1.Bang Brewing — St. Paul
St. Paul’s most sustainable taproom serves ace organic ales (no milkshake IPAs or pastry stouts here!) from a custom-built grain bin on a secluded lot full of native plants and wild flowers. Swing by one weekend this summer for wood-fired pizza and a supremely dramatic sunset.
2.Able Seedhouse & Brewery — Minneapolis
Hot tip: Pick up a primo BBQ platter before you even think of ordering beer from Able’s bar. (Animales — the food truck parked out back — often runs out of its most popular meats early.) Once you’ve scored a rack of salt and pepper ribs, grab a round of sessionable ales and start plotting a brewery crawl featuring such Northeast Minneapolis neighbors as Indeed, Headflyer, and Bauhaus Brew Labs.
3.Back Channel Brewing — Spring Park
Before you go slamming Back Channel’s bowl ware, consider this: While they may appear like the epitome of hipster excess, these purely optional pint delivery systems actually emphasize the aromatics of hop-forward IPAs. Kind of like what happens when you finally buy the right wine glasses. Breathe deeply before you knock one back; draft beer doesn’t get any danker than this!
4.Barrel Theory Beer Company — St. Paul
Barrel Theory’s co-founders (Brett Splinter and Timmy Johnson) got their start at Surly — working under local beer legend Todd Haug — so their well-balanced IPAs are among the area’s very best. Dabble in a dry-hopped Rain Drops, then switch over to Midwestern Exotic: a low ABV gose spiked with blood oranges, tangerines, peaches, and calamansi.
5.BlackStack Brewing — St. Paul
The haze craze meets its match in BlackStack’s signature Local 755 IPA, a St. Paul staple since 2017. It’s now tapping about 10 at a time; sample a Bellini Berliner that boasts 100 pounds of peach and white grapes per barrel or a lemongrass, lime, and chili-kissed tribute to the terrific food truck Soul Lao.
6.Broken Clock Brewing Cooperative — Minneapolis
Nearly 700 members own a piece of this co-op, which settled into a solid 6,000-square-foot space last fall. Get a taste of its tight-knit community and twisted recipes like a trademark Lavender Uprising IPA. It features dried flowers and a heaping pile of hops; a floral yet bitter combo that never becomes overbearing.
7.Dangerous Man Brewing Co — Minneapolis
Dangerous Man’s vibrant beer is only available in its taproom and growler shop, so you know that everything is fresh and ice cold. Start by sampling whatever sounds good in its main bar area, then cop a crowler (a huge 32-ounce can) for later; maybe a Cherry Milkshake IPA, Dragonfruit Hibiscus Sour, or Lemon Almond Frangipane Ale? It’s ALL good.
8.Fair State Brewing Cooperative — Minneapolis
Fair State’s flagships are a must if you’ve forgotten how satisfying a simple pilsner or IPA can be. Its new Hard Water series is also a welcome alternative if you usually prefer getting sauced with seltzer. Or if you’re more of a rare beer nerd, new styles are tapped nearly every Thursday night.
9.HammerHeart Brewing Company — Lino Lakes
HammerHeart is the brewery version of a goat-slaying heavy-metal band, beginning with a name that’s a nod to the Viking anthems of Bathory. Slip out into the suburban night to sip on smoky winners like an imperial porter finished with flaming hot peppers (Thor’s) and an Irish stout that’s drinkable to the point of being dangerous (Flanary’s Brew).
10.La Doña Cervecería — Minneapolis
Between its numerous salsa nights, soccer leagues, and yoga lessons, there’s no such thing as a quiet day at La Doña Cervecería. Pair a pupusa or taco from one of its rotating food vendors (Qué Tal, Flagsmash) with a well-seasoned Michelada or a light Mexican lager (Doña Fría) that’s been infused with pureed mangoes.
11.56 Brewing — Minneapolis
Forget that whole farm-to-table thing for a minute. 56 Brewing follows a “garden to growler” philosophy best expressed by its recent clean energy collab: Solarama Crush. The double dry-hopped hazy IPA features honey sourced from solar-powered farms, softening its bite with hints of sweetness.
12.Lakes & Legends Brewing Company — Minneapolis
Belgians dominate the draft list at Lakes & Legends, a farmhouse brewery that happens to be housed in a luxury apartment building. Relish a rye pale ale (Bird Dog), a raspberry honey refresher (St. Gail), and a golden strong ale that goes down like a glass of water (Marigold).
13.Modist Brewing Company — Minneapolis
Getting a couple of rounds in before a Twins game is easy in downtown Minneapolis, where Fulton Brewing and Inbound BrewCo are both within a five-minute walk of Target Field. Modist is the neighborhood’s one must, though, whether you stick with a smooth pale ale (False Pattern) or dive into the deep end with a barrel-aged Old Fashioned ale (Boozehound) that’s basically a cocktail in disguise.
14.Pryes Brewing Company — Minneapolis
The Midwest gets its own IPA with Pyres’ award-winning Miraculum ale, a balancing act between sweet and bitterness. Don’t sleep on their other signatures either; the nitro-powered Dublin Dry Stout could pass for a perfectly poured Guinness, and Sabro Double Haze nails the tropical notes in hops that were harvested from the mountains of New Mexico.
15.Steel Toe Brewing — St. Louis Park
True to its title, Steel Toe Brewing stomps your tastebuds with medal-earning monsters that are big in flavor and bitterness. Head straight for a Sticker Fight double IPA if you’re a hop addict, or expand your horizons with the Brewer’s Evolution series which cranks up the complexities even further.
16.Surly Brewing Company — Minneapolis
The grand dame of Minnesota’s craft scene is housed in a huge complex with a hopping beer hall that never stops turning over tables. Here’s a tip: waltz right on by all that noise and score a spot upstairs instead. It’s slightly less busy and specializes in New Haven-style pizza.
17.Torg Brewery — Spring Lake Park
Torg is one of the Twin Cities’ least trendy breweries, erring on the European side with smooth nitro taps and sorely overlooked styles like a nutty English brown. Pints are $1 off for veterans, too, a nod to owner Dave Torgersen’s three decades in the military.
18.Venn Brewing Company — Minneapolis
With a name that’s Norwegian for “friend”, it’s no surprise that dogs are welcome inside and out of Venn’s low-key space. And while it’s not as sprawling or scene-y as most of Minneapolis’ other breweries, its rotating taps are truly small-batch, including a kettle sour combo of blackberries, raspberries, and boysenberries.
19.Waldmann Brewery & Wurstery — St. Paul
Every day is Oktoberfest at Waldmann’s quaint and cosy St. Paul space — a former saloon that first started pouring German lagers more than 160 years ago. It now specializes in several Eastern European styles, from a robust Doppelbock to a tart Berliner. Leave the lederhosen at home, but do order a wurst plate and such welcome sides as spaetzle, cold bacon potato salad, and cabbage slaw.
20.Wild Mind Ales — Minneapolis
Patio hounds prefer Wild Mind for its laid-back open layout on sunny days, but it’s worth a visit even in the dead of winter for its left-field sours, IPAs, and farmhouse ales. Look out for head scratchers like a beer/wine hybrid (Mariage Du Rouge) conditioned on Tempranillo grapes and an imperial stout (Be the Machine) boosted by bushels of strawberries, walnuts, vanilla beans, and cocoa nibs.
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