Minnesota Beer

So, I made an off-handed remark last week about Minnesota having the best microbrew community in the country, and I got all sorts of push-back from people touting Colorado, Oregon, even Indiana (cough, cough). Puh-leeze.

While I should not have to explain myself, I nevertheless will, by overwhelming you with links. Read a few of these and tell me why you’re not packing a UHaul and moving here.

Because Surly Furious is ranked the #1 IPA in the world by RateBeer, the Rotten Tomatoes of beer (which means it’s a rating of all reviews)

Because Surly is building a $20 million destination brewpub

Because James Fallows tries a Surly and admits he was wrong about canned beer

Because a Minneapolis brewer uses yeast he imported in vials from Belgium, and his Chinese father-in-law, to make Boom Island

Because I will be refilling my growler of another IPA this weekend: Fulton’s Sweet Child of Vine

Because all these brewers started in their garages.

Because the Four Firkins is an amazing beer store.

And I could go on…

Go ahead, Indianans, have at it!

"Have you considered professional online editing services like www.CogitoEditing.com ?"

The Writing Life
"I'm not missing out on anything - it's rather condescending for you to assume that ..."

Is It Time for Christians to ..."
"I really don't understand what you want to say.Your http://europe-yachts.com/ya..."

Would John Piper Excommunicate His Son?

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Phil Miller

    I will have to stop in at that Four Firkins store. I live not far from there (near 50th and France), and I’ve been looking for a place that has a good selection since I’ve moved here a year ago.

  • Tom

    Three beers and one beer store makes “the best microbrew community in the country?” Puh-leeze.

  • Carla

    What is wrong with you? Minnesotan Rule #635: Never encourage people to move here. NEVER. Good lord man!

  • Mister Tee

    Minnesota Craft Breweries [I left out the brewpubs because there are too many]:

    Brainerd Lakes Beer

    Brooklyn Center
    Surly Brewing Company

    Cold Spring
    Cold Spring Brewing Company

    Dubrue Brewing Company

    Fitger’s Brewhouse

    Lake Superior Brewing Company

    Brau Brothers Brewing Company

    Mankato Brewery

    Mantorville Brewing Company

    612 Brew

    Boom Island Brewing Company

    Dangerous Man Brewing Company

    Finnegans Inc.

    Fulton Brewing Company

    Harriet Brewing Company

    Indeed Brewing Company

    Badger Hill Brewing Company

    New Ulm
    August Schell Brewing Company

    Founding Fathers Brewing Company

    Olvalde Farmhouse Ales

    Pour Decisions Brewing Company

    St. Louis Park
    Steel Toe Brewing

    St. Paul
    Big Wood Brewing Company

    Flat Earth Brewing Company

    Pig’s Eye Brewing Company

    Saint Croix Brewing Company

    Summit Brewing Company

    Vine Park Brewing Company

    Lift Bridge Brewery

    Staples Mill Brewing Company

    Two Harbors
    Castle Danger Brewery

    Leech Lake Brewing Company

    Wellington’s Backwater Brewing Company
    2012 Minnesota Beer Festivals

    March 24
    Firkin Fest
    St. Paul

    April 7
    Spring Ale Fest

    May 12
    Rochester Craft Beer Expo

    May 19
    Brewers Bazaar

    June 16
    St. Paul Summer Beer Fest
    St. Paul

    July 7
    Caledonia Bluff Country Brewfest

    July 13 – 15
    Hopped Up Caribou Beer Festival

    July 21
    Highland Fest Beer Dabbler
    St. Paul

    Northbound Summer Brew Fest

    September 15
    Autumn Brew Review

  • Mister Tee

    The nearby Wisconsin brews are delightful. The New Glaurus brews alone would knock over all competition.

