Browsing Tag

minnesota

Inver Grove Brewing Company

March 28, 2020

It was the first day above freezing. My wife and I were out looking for a new place to live. I’ve owned a home in Bloomington, Minnesota for 13 years. With a baby in the car and another on the way our plans to move out to the country and settle down were in motion. Location is critical, not too far from work, not too far from the Twin Cities, and not too far from our families. And if there was a brewery nearby? A bonus. That’s why we were in Inver Grove Heights, and why we had pulled into Inver Grove Brewing Company.

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Invictus Brewing Company

February 23, 2020

Most client meetings go well. In rare cases they throw me for a loop. I was standing in the parking lot of an office park, reeling from a meeting that just occurred. I wouldn’t say it went poor, but it wasn’t what I had expected or prepared for. I plugged “breweries near me” into Google Maps and put the car in drive. Time to decompress with a craft beer at Invictus Brewing Company.

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Foxhole Brewhouse

February 18, 2020

“Where is it?” I asked. We had parked in downtown Willmar, Minnesota and I was looking around for the brewery. It’s funny that the word downtown is used to describe both Manhattan and a town with a population of 20,000, but that’s the English language. “It’s over there.” Holli said, pointing across the street. Sure enough, a tiny Foxhole Brewhouse sign featuring a mischievous fox was set above a narrow building. “That’s a small sign.” I said. “It’s a lot bigger inside than it looks.” Brady replied, as we made our way across the street.

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Fair State Brewing Cooperative

February 15, 2020

“Where to next?” I asked. We had finished lunch with our friends Megan & Mitch at Hai Hai, which followed a morning of coffee and beer at BlackStack. They live a fair distance south of the Twin Cities. They also share our love for craft beer and breweries so we give them leeway to choose the destinations. “Is Fair State close? We haven’t been there yet” Mitch asked. “Very close” I responded.

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Awards

Minnesota Craft Beer: Best of 2019

January 17, 2020
Tap Traveler at the State Fair

I can’t believe this is the fourth year I’ve given these awards. This year was especially hard, because I shifted down a gear on my in-state travels. I began 2019 with a resolution to count my calories (not great for beer). Shortly after that my toddler found her legs and combined it with boundless energy. We also took three trips out of state, where most of my drinking this year took place. Even so, I visited more than enough to put together this list.

A quick reminder at the stipulations. Each award must go to a brewery that I visited in the calendar year and I won’t give a brewery the same award two years in a row. At this point I’ve visited over 100 Minnesota breweries and written about most of them. I like to think I have my finger on the pulse of the scene, but if I’m missing your favorites I’d love to hear about them. On to the awards!

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Lupulin Brewing Company

September 26, 2019

I’ve written about craft beer for four years. That’s about as long as I’ve been drinking it. I don’t remember a lot of beers from the first couple of years. My palate wasn’t developed, most beers tasted similar, and I had a hard time differentiating good beer from bad. One of the pursuits we attempted in those early days was to complete the Northern Ale Guide. When there is a t-shirt at stake, I’ll do anything. I recall bouncing around the state on a cold December weekend trying to get the last few stamps in the book. There was one brewery that we visited that didn’t make much of an impression. This summer I wanted to see how my tastes have changed after four years in the hobby. On a drizzly summer afternoon I pulled into the parking lot of Lupulin Brewing Company to see what I had missed.

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Ashby Brewing Company

September 23, 2019

There is something intriguing about a small town brewery. It summons the past, a time when breweries dotted the country. When locals would gather in the park after Sunday mass and enjoy a refreshing mug of the area’s lager with friends and family. When I hear that a brewery has opened in a town with a population of less than 500, I can’t help myself. It’s even more appealing when they are only open for a handful of hours a week. Ashby Brewing Company is the latest nano-brewery to provoke a visit.

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Birch’s on the Lake

September 17, 2019

I’m too young to understand the “supper club.” A concept interwoven into the fabric of the Midwest, these establishments have long sought their place in the modern era. By the time I was old enough to remember, these previously revered restaurants had become an odd blend of classy and kitsch. A vestige of the past. The craft beer industry is suited to blending the old and the new. Enter Birch’s on the Lake.

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Ursa Minor Brewing

May 10, 2019

Duluth holds a special place in my heart. The first time I visited was when we toured UMD with my older brother on a college visit. I didn’t think much of the campus, the PortLand Malt Shoppe was more my style at the time. Yet, Lake Superior and the Lift Bridge must have made a larger impression on me than I thought because when it came time for me to choose a college to attend, it was an easy decision. My most formative years were spent on that snowy hill and it culminated with beginning to date the woman that would eventually become my wife. It’s no surprise that we visit the North Shore multiple times a year and each time we select a new brewery to visit. Last weekend we stopped at one of the newest, Ursa Minor Brewing.

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Three Twenty Brewing Co.

May 5, 2019

I’m a planner by nature. When my free time is involved I rarely want to leave things up to chance. My wife and I had organized a trip to Duluth to test out our new baby backpack and while in town it was only natural that we’d stop at some breweries. During our drive, we had just discussed our plans for the evening when my wife spotted a sign for a brewery. In an unusual moment of spontaneity we dashed off the next exit and made our way to Three Twenty Brewing Co.

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