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10 Must-Try Breweries in Greater Minnesota

If you’re anything like me this first week of Daylight Savings Time was brutal. Pair that with giving up all-things social media until Easter and I’m ready for a weekend without the alarm clock and with a whole lot of R&R. Although I go for a bold red wine at the end of most hectic weeks, lately my brain has been all about barley and hops. I think this kind of week calls for a nice cold beer, don’t you think?

To say craft brewing in Minnesota has exploded in the past five years is an understatement. The Twin Cities bar scene wouldn’t be the same now without names like Fulton, Surly, and Indeed on tap.  Now it’s time to go one step farther and check out the craft brewing scene in out-state Minnesota. Some of the best brews now come from North Shore, Red River Valley and Southern Minnesota breweries.

Here’s 10 must-try spots for Greater Minnesota brewing worthy of a spot in your weekend R&R:

1. Brau Brothers Brewing Company (Marshall, MN)
I’ve written (and cooked with) Brau Brothers beers before on the blog. They continue to be one of my favorite Minnesota brews and now have a tap room open on Main Street in Marshall.

2. Castle Danger Brewery (Two Harbors, MN)
If you’re looking for a good beer and a good view, Castle Danger, located on the shores of Lake Superior is a good spot to grab a growler and head north to your favorite picnic spot along the lake.

3. Jack Pine Brewery (Baxter, MN)
Launched in 2012, Jack Pine Brewery started as a hobby and turned into a taproom and small-scale brewery in the Brainerd Lakes area. They advertise the beer travels from kettle to your glass in the tap room some of the shortest distances in the state.

4. Kinney Creek Brewery (Rochester, MN)
Posted as the first craft brewery open in Rochester since Prohibition, Kinney Creek’s featured and seasonal beer list is extensive and well-known around the area.

5. August Schell Brewing Company (New Ulm, MN)
Craft brewing wouldn’t be the same without mentioning the oldest brewery in Minnesota and second-oldest in the United States. 

6. Third Street Brewhouse (Cold Spring, MN)
Third Street offers a Sugar Shack maple stout. And a gorgeous tap room with tours and tastings on weekends. Enough said.

7. Leech Lake Brewing Company (Walker, MN)
Leech Lake labels say “Brewed in Walker, MN” because paradise requires a brewery. Stop in and sample their 3 Sheets Imperial IPA near one of the state’s most popular lakes.

8. Mankato Brewery (Mankato, MN)
In December 2013 Mankato announced an expansion of the brewery by 40% to make over 90,000 gallons of their signature beers a year. Their mint stout is great for baking.

9. Bent Paddle Brewing Company (Duluth, MN)
Launched in 2013, Bent Paddle is one of the newer faces in the North Shore brewing scene. They offer 4 signature beers, including an extra bitter epa and a black ale.

10. Junkyard Brewing Company (Moorhead, MN)
Junkyard epitomizes the “nanobrewery” trend of manufacturing craft beers in small batches with custom equipment. Their brews are ultra local and only available by keg and growler.


  • Gary Zea

    Schell is not a craft beer its a crap beer.bring back the original deer brand beer and they will flock to your door.

  • TallPour

    Gary, strictly speaking Schells is now considered “craft” according to new guidelines set out by the BA last month. And have you had their Oktoberfest, Stout or any of their Snowstorms over the past 5 years?… like them or not – describing Schell’s as “crap” is as ridiculous as it is unoriginal.

  • Patrick Erdner


    You must know nothing about beer and what makes craft beers stand out. There is a reason Mankato Brewery Original has won several awards. Their other beers are also top notch and are continuing to win craft beer drinkers across the state.

    August Schell brewing produces many fine beers as well. Deer brand beers were pretty much bottom of the barrel. Beers like Firebrick, Schells Dark, Schell Shocked are examples of what Schells is doing right.

    If you don’t know anything about brewing and craft beers its best you go back to your light beers and go sit in a WI cave all by yourself.

  • Jay

    Red Wing Brewing in Red Wing and since Hudson was mentioned, try American Sky in Hudson. As far as Gary Zea goes, he is a troll and moron.

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