It just so happens that the breweries that I visit the most I tend not to write about. I’m always thinking that I can take photos and write notes the next time I visit, but I just never do. This year my wife was pregnant and as a result we weren’t planning on visiting many new breweries. I vowed to do any and all blogging activities for each brewery that we visited but had never taken the time to write about. The top of that list is a taproom that’s so close to where I work that I’ve visited them more than any other, Lake Monster Brewing Company.
It was just our luck that the weekend we had planned in Duluth would turn out to be cold and rainy. The weather had been warm all week at home and a rain drenched run from our car to the hotel wasn’t quite what we had in mind. Luckily there is one hobby that we share that cares little about the weather. A short drive later we were dodging raindrops on our way into Lake Superior Brewing.
We’d spent the better part of the afternoon in Fargo, North Dakota. It was now time to venture across the Red River into Moorhead, Minnesota. Our last stop of the day was my most anticipated. I’d had many of their beers, seen photos of the taproom, and it was time to try them at the source. A quick drive later we rolled into the dusty parking lot next to Junkyard Brewing Company.
There are a handful of breweries that open and I earmark as a must visit. In February of 2017 one brewery joined the ranks of many other Minneapolis brewers, and it stood out from the others. Early reports were favorable, but I like to let places condition a bit before I visit. More than a year later, my father mentioned that if I were to make the trip to Utepils Brewing, he would want to join. So we went.
I’m fortunate enough to work in an area where a craft brewery is no more than ten minutes away. Many are even closer. Even though we’re spoiled for choice, we usually end up at the brewery or bar that’s closest to the office. However, when a new brewery opens we generally jump at the chance to visit before we settle back into our old ways. On a particular winter afternoon I was thirsty for some natural light, and made the suggestion to my coworkers that we venture a couple of minutes further to BlackStack Brewing.
It’s fairly clear that beer and gluten go hand in hand. When you’re looking to meet up with an old college friend who has celiac disease you tend not to think of visiting a brewery, even if you are a beer blogger. Where there is a will there is a way, which is why I searched out the one notable exception that can be found around the Twin Cities: Burning Brothers Brewing.
Where I work, we’ve got a lot of craft beer lovers. There’s also a heavy emphasis on happy hour. That hour typically stretches into two or three and ends at a St. Paul brewery. When my coworker Carly announced that she would be leaving the company for a new opportunity, there was one place she’d been wanting to go for quite awhile. Never hesitant to try a new place, we quickly scheduled a trip to Barrel Theory Beer Company.
My wife and I had just finished our delicious dinner at Hai Hai and after feeling the euphoria from their Hanoi Sticky Rice, I didn’t want the night to end. We’d been to all the usual spots in Northeast Minneapolis and we were in the mood for something new. There was exactly one taproom that we hadn’t visited: Able Seedhouse + Brewery.
It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect upon the breweries that I visited in the past year and identify some of my favorites. Since this is the second time I’m doing these awards I added some ground rules. I’m only assigning an award to somewhere that I visited in 2017. If you don’t see one of your favorites then let please let me know. Rest assured that with the amount of breweries now in Minnesota there is a great chance I didn’t make it there. In an effort to shake things up, I decided to ensure there were no repeats from last year. Lastly, to recognize the best of the breweries that opened in 2017, there is a new category called Best New Brewery. Let’s get started!
The company I work for does an event every quarter. After we’re done there are a handful of regulars that like to keep things going. We were in Eagan and someone mentioned that there was a new place that had opened recently. Before long I was closing my vehicle door and searching for the entrance to Union 32 Craft House.