We have a couple of friends that spend most of their leisure time exclusively in the Minneapolis area. Imagine our surprise when we received a text asking if we’d like to accompany them to a relatively under the radar brewery in St. Paul. They’d seen a photo of their patio on Instagram and they wanted to see it first hand. After meeting them at another brewery in Northeast, Minneapolis we headed to the Dayton’s Bluff neighborhood of St. Paul. Our ultimate destination: Flat Earth Brewing Company.
I really enjoy writing this article, but these awards get harder and harder every year! That’s mostly because there are so many great breweries in the state and partly due to some self imposed limits. Every award must go to a brewery I’ve visited in the calendar year and I won’t give a brewery the same award two years in a row. I also added a Best Innovation category to reward the breweries that are consistently pushing the envelope! I’ve visited almost 100 breweries in Minnesota and written posts about a healthy amount of them. If I’m missing your favorites I’d love to hear about them. Let’s get to it!
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.
Dinner at Va Bene Caffe has become a tradition that we perform every time we visit Duluth, which is usually a couple of times a year. Towards the end of each meal the conversation leads to a discussion on where we will go for drinks afterwards. Only a pair of brewpubs remain that I’ve yet to visit but I’d heard about a spot across the Minnesota Wisconsin border that I had to try: Earth Rider Brewery. Continue Reading…
I don’t think it would be a shock to anyone to learn that I visited a brewery for my birthday. Though, it may be a surprise that I went to one in Wisconsin. My wife and I tried something different this year. We each decided on a miniature road trip and I decided I wanted to have lunch in Hudson and then work our way up the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix river. While we were in town, it only made sense to follow our lunch with a couple of drinks at Hop & Barrel 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.
If you’re in tune at all with the craft beer scene in Minnesota and the surrounding area there are a couple of breweries that are a serious drive from the Twin Cities that command a lot of attention. Two of those are in the Fargo-Moorhead area and our plan was to visit both of them. With our palates primed from Fargo Brewing we jumped into the car for a few minutes and headed to our next stop Drekker Brewing Company.
When my friend Mitch texted me and asked what I was doing the next Saturday I knew what was on his mind. He wanted to visit a brewery, the only question was which one. After he mentioned the Fargo-Moorhead area I knew what breweries he had in mind, and I knew that we would have to take full advantage of our time. At 8AM he arrived at my home in Bloomington and we began the long trek to Fargo Brewing Company the first stop of our jam-packed day trip.
We’d just descended the main trail at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. It wasn’t a full descent. Upon arrival the ranger told us we wouldn’t have time to make it to the top and that for most people it takes up to double the time we would have. My wife and our friends Nicole and Eric were determined to give it a shot. We set a blustering piece and a short while later we were a stone’s throw away from the top when a ranger turned us back. Almost made it! Once we returned to the parking lot we figured we’d earned a beer, or three. We called our friends and told them to meet us at Santa Fe Brewing Company.
Anytime you have a metaphysical experience you should follow it up with a beer. Which is why, after running around and exploring the magical world of Meow Wolf, we took a walk around the corner to reflect on our experience and trade notes about all of the craziness. Our destination was one of several craft breweries in the area, and since one couple in our group was now pushing a stroller we chose the closest: Second Street Brewery’s Rufina Taproom.