hill.

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8. Harriet Brewing 3036 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406 (Longfellow)

Harriet Brewing is all about traditional European-style beer in this sea of American craft. The brewers produce winning Belgian ales and German lagers and the taproom is host to many events and activities like live music … like any good beer hall, Harriet is all about atmosphere because it’s almost as important as what’s on tap. You will also find a number of popular food trucks lined up outside that you and your dog can enjoy (although we can’t say that there are any pooch trucks).

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9. Fulton Brewery 414 6th Ave N, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (Downtown)

What began as a homebrewing operation in a one car garage has expanded into a full-blown enterprise. The taproom at Fulton is open every weekend, which is perfect for everyone who doesn't work on the weekend. And if you do work on the weekend, growler sales are also available. It looks like they've thought of everything, because they have!

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10. Boom Island Brewing Company 2207 N 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55411 (Downtown)

Using several strains of yeast straight from their source breweries in Belgium, Boom Island crafts authentic Belgian-style beers that push the boundaries of traditional brew-making. Stop by for a free tasting, or to purchase any of the six Boom Island beers onsite at the brewery.

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11. Dangerous Man Brewing Company 1300 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

Dangerous Man is our favorite type of gathering spot: great beer and a comfortable, warm atmosphere for groups or chatting up someone new. There are 12 rotating beers on tap behind the reclaimed wood bar that endeavor to cover the four major bases … hoppy, light, dark, and strong. For strong we vote for the malty, 10.4% Belgian Golden Strong and for hoppy the citrusy House IPA is smooth and bitter. There’s no kitchen, so feel free to bring your own food or order from one of the takeout places nearby. If you’re looking to take something home, stop by the growler shop next door for your beer mongering pleasures.

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12. Northgate Brewery 3134 California St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418 (Northeast)

Northgate specializes in British-style session beers, which basically means that you can drink a bunch of them at lunch without having to worry about being soused at work afterward. Growler purchases and refills are available every Saturday, and there are detailed directions to the brewery available on Northgate's website. Trust us, you'll need them. This place gives "out of the way" a whole new meaning, except it's pretty much the same as the old meaning.

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13. Indeed Brewing Company 711 15th Avenue NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413 (Northeast)

Indeed is all about community from the fun-loving feel of its warehouse taproom and charming patio to its dedication to community outreach. There are frequently events going on like festivals with food and music to simple flight nights where you can sample some of the beers ranging from the hoppy flagship Midnight Ryder black IPA, to the highly drinkable Session Sour #3, to the formidable specialty Rum King imperial stout. Indeed hosts a rotating list of food trucks so that you can soak up those higher ABV beers with the likes of O’Cheeze’s gourmet grilled cheeses. Pro tip: it has a handy beer calendar on its website so you can easily tell when seasonal beers will be on tap.

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14. 612Brew 945 Broadway St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413 (Northeast)

Located in The Broadway, a historic building with exposed brick interiors and a polished concrete floor, 612Brew has exactly the kind of atmosphere you'd want in a brewery and taproom. Enjoy the year-round staples and seasonal offerings inside, or take your brews out to the patio and bask in the glory of fresh-air drinking.

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15. Pour Decisions Brewing Co. 1744 Terrace Dr, Roseville, MN 55113-1315

The fellas at Roseville's newest brewery sling bottles and growlers of their Patersbier and Pubstitute, aka the UK's version of higher education.

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16. Steel Toe Brewing 4848 W 35th St, St. Louis Park, MN 55416

Steel Toe Brewing's St. Louis Park tap room offers visitors a taste of its current lineup of beers, as well as growler sales and refills for those who don't want to leave empty-handed. The four brews available year-round, combined with the rotating seasonal selection, ensure that there's always something special for you to sample. By sample, we of course mean guzzle.

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