When I planned this post earlier this week, we were on the verge of ‘The Great Minnesota Potential Beer Crisis’. Thankfully, it looks like the state might be closer to a deal to end the government shutdown. In the meantime, I was prepared with a great list today of what to drink when you can’t find a Miller Lite.
Although you’ll still be able to grab the national brands this weekend, I recommend giving a new brew a try. Metro bars and restaurants, liquor stores, and Target Field carry many of these local brews, with good reason. They each offer a unique taste and experience you can’t find in a national brand. And despite all the budget concerns this legislative session, Minnesota passed new laws to make it easier for these breweries to showcase their product on-site. Developments are underway for new restaurants and hangouts at as a result. Growing local businesses around local food adds dollars to the local economy. Easy as that.
Let’s be honest, this list will probably leave out someone’s favorite. There are so many great people creating great craft beer in Minnesota; just too many for one little post. If you have additions leave them in the comments. I’ve chosen these because I’ve had the chance to try them and think you should too. Bottoms up, Minnesota.
Fulton Beer Minneapolis, MN http://www.fultonbeer.com/ One of their beers is called Lonely Blonde. Presents an interesting moment with a bartender when you’re ordering up a round.
Finnegan’s Irish Amber Minneapolis, MN http://www.finnegans.org/ Drink Finnegan’s and do charity work at the same time. Since its founding in 2000, the company has been donating 100% of its profits to alleviating poverty in the local community.
Lake Superior Brewing Company Duluth, MN http://www.lakesuperiorbrewing.com/ If you happen to be on the North Shore this summer stop in at Lake Superior Brewing Company just south of Canal Park. Many of their ingredients are sourced from the region and all are hand-crafted to represent the best Northern Minnesota. Only a few of their brews are available in the Metro, but it’s certainly worth the drive. I was told their seasonal Windward Wheat is tough to find, but top-notch.
Surly Brewing Company Brooklyn Center, MN http://www.surlybrewing.com/ Surly was behind a major push to adjust the brewery sales laws last spring. Consequently they are planning a new brewery/bar/restaurant facility that could add more than 100 permanent jobs to the state.
Flat Earth Brewing Company Saint Paul, MN http://flatearthbrewing.com/ The newest micro-brewery in the state, Flat Earth has been around since 2007. Their labels are great, their names are provocative, and their mission is “brewing on the edge.” What’s not to love?
Brau Brothers Brewing Company Lucan, MN http://www.braubrothersbrewing.com/ Located in the tiny hometown (pop. 220) of a close friend, Brau Brothers Strawberry Wheat can regularly be found in our fridge. They aim to keep their beers local, and even grow some of their hops on site. It may be small, but it’s made a big splash in the local food movement.
Like the idea of hand-crafted beer so much you want to give it a try yourself? Many of the breweries above were started by Minnesotans brewing in their kitchens and garages. Here’s two options for DIY brewing.
Vine Park Brewing Company in St. Paul is a personal favorite of the kitchen partner and I. Their business is one of the few Brew-Your-Own-On-Premise locations in the region, where for a small fee they supply the ingredients, expertise, and location for your own homebrew. On your first trip you’ll combine the ingredients, start the brewing process and then return a few weeks later to bottle it yourself. If you are or you know a beer-lover, this is a must-try!
Midwest Supplies in St. Louis Park has all of the supplies you need if you’d like to go all out on your own home-brewing adventure. They literally have EVERYTHING you could possibly think of when it comes to homemade beer and wine. Plus their knowledgeable staff can answer any brewing question you might have. They’ve been our source for our winemaking adventures and come with a guarantee not to disappoint.