8 DROOL-WORTHY BREWERIES TO WET YOUR WHISTLE IN THE TWIN CITIES
Enjoy a weekend with friends over a few local pints.
Image by TJ Turner/Minnesota Monthly
Start your brew-infused weekend with a stop at Lakes & Legends. Tucked into a luxury apartment building on the outskirts of downtown Minneapolis, this brewery and taproom evokes rural life with Adirondack chairs, beanbag toss games (called “Cornhole” here in the Midwest) and twinkling lights.
Focusing on seasonal flavors and Belgian and Farmhouse ales, the folks at Lakes & Legends promise quality beer with every pour. In fact, they source many of their ingredients from local farms and orchards. Pair your pint with a bite to eat from the food truck sitting just outside (the trucks rotate weekly, so check their website for updates).
Your next stop is at Inbound BrewCo. Head through downtown Minneapolis to the North Loop, a historic warehouse district of the town. A rustic-chic interior greets you at the front door as you enter this small batch brewhouse. Belly up to the bar and let friendly bartenders help you choose from several beers on tap—they range from Belgian Abbeys to fruit-infused Pale Ales. Choose from indoor or outdoor seating, play a friendly game of Sequence or Monopoly, and enjoy live music on their intimate stage as you round out the first night of your Twin Cities brew crawl.
Image by Tj Turner/Minnesota Monthly
After a morning of sleeping in, gather the group at Mojo Coffee Gallery in Northeast Minneapolis to caffeinate and fuel for the day ahead. Along with specialty coffee beverages, they serve a wide range of breakfast items such as sandwiches, egg dishes and homemade bakery items. When you get full, peruse the pieces of artwork on display throughout the cafe.
There’s always something new to try at Dangerous Man Brewing Co., located just a few blocks south of Mojo. The taproom is a cozy place to hang out and catch up with friends over a generous pint (they serve a larger glass than most area breweries). Plus, during their slower afternoon hours, staff members are available to answer all your beer-related questions. Just in case you didn’t get enough to eat at brunch, order a takeout lunch from one of the nearby restaurants and chow down in their taproom.
Just a few minutes away is Insight Brewing, a globally inspired brewery that takes a cue from places like Denmark, France and Japan to create one-of-a-kind craft beer. With accompanying fable-like stories, each brew is as unique as the next: the Hell Chicken pale ale utilizes Japanese yuzu fruit to evoke citrus flavors, a saison called Sunken City blends a little spice with the herbal complexity of sauvignon blanc grapes, and Devil’s Companion melds dark chocolate and caramel—a match made in heaven.
Next on the docket: 612Brew. This taproom is located in the historic building The Broadway and features exposed brick and timber—a perfect nod to the Northeast brewery vibe. Pick your brew from several taps and enjoy gazing at the massive beer-making machinery. We also recommend sitting outside on their patio (if the weather allows). A dolled up retaining wall complete with stacked stone and water features will transport you to your own personal beer paradise.
After a quick stop at 612Brew, walk north to visit its backyard neighbor, Bauhaus Brew Labs. This brewery is a colorful mix of Germany-inspired beer in a modern-meets-industrial warehouse. Their “forward-drinking” beers emphasize bright flavors, especially the fiendishly drinkable Wonderstuff pilsner.
The final stop for today is famed brewery destination Surly Brewing, located south of the University of Minnesota’s campus. Surly is considered the starting place of Minnesota’s craft beer boom thanks to its taproom license bill known as the Surly Bill of 2011. And you’re not just drinking at this one—at 4 p.m. on the dot, participate in a public tour of the operation. On the hour-long tour, you’ll learn about where and how the beer is made, hear stories of Surly’s beginnings and sample four different beers for $5.
After the tour, stick around for dinner and more libations. The beer hall serves a full menu, some of the highlights of which include a chopped brisket sandwich, polish sausage with grilled peppers and fregola pasta, a hog frites appetizer and more. Plus, the menu gives helpful tips for beer pairings. Take it outside to their spacious patio or circle around a fire pit. We don’t’ recommend trying every beer on tap in one night, but you might be tempted to.
Image by TJ Turner/Minnesota Monthly
Trust us, you’ll want to roll out of bed for the last item on this weekend’s itinerary: brunch at The Happy Gnome. Located in the historic Cathedral Hill neighborhood of St. Paul, the gastropub features an encyclopedia of 89 craft drafts. If you found a new favorite brew this weekend, chances are they have it on tap. Brunch items include all the classics and some unique spins on old favorites; try the Gnome Hot Brown for a play on the Louisville sandwich. Pair with a craft beer and keep in mind: It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.
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