  • Rob

    As a Canadian who loves micro brew, and we have some amazing craft brewing in Canada, you make me want to visit my wife’s family in Minnesota,

  • Chris Eidson

    As a minister and a bartender, I gotta say I dig your posts. You are right to have such pride in the beer community of MN, but I have to break it to ya, its really not even in the conversation when it comes to being the best microbrew city. I’ve lived here for a year and I have dug into the (new to me) brews passionately. There are some really nice brews here (and neighboring Wisconsin), but the majority of consumers are a few years behind. Don’t get offended, there are some die hard beer geeks here and I love that, its just they aren’t here in the kind of numbers that other cities are seeing right now. I moved here recently from Atlanta , GA and the beer scene there is years past the Minneapolis scene. I tended the bar at BrickStore Pub there, rated the #2 beer bar…on the planet. There were many other spots much like it offering crazy selections. Our 2nd story was dedicated to Belgian options only…hundreds of them, with a real European type atmosphere…(making Happy Gnome look like a dive bar). I have noticed MN seem to have boring palates. Go look for a decent stout on tap around the city….go ahead…..you are going to have to go to 1 of maybe 4 bars to find something, and even then its probably going to be a Summit Porter at best. The key to appreciating your own beers, is to bring in a good selection of options from around the world, and tasting yours next to them. As for now, 95 % of this city wants to drink a Mich Golden. I haven’t seen many places offering outside the box Belgian options and never any Porters/Stouts. Every bar manager I speak to says there just isn’t a demand for it. I look forward to the day that there is. Keep the faith TJ and keep drinking great beers!

    • OK, Chris, I hear ya. And I LOVE the second floor of the Briskstore — been there many times.

      I’m a homer. For sure.

      Also, Fulton has their stout on tap now, and they just opened their bar last weekend.

  • Mark


    This is something we can certainly agree on. As a new resident to the twin cities, I have years of investigation left and love just about everything I have tried so far in the twin cities. I had no idea I was gaining such a great micro brewing community when I moved here!

    And Surly = Amazing.

  • mike

    There are lots of reasons why Portland’s beer scene is superior. Here are two:

    Tony, I may not agree with a lot of the same things as you, but I always appreciate the discussion in this space and your ability to make me think.

  • My drinking days are behind me, for health reasons, not religious, but I think Portland does have you on quantity. So, like Carla says, go to Portland, their nice. The, um, skiing is better too.

  • You are always looking for an argument, and I’m going to pass. Poked around rate beer.com and found more Michigan Brew Pubs than I found from anywhere else except CA and perhaps VT…

    Kentucky Breakfast Stout… from Founders.
    I say no more.

  • JoeyS

    We prefer to be called Hoosiers, Tony. Have some respect!

    I said that Indiana was on the rise, not that we had quite made it yet but I’ll rise to this challenge:

    Three Floyds – I was recently in Chicago where the owner of a really well stocked liquor store was lamenting about only being able to keep Three Floyds on the shelf for about 2 hours when he gets it in once a month. Jason Morris linked this one up already.

    Flat12 Bierwerks – arguably the best microbrew beer in Indiana but relatively new so not many folks know about it yet: http://www.hoperatives.com/?p=8390


    Mad Anthony’s Brewing Company – great food, good beer and their Auburn Lager took the bronze at the 2000 World Beer Cup for American Style Amber. They also host a pretty impressive club of home brewers.

    A few others to note:

    Sun King Brewery: http://thefullpint.com/beer-news/3-floyds-sun-king-collaboration-born-out-of-legislation-issues/

    Upland: http://uplandbeer.com/up/php/verify.php?redirect=

    And at least one world class beer bar: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/3157/?view=beerfly&ba=spartan2k

    Though the Trion Tavern is making a name for itself by having a massive amount of beer on tap and hosting a great beerfest in the summer where you can sample over 150 brews: http://www.triontavern.com/

    Not saying we’re the best, just saying Indiana deserves some respect in this area.

  • Todd

    I do hope you’ve visited Portland recently if you’re going to make such a bold claim! Otherwise, you’re just being provincial